How to Install Linux Kernel 6.5 on Debian 12 or 11

For those navigating the Debian ecosystem, keeping pace with the latest kernel developments is crucial for maximizing system performance and security. If the question, “How to Install Linux Kernel 6.5 on Debian 12 or 11?” has been on your mind, rest assured that you’ve arrived at the right resource for expert guidance.

In this meticulously crafted guide, we’ll walk you through upgrading your Debian kernel using the Linux Zabbly APT repository—an esteemed repository known for offering cutting-edge kernel versions. Whether operating on the latest Debian 12 or holding steadfast with Debian 11, by the end of this tutorial, you’ll benefit from the myriad enhancements that Linux Kernel 6.5 delivers. For a deeper understanding of these kernel improvements, we recommend our comprehensive article What’s New in Linux Kernel 6.5.

This method for installing Linux Kernel 6.5 is unsigned, so you’ll need to disable secure boot if you want to use it.

Step 1: Update Debian Before Linux Kernel 6.5 Installation

You should ensure your system is fully updated with all available packages before installing or upgrading the Linux Kernel to 6.5.

First, run the update command:

sudo apt update

Proceed to upgrade any outdated packages using the following command.

sudo apt upgrade

It is highly advised to reboot your system if you upgraded many packages that included your current kernel.

Step 2: Import Linux Zabbly APT Repository on Debian 12 or 11

The Zabbly Linux kernel builds are specialized versions of the Linux kernel tailored for Debian and Ubuntu systems. Specifically designed to support a wide range of hardware, these kernels are optimized for running Incus containers and virtual machines. Zabbly’s stable kernel builds are based on the latest stable mainline Linux kernel and are updated weekly, usually following the release of new bug fixes. While these kernels are available for both Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (focal) and 22.04 LTS (jammy), they are currently only supported on Debian 11 (bullseye) and Debian 12 (bookworm) for x86_64 architectures.

First, ensure the initial packages are installed:

sudo apt install lsb-release software-properties-common apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl -y

Next, import the Linux Zabbly Kernel GPG key with the following command:

curl -fSsL | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/linux-zabbly.gpg > /dev/null

Lastly, import the APT Linux Zabbly Kernel APT repository with the following command:

codename=$(lsb_release -sc) && echo deb [arch=amd64,arm64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/linux-zabbly.gpg] $codename main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/linux-zabbly.list

If you’re experiencing background noise on Debian 11 with Zabbly, it may be due to Zabbly only supporting both amd64 and arm64 architectures on Debian 12. To resolve the issue, Debian 11 users may need to remove “arm64” from the [arch=amd64,arm64] configuration.

Step 3: Install Linux Kernel 6.5 on Debian 12 or 11

Now, with the Linux Zabbly Kernel repository imported, first run a quick update with the following command:

sudo apt update

Now run the following command to install the Linux Kernel 6.5 on your system:

sudo apt install linux-zabbly
Screenshot of Linux Kernel 6.5 Installation Prompt Asking to Type 'y' to Continue on Debian 12 or 11Pin
Screenshot showing the installation prompt for Linux Kernel 6.5, instructing to type ‘y’ to continue the installation on Debian 12 or 11

Once the installation process is complete, reboot your system:

sudo reboot

Step 4: Verify Linux Kernel 6.5 Installation on Debian 12 or 11

Before proceeding, the first step is to refresh your repository to reflect the changes made to your sources list and preferences.

uname -r

If you have Neofetch installed, you can print your system specs in pretty text with the following command:

Screenshot Showing Linux Kernel 6.5 Installed with Neofetch Command on Debian 12 or 11Pin
Screenshot displaying Linux Kernel 6.5 as installed, verified using the Neofetch command on a Debian 12 or 11 system.

And that is it; keep the Kernel updated like you would with all your APT packages.

Additional: How to Restore Debian Default Kernel

It’s important to note that some users may encounter issues with their hardware, such as loss of sound when using the new Linux Kernel. If this occurs, the following steps can be taken to restore the default kernel.

To remove the kernel, the first step is to execute the following command.

sudo apt autoremove linux-zabbly linux-headers-*-zabbly* linux-image-*-zabbly*

After sorting the preferences file or if you went a step further and removed the unstable repositories, it’s time to execute an APT update.

sudo apt update

Before rebooting the system, ensure that the default generic kernel is installed.

sudo apt install --reinstall linux-image-generic

After verifying that the default kernel is installed, it’s time to reboot the system.

sudo reboot

Now verify the kernel installed, which should be the default generic kernel.

uname -r
Screenshot Demonstrating How to Restore Default Debian Linux Kernel on Debian 12 or 11Pin
A screenshot shows restoring the default Linux Kernel on a Debian 12 or 11 system.


After installing the Linux 6.5 kernel from the Zabbly kernel repository on Debian 12 (Bookworm) or Debian 11 (Bullseye), users can expect a stable and optimized environment tailored for running Incus containers and virtual machines. This upgrade provides a more up-to-date kernel with broad hardware support. It is backed by Zabbly’s commitment to weekly updates and timely bugfix releases, making it a reliable choice for newer and older Debian installations.

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