Debian is revered for its adherence to providing free software and stability. If you plan to try Debian to get a feel for how it works, you may consider installing it over the Internet. This installation method is also referred to as a network installation. If you choose this method, you will benefit from the small operating system image size, fast installation time, and low bandwidth usage. With a network installation, the operating system image contains the minimum amount of software needed to start the installation. To install items such as a desktop environment, you will need to download them from the Internet during the installation process. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to perform this process below.
Initial steps (before start-up)
First, enter the network installation variant of the ISO image that suits your processor architecture, then create a bootable disc for installation. We recommend a bootable USB stick. After all, few computers come with an optical disc drive these days. Using the ISO file you downloaded, use Rufus to create your bootable drive. Rufus is a compact utility that allows you to quickly and easily create bootable USB drives. To create your bootable USB drive, simply select the USB drive you want to use under “Device”, then select the ISO file by pressing “SELECT”.
Just hit start and let the process complete to complete the installation process.
After creating your startup disk, start your computer with the disk inserted. When your computer starts up, you will see a screen saying “Debian GNU / Linux Installation Menu (BIOS mode)”.
Debian Network Installer Steps
Select the option “Graphical installation”. After a short time, you will be able to start the installation process which begins by asking you to select the default language for your system.
The installer will then perform a few checks that include verifying your network. You will then need to select your system’s hostname. For a personal computer, you can create something here.
You will see a screen that will allow you to enter a domain name if it is relevant to your computer. For a computer on a home network, you can just invent something for it. For more complex configurations, please consult Debian Network Configuration Manual.
After that you will need to set your root password.
You will then need to enter the name of the primary user of your computer. Then you will need to enter the desired username for that user and an appropriate password.
It’s time to set the Debian clock. This basically means that you have to set the time zone for your location.
With that out of the way, partitioning your hard drive is as follows. The “Guided – Use Entire Disk” method will work fine in most cases. You also have the option of “Guided – use entire disk and configure LVM” if you need logical partitions that can span multiple physical disks. The “Guided – use full disk and configure encrypted LVM” option allows you to configure encrypted logical volumes. The “Manual” option does not provide you with a partitioning wizard. Instead, you have to choose whether you want to configure logical or primary partitions on your hard drives. You must also manually select the file system.
You will be notified that all your data will be erased if you continue this process. You will also need to select the drive you want to partition.
During this process, choose if you would like to have a separate personal score. If you have a separate home partition, you will be able to reinstall your operating system while keeping your settings that the operating system stores on the home partition.
Once the partitioning process is complete, the base system installation will begin. This is the installation of the Debian base files.
Configure the package manager and the Debian archive mirror
You will need to configure the package manager. Start by choosing the country closest to yours. The goal is to choose software that is reflected in a country as close as possible to yours.
For the next step, choose a Debian archive mirror. In general, “deb.debian.org” is a good choice.
After choosing the mirror that suits you best, it will be time to grab an HTTP proxy if you need it.
Installing the software from the Internet, the GRUB boot loader and finalization
You can now choose which additional software you want to use. Options include desktop environments, web server, print server, SSH server, and standard system utilities. A good choice of software would be the Debian desktop environment, a print server, an SSH server, and standard system utilities. The desktop environment is especially important because it provides you with a graphical interface to interact with while using your system.
Once you have made your selection, the installer will download and install the necessary files. Next, allow the installer to install the GRUB boot loader.
This is the last step! You can now reboot and start your new Debian installation! Remember to remove the installation media after restarting.
As broadband access is readily available these days, installing Debian over the Internet is one of the most convenient and fastest options for performing an installation. The ISO image is only 349MB and the installation takes 20-30 minutes, although you have to wait for the software to download and install. The only way this method would be unfavorable is if you are using an unstable internet connection.
If you have already installed Debian, follow this guide to upgrade your Debian instead.
Image Credit: Hayderctee
Is this article useful?