- Getting Familiar With Debian Releases
- Choosing The Appropriate Installation Media
- Non-Free Firmware
- Creating a Bootable Debian USB Flashdrive
- Booting From a USB Flash Drive
- Installation FAQ
- Post-Install Tips
- See also
Getting Familiar With Debian Releases
Refer to Debian Releases for more information about the Debian versions, but the following ideas may guide your decision.
The whole point of Debian from day one was "Stable", in reaction to what else was extant at the time: ?SoftLandingSystems "SLS" and Slackware. Debian chose stability, as administrators needed for servers. Choose Debian "Stable" if you want the computer to just work for a prolonged period of time, without the risk of new packages breaking your habits or workflow. In most cases, when people talk about Debian, they are referring to Debian "Stable". The network install images for stable (bullseye) can be found at http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/
If it is important to you to have recent packages of all the installed software continuously rolling onto through Debian, and you are fine with constantly downloading and installing updates that may stir up a bug every once in a while, you may choose Debian "Testing". The network install images for testing (bookworm) can be found at http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/.
If it is important to you to have the absolute latest packages available in Debian, you should learn about Debian "Unstable". There are currently no network install images for unstable. If you want to install unstable, download the image for testing and upgrade to unstable by editing /etc/apt/sources.list. However, unless you want to test the installer for testing, the better choice is to use the stable installer to install a minimal stable system and upgrade to testing and then unstable as described above.
Choosing The Appropriate Installation Media
Be sure you have downloaded the installer for your hardware architecture. (The i386 architecture is for both Intel and AMD 32 bit CPUs. The amd64 architecture is for both Intel and AMD 64 bit CPUs.) The amd64 architecture is appropriate for most common hardware.
There are two main choices of installation media to meet your needs.
The Network Install Image
For those with broadband Internet access it is often preferable to use a minimal network install image, rather than download a full set of 650 MB ISO images. This network install ISO (called "netinst") contains just enough packages to install a basic Debian system. During the install procedure only the required packages are downloaded from the Internet, making it more efficient overall. A netinst iso image is around 180 MB.
If your wireless network card is not recognized by the installer you might consider doing the installation using a wired (ethernet cable) connection or installing using a different network card. In any case it may be preferable to install with a wired connection for bandwidth reasons or simply to defer wireless setup until after the initial installation.
If you have no way of establishing a network connection during the installation, then you will need to install using full installation CDs or DVDs.
The Full "CD/DVD" Image
These images are for those who need all available packages that are in the current "stable" release of Debian.
Although there are over 30 CDs (or 5 DVDs) in a full set, only the first CD or DVD is required to install Debian. The additional images are optional and include extra packages, that can be downloaded individually during the installation, or later.
Please refer to the Firmware Page to determine if and how you may need to download firmware for a successful installation.
You can use one of the parallel installer image builds that also include all the non-free firmware packages directly. We have "netinst" CD images and also DVD installer images - see http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/
Creating a Bootable Debian USB Flashdrive
Once the .iso is finished downloading, the next step is to create some form of bootable media that you can use to install Debian. The most common form of installation is from a USB flash drive. If you wish to use a CD or DVD, you can still use that method as well. To burn the .iso to a CD, use IMGBurn
To create a bootable USB drive from Windows, Mac OS, or a preexisting GNU/Linux installation, a reliable choice is to use Rufus.
Booting From a USB Flash Drive
If you plan to dual-booting with another OS, both OSes' need to be installed with the same boot mode. Most computers built after 2012 boot in UEFI mode, so this configuration dictates use of UEFI mode when installing and booting Debian. If the other system of your computer are installed in BIOS(legacy) mode, then you must install Debian in BIOS mode as well.
You should be able to check the current boot mode in the first few seconds of your computer starting up. Some common options include the "F2", "F8", "F12", and "Del" keys.
Currently, Secure Boot is not available in Debian "Stretch". For a successful installation, make sure that Secure Boot is turned off. The next stable release of Debian, code named "Buster", features Secure Boot.
Once the proper boot mode is set, you are ready to start your installation. If the Debian Installer does not load, you may have to change your boot options and specify booting from USB.
Prior to making any major change to your computer you should ALWAYS backup all of your work. While the Debian Installer has been extensively tested, it cannot prevent you from making mistakes nor a prevent a power failure in your city while you are installing your new operating system.
An updated installer that supports the newest hardware
DebianLive - Debian Live CD / DVD / USB
InstallFAQ - Including how to install unstable (sid).
FAI, Fully Automatic Installation
PackageManagement - Managing your system
Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide (all architectures, stable branch)
PXEBootInstall - The manual for setting up a netboot server.