https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ - Debian GNU/Linux installation guide
https://debian-handbook.info/browse/stable/sect.installation-steps.html - Debian Administrator's Handbook - Installing Debian, Step by Step
- 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 https://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/
If it is important to you to have recent packages of all the installed software continuously rolling through Debian, and you are fine with constantly downloading and installing updates that will stir up a bug at times, and you want to help squash bugs threatening to get into Stable, you may choose Debian "Testing". The network install images for testing (bookworm) can be found at https://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 Stable and upgrade through Testing to Unstable by editing /etc/apt/sources.list.
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 reliable Internet access using a network install image often saves time, compared with downloading some of the 650 MB ISO images. This network install ISO (called "netinst") contains only a near-minimal Debian system. During installation as many packages as you request are downloaded from the Internet. A netinst ISO image is several hundred MB but the CD or DVD images are much larger and will almost surely contain packages which are downloaded but not installed by default.
If your wireless network card is not recognized by the installer you might consider performing 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 while installing then you will need to install using at least a partial set of the installation CDs or DVDs (at least Disc 1).
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 https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/
Creating a Bootable Debian USB Flashdrive
After downloading the .iso file, 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 use that method as well.
To create a bootable USB drive from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS a usable choice is Rufus. Warning: Rufus has 2 writing modes "ISO" and "DD" mode, which you can select just before writing begins. For Debian installer images or Debian live images, you MUST select the "DD" writing mode -- ISO mode will alter the copy of the image on the target media (confirmed August 27, 2021, using rufus version 3.15).
To create a bootable USB drive on Linux follow the installation instructions. [TL;DR cp debian.iso /dev/sdX Be cautious!]
To burn the .iso to a CD on Microsoft Windows use IMGBurn or, if using Windows 10, the builtin "Burn to disc" option when right clicking an ISO file.
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.
Debian supports Secure Boot since the Debian buster release. If problems arise during the Debian installation or the first boot process (such as failing to boot the Linux Kernel at all and/or refusing to start Debian) turn off Secure Boot before attempting anything else. Moreover, a number of devices (commonly laptop computers) present subtle bugs/limitations when operating Linux under SecureBoot, which are not present otherwise. Make sure to check your device manufacturer's support pages.
Example: Lenovo Linux SecureBoot limitations
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 prevent a power failure while you are installing your new operating system.
Also, ALWAYS double check the disk you are formatting to install Debian on. Formatting another disk/partition results in unrecoverable data loss on that disk/partition.
Q: I am at the Software Selection screen in the Debian Installer, where I can choose a selection of desktop environments.
What is Debian desktop environment (the first choice)?
A: If you do NOT select any desktop environment and leave the default Debian desktop environment checkbox ticked,
you will install the GNOME desktop environment on your machine.
If you choose "Debian desktop environment" AND a specific desktop, the specific choice overrides the GNOME default.
Q: Why does my Wi-Fi not work during the installation process ?
A: If you are using a laptop computer, you might need proprietary firmware for your wireless network card to function, which Debian does not include by default.
Please refer to the "Non-Free Firmware" section above OR install Debian using a wired connection, if possible, and setup wireless after installing.
If you set up a root password during install, you will find your user without sudo privileges. This is intended behaviour.
To enable sudo after a fresh install of Debian:
$ su -l
# adduser USERNAME sudo
- Then, log out of the desktop environment and log in again. You can check the success of the above by entering
The default scheduler/IO settings for Debian are optimised for maximum stability and good throughput.
More SSD performance may be achieved, by performing some steps to optimise your system for SSDs.
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.