This document is meant to serve as a manual for first-time Debian users. It tries to make as few assumptions as possible about your level of expertise. However, we do assume that you have a general understanding of how the hardware in your computer works.
Expert users may also find interesting reference information in this document, including minimum installation sizes, details about the hardware supported by the Debian installation system, and so on. We encourage expert users to jump around in the document.
In general, this manual is arranged in a linear fashion, walking you through the installation process from start to finish. Here are the steps in installing Debian GNU/Linux, and the sections of this document which correlate with each step:
Determine whether your hardware meets the requirements for using the installation system, in Chapter 2, System Requirements.
Backup your system, perform any necessary planning and hardware configuration prior to installing Debian, in Chapter 3, Before Installing Debian GNU/Linux. If you are preparing a multi-boot system, you may need to create partition-able space on your hard disk for Debian to use.
In Chapter 4, Obtaining System Installation Media, you will obtain the necessary installation files for your method of installation.
Chapter 5, Booting the Installation System describes booting into the installation system. This chapter also discusses troubleshooting procedures in case you have problems with this step.
Perform the actual installation according to Chapter 6, Using the Debian Installer. This involves choosing your language, configuring peripheral driver modules, configuring your network connection, so that remaining installation files can be obtained directly from a Debian server (if you are not installing from a CD), partitioning your hard drives and installation of minimal working system. (Some background about setting up the partitions for your Debian system is explained in Appendix B, Partitioning for Debian.)
Boot into your newly installed base system and run through some additional configuration tasks, from Chapter 7, Booting Into Your New Debian System.
Install additional software in Section 7.2.5, “Package Installation”.
Once you've got your system installed, you can read Chapter 8, Next Steps and Where to Go From Here. That chapter explains where to look to find more information about Unix and Debian, and how to replace your kernel.
Finally, information about this document and how to contribute to it may be found in Appendix D, Administrivia.