A.3. Installation

Once the installer starts, you will be greeted with an initial screen. Press Enter to boot, or read the instructions for other boot methods and parameters (see Section 5.3, “Boot Parameters”).

After a while you will be asked to select your language. Use the arrow keys to pick a language and press Enter to continue. Next you'll be asked to select your country, with the choices including countries where your language is spoken. If it's not on the short list, a list of all the countries in the world is available.

You may be asked to confirm your keyboard layout. Choose the default unless you know better.

Now sit back while debian-installer detects some of your hardware, and loads the rest of itself from CD, floppy, USB, etc.

Next the installer will try to detect your network hardware and set up networking by DHCP. If you are not on a network or do not have DHCP, you will be given the opportunity to configure the network manually.

The next step is setting up your clock and time zone. The installer will try to contact a time server on the Internet to ensure the clock is set correctly. The time zone is based on the country selected earlier and the installer will only ask to select one if a country has multiple zones.

Setting up your clock and time zone is followed by the creation of user accounts. By default you are asked to provide a password for the root (administrator) account and information necessary to create one regular user account. If you do not specify a password for the root user this account will be disabled but the sudo package will be installed later to enable administrative tasks to be carried out on the new system.

Now it is time to partition your disks. First you will be given the opportunity to automatically partition either an entire drive, or available free space on a drive (see Section, “Guided Partitioning”). This is recommended for new users or anyone in a hurry. If you do not want to autopartition, choose Manual from the menu.

If you have an existing DOS or Windows partition that you want to preserve, be very careful with automatic partitioning. If you choose manual partitioning, you can use the installer to resize existing FAT or NTFS partitions to create room for the Debian install: simply select the partition and specify its new size.

On the next screen you will see your partition table, how the partitions will be formatted, and where they will be mounted. Select a partition to modify or delete it. If you did automatic partitioning, you should just be able to choose Finish partitioning and write changes to disk from the menu to use what it set up. Remember to assign at least one partition for swap space and to mount a partition on /. For more detailed information on how to use the partitioner, please refer to Section 6.3.3, “Partitioning and Mount Point Selection”; the appendix Appendix C, Partitioning for Debian has more general information about partitioning.

Now debian-installer formats your partitions and starts to install the base system, which can take a while. That is followed by installing a kernel.

The base system that was installed earlier is a working, but very minimal installation. To make the system more functional the next step allows you to install additional packages by selecting tasks. Before packages can be installed apt needs to be configured as that defines from where the packages will be retrieved. The Standard system task will be selected by default and should normally be installed. Select the Desktop environment task if you would like to have a graphical desktop after the installation. See Section, “Selecting and Installing Software” for additional information about this step.

The last step is to install a boot loader. If the installer detects other operating systems on your computer, it will add them to the boot menu and let you know. By default GRUB will be installed to the master boot record of the first harddrive, which is generally a good choice. You'll be given the opportunity to override that choice and install it elsewhere.

debian-installer will now tell you that the installation has finished. Remove the cdrom or other boot media and hit Enter to reboot your machine. It should boot up into the newly installed system and allow you to log in. This is explained in Chapter 7, Booting Into Your New Debian System.

If you need more information on the install process, see Chapter 6, Using the Debian Installer.