The debian-cd team provides builds of CD images using
debian-installer on the
Debian CD page.
For more information on where to get CDs, see Section 4.1, “Official Debian GNU/Linux CD-ROM Sets”.
Some installation methods require other images than CD images. Section 4.2.1, “Where to Find Installation Images” explains how to find images on Debian mirrors.
The subsections below will give the details about which images you should get for each possible means of installation.
There are two different netinst CD images which can be used to install
etch with the
debian-installer. These images are intended to boot from CD
and install additional packages over a network, hence the name 'netinst'.
The difference between the two images is that on the full netinst image
the base packages are included, whereas you have to download these from
the web if you are using the business card image. If you'd rather, you can
get a full size CD image which will not need the network to install. You
only need the first CD of the set.
Download whichever type you prefer and burn it to a CD. To boot the CD, you may need to change your BIOS configuration, as explained in Section 3.6.1, “Invoking the BIOS Set-Up Menu”.
If you can't boot from CD, you can download floppy images to install
Debian. You need the
floppy/root.img and one or more of the driver disks.
The boot floppy is the one with
boot.img on it.
This floppy, when booted, will prompt you to insert a second floppy —
use the one with
root.img on it.
If you're planning to install over the network, you will usually need
floppy/net-drivers-1.img. For PCMCIA or USB
networking, and some less common network cards, you will also need a second
If you have a CD, but cannot boot from it, then boot from floppies and use
floppy/cd-drivers.img on a driver disk to complete the
install using the CD.
Floppy disks are one of the least reliable media around, so be prepared for
lots of bad disks (see Section 5.3.2, “Floppy Disk Reliability”). Each
.img file you downloaded goes on a single floppy;
you can use the dd command to write it to /dev/fd0 or some other means
(see Section 4.3, “Creating Floppies from Disk Images” for details).
Since you'll have more than one floppy, it's a good idea to label them.
It's also possible to install from removable USB storage devices. For example a USB keychain can make a handy Debian install medium that you can take with you anywhere.
The easiest way to prepare your USB memory stick is to download
hd-media/boot.img.gz, and use gunzip to extract the 256 MB
image from that file. Write this image directly to your memory stick, which
must be at least 256 mb in size. Of course this will destroy anything already
on the memory stick. Then mount the memory stick, which will now have a FAT
filesystem on it. Next, download a Debian netinst CD image, and copy that file
to the memory stick; any filename is ok as long as it ends in
There are other, more flexible ways to set up a memory stick to use the debian-installer, and it's possible to get it to work with smaller memory sticks. For details, see Section 4.4, “Preparing Files for USB Memory Stick Booting”.
Some BIOSes can boot USB storage directly, and some cannot. You may need to configure your BIOS to boot from a “removable drive” or even a “USB-ZIP” to get it to boot from the USB device. For helpful hints and details, see Section 5.1.3, “Booting from USB Memory Stick”.
It's also possible to boot
debian-installer completely from the net. The
various methods to netboot depend on your architecture and netboot setup.
The files in
netboot/ can be used to netboot
The easiest thing to set up is probably PXE netbooting. Untar the
wherever is appropriate for your tftp server. Set up your DHCP server to pass
/pxelinux.0 to clients, and with luck
everything will just work.
For detailed instructions, see Section 4.6, “Preparing Files for TFTP Net Booting”.
It's possible to boot the installer using no removable media, but just an
existing hard disk, which can have a different OS on it. Download
and a Debian CD image to the top-level directory of the hard disk. Make sure
that the CD image has a filename ending in
it's just a matter of booting linux with the initrd.
Section 5.1.2, “Booting from Linux Using LILO or
GRUB” explains one way to do it.