D.6. The Graphical Installer

The graphical version of the installer is only available for a limited number of architectures, including AMD64. The functionality of the graphical installer is essentially the same as that of the regular installer as it basically uses the same programs, but with a different frontend.

Although the functionality is identical, the graphical installer still has a few significant advantages. The main advantage is that it supports more languages, namely those that use a character set that cannot be displayed with the regular “newt” frontend. It also has a few usability advantages such as the option to use a mouse, and in some cases several questions can be displayed on a single screen.

The graphical installer is available with all CD images and with the hd-media installation method. To boot the graphical installer simply select the relevant option from the boot menu. Expert and rescue mode for the graphical installer can be selected from the “Advanced options” menu. The previously used boot methods installgui, expertgui and rescuegui can still be used from the boot prompt which is shown after selecting the “Help” option in the boot menu.

There is also a graphical installer image that can be netbooted. And there is a special “mini” ISO image[28], which is mainly useful for testing.

Just as with the regular installer it is possible to add boot parameters when starting the graphical installer. One of those parameters allows to configure the mouse for left-handed use. Others allow to select the mouse device (e.g. for a serial mouse) and the mouse protocol. See Section 5.3, “Boot Parameters” for valid parameters and Section 5.1.6, “The Boot Screen” for information on how to pass them.


The graphical installer requires significantly more memory to run than the regular installer: 96MB. If insufficient memory is available, it will automatically fall back to the regular “newt” frontend.

If the amount of memory in your system is below 56MB, the graphical installer may fail to boot at all while booting the regular installer would still work. Using the regular installer is recommended for systems with little available memory.

D.6.1. Using the graphical installer

As already mentioned, the graphical installer basically works the same as the regular installer and thus the rest of this manual can be used to guide you through the installation process.

If you prefer using the keyboard over the mouse, there are two things you need to know. To expand a collapsed list (used for example for the selection of countries within continents), you can use the + and - keys. For questions where more than one item can be selected (e.g. task selection), you first need to tab to the Continue button after making your selections; hitting enter will toggle a selection, not activate Continue.

To switch to another console, you will also need to use the Ctrl key, just as with the X Window System. For example, to switch to VT2 (the first debug shell) you would use: Ctrl+Left Alt+F2. The graphical installer itself runs on VT5, so you can use Left Alt+F5 to switch back.

D.6.2. Known issues

The graphical frontend to the installer is relatively new and because of that there are some known issues. We continue to work on resolving these.

  • Information on some screens is not yet nicely formatted into columns as it should be.

  • Support for touchpads is not yet optimal.

[28] The mini ISO image can be downloaded from a Debian mirror as described in Section 4.2, “Downloading Files from Debian Mirrors”. Look for netboot/gtk/mini.iso.