Before you start, make sure to back up every file that is now on your system. The installation procedure can wipe out all of the data on a hard disk! The programs used in installation are quite reliable and most have seen years of use; still, a false move can cost you. Even after backing up be careful and think about your answers and actions. Two minutes of thinking can save hours of unnecessary work.
Even if you are installing a multi-boot system, make sure that you have on hand the distribution media of any other present operating systems. Especially if you repartition your boot drive, you might find that you have to reinstall your operating system's boot loader, or in some cases (i.e., Macintosh), the whole operating system itself.
Besides this document, you'll need the
cfdisk manual page, the
fdisk manual page, the
dselect Tutorial, and the
If your computer is connected to a network 24 hours a day (i.e., an Ethernet or equivalent connection -- not a PPP connection), you should ask your network's system administrator for this information:
If your computer's only network connection is via a serial line, using PPP or an equivalent dialup connection, you are probably not installing the base system over a network. You don't need to worry about getting your network setup until your system is already installed. See Setting Up PPP, Section 7.24 below for information on setting up PPP under Debian.
There is sometimes some tweaking to your system that must be done prior to installation. The x86 platform is the most notorious of these; pre-installation hardware setup on other architectures is considerably simpler.
This section will walk you through pre-installation hardware setup, if any, that you will need to do prior to installing Debian. Generally, this involves checking and possibly changing firmware settings for your system. The ``firmware'' is the core software used by the hardware; it is most critically invoked during the bootstrap process (after power-up).
Many people have tried operating their 90 MHz CPU at 100 MHz, etc. It
sometimes works, but is sensitive to temperature and other factors and can
actually damage your system. One of the authors of this document over-clocked
his own system for a year, and then the system started aborting the
gcc program with an unexpected signal while it was compiling the
operating system kernel. Turning the CPU speed back down to its rated value
solved the problem.
gcc compiler is often the first thing to die from bad memory
modules (or other hardware problems that change data unpredictably) because it
builds huge data structures that it traverses repeatedly. An error in these
data structures will cause it to execute an illegal instruction or access a
non-existent address. The symptom of this will be
gcc dying from
an unexpected signal.
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 For ARMversion 2.2.27, 14 October, 2001