Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 23:02

(Debian 10 "Buster" with user-friendly installer)

This tutorial explains how to install Debian 10.0 GNU/Linux. With this tutorial, you can either install it on internal or external disk drive, either in single- or dual-boot mode. You will get GNOME, the modern and user friendly desktop, as the user interface. And you will prepare at least 2 blank partitions as main place and swap of the system. This tutorial also includes several instructions for UEFI-based computers (which are sold since 2011 up to today). Total amount of time needed to finish it is about 1 hour. I hope this tutorial works well for you. Finally, happy installing!

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  • 1. Starting
  • 2. Language
  • 3. Partitioning
  • 4. Bootloader & Credentials
  • 5. Final

Selecting Debian Live

Debian 10.0 has more than 7 different editions you can grab. So, to install Debian GNOME with easy and user-friendly installer, grab Debian Live GNOME Edition instead of the standard (install-only) edition. Fortunately, it's available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. This tutorial is based on Debian 10.0 Live GNOME Edition.

(Debian Live editions download page: grab the one pointed by mouse cursor)

My Setup

I practiced the installation with this setup:
  • Flash drive: SanDisk Cruzer Glide 3.0 16GB
  • Disk scheme: MBR
  • Partitions: one 14GB as EXT2, one 2GB as swap
  • Bootloader: installed to the Cruzer Glide
  • Total time needed: 1 hour
You can replace the flash drive with external hard disk drive if you wish as the procedures are the same.

For UEFI Computers

For UEFI-based computer, you need to create a 500MB EFI partition on the drive. So if your computer is UEFI-based, you will need 3 partitions, the main one, the swap, and the EFI.

Note: UEFI is the new generation BIOS with completely different ways to work. Most computers sold today since 2011 are UEFI-based. For instance, if you bought your laptop in 2018, we can certainly say it's UEFI based.

1. Starting the installer

Open the start menu by pressing Super key and click the pink Install Debian icon appeared on left side.

The installer is called Calamares and it appears like below.

(Calamares as Debian 10 installer)

Note: to remind you, Calamares is the same installer we found at Manjaro and KDE Neon, as the rival to Ubiquity Installer we found at Ubuntu. As a side note, any other tutorial for other distro as long as it's Calamares actually can be applied to Debian 10 as now Debian uses Calamares.

2. Selecting Language, Keyboard, and Region

First, on the first page of the installer, select the Language you wish. Standard language is American English and this is fine.

Note: if you choose the other, for instance Japanese, then the rest of installation will appear in Japanese and your finished Debian system will be also presented in Japanese.

On the second page, click on the map where you live. For instance, if you choose Indonesia, then your Debian system will use Indonesia's time, dates, currency, and numbers formats.

On the third page, leave the standard option as is (English US+Default), unless you wish to use a specific layout like Arabic, Japanese, Russian, or other.

3. Partitioning

This is the most crucial step. You will create 2 partitions at least, one as main, one more as swap. I strongly suggest you to use EXT2 non-journaling filesystem instead of EXT4 journaling one for media like USB Flash Drive. Here, I formatted my flash drive with one EXT2 13GB as main partition for Debian and another one (2GB) as swap. This way, anywhere you go with the drive you will always have a swap partition even though the computer you will be using has no swap.

i) Selecting the disk drive:

On the top selection list, select the name of USB Flash Drive. My example here is /dev/sdb SanDisk Cruzer Glide 3.0.

Note: if the flash drive does not appear here, while other flash drive appears, you may need to format first that drive and try again here.

ii) Selecting manual partitioning:

Click Manual Partitioning option to enter the advanced partitioner. This is equal to "Something Else" option on Ubiquity installer.

iii) Editing partitions on the drive:

  • Select the free space.
  • Click Create button.

iv) Creating first partition:
  • Size: 14GB or 13000MiB
  • File System: ext2
  • Mount point: /

v) Creating swap partition:
  • Size: 2GB or 1900MiB
  • File system: linuxswap

Special for UEFI: Create EFI Partition:
Take 500MB from the main one and determine File system: FAT32 and Mount Point: /boot/efi. This will create a special EFI Partition in the flash drive. This way, your drive will always have 3 partitions everywhere: main, swap, and EFI.

4. Bootloader & Credentials

Change the bootloader location selection to the name of the flash drive. It's the same drive where your main partition is. My example here is SanDisk Cruzer Glide.

Creating username and password:
This account will be your login account and the password will be your sudo (administrator) password.

On the sixth page, carefully read the information at the bottom. Make sure the partition, the filesystem, and number of them are all correct without any mistake. Do not let any mistake occur, for instance, your HDD selected instead of your USB Flash Drive, while you do not wish that. Once verified, press Install button. The real partitioning and installation will go after this and you cannot go back anymore.

5. Waiting & Finish

All you need to do now is waiting the remaining process to be finished. On my practice, this takes up to 1 hour.

Finished installation will show "All done." message. To end this, click Done button and you will be restarted to boot to your Debian system.

Now, your USB Flash Drive has Debian 10 installed and you can run it anywhere you go. Congratulations!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.