How to install Debian from scratch

Would you like to know how to install Debian from scratch? Let’s see together how to do a clean installation of Debian Linux on the pc.

Guide index:

  • 1Attention!
  • 1How to install Debian from scratch
    • 1STEP 1: Create an installation media and select the correct BOOT
    • 2STEP 2: Install Debian from scratch


To install Debian on your device, you need to make sure it is supported. Not sure if your PC can run Linux Debian correctly? Click here to see recommended hardware . Furthermore, to complete the procedure you need a “separate” media (USB stick, Hard Disk or other) capable of “hosting” the Debian installation files . The support device must be correctly connected to the PC. The procedure will completely format the memory on which Debian will be installed, clearing the memory itself before installation. Make sure you back up all important files on your PC before continuing with the installation from scratch.

How to install Debian from scratch

If you have a computer capable of supporting Debian , you must know that installing this operating system on your pc is child’s play and many times this operation solves many problems of incompatibility and slowness in a few minutes, bringing the device back to the ” factory”. “Install an operating system from scratch” and “format a device” are synonymous.

For convenience we will divide the procedure into 2 phases: in the first phase we will explain how to create an installation media where to “insert” Linux Debian and it will be explained how to “start the pc by starting this installation”, in the second phase we will see the installation process step by step step to completion. And now let’s get started!

STEP 1: Create an installation media and select the correct BOOT

1) After checking the requirements of your PC , if you have a USB stick (or other media) containing the Debian installation files, skip to step 4 . Otherwise, get a USB stick of at least 8 GB. Then download the Debian installation file from the official website (the file will be in “.iso” format)

Click here to download Debian stable for free from the official website .

2) Now you can “burn” the “.iso” file to DVD or save a DVD and put the installation file directly on a USB stick. In this last case, I suggest you download a little program called “Rufus”. As soon as you open this application (it is not necessary to install it), you will immediately notice that with a handful of clicks it will be possible to prepare a USB stick for installing the Linux operating system. I advise you to download the application only from the official website, in order not to incur unpleasant surprises.

Click here to download Rufus for free from the official website .

Know, for information, that there are several alternatives to Rufus such as Etcher or UNetbootin , which are able to “put the installation files” of Linux into a USB stick or a storage device and then proceed with the actual installation and own.

3) The procedure for using Rufus will be completely guided, but make sure you have connected an empty USB stick of at least 8 GB to the PC. Open Rufus, select the Linux Debian installation file (in ISO format, as explained above) and click on “START” (or similar item). This way you can create your USB flash drive with Debian ready for installation to use as many times as you want .

4) Once your media has been created (for example, you can do it from the same PC “to be formatted / reset” before starting “phase 2”) you can proceed with the installation of the operating system on the PC itself . To do this you will have to start the PC, taking care to first insert the support you will use for the installation .

If you have done everything correctly, the PC will start directly from the USB stick .

If your USB flash drive or DVD won’t start automatically, you’ll need to “tell your motherboard” (your pc) to boot up the devices you’ve prepared for installation first. No fear! To do this, simply access the UEFI or BIOS and go to the BOOT section.

Each pc installed in its motherboard has a BIOS or UEFI (or similar) system to manage the basic settings of the pc itself, including the BOOT settings . If you don’t know how to access the BIOS or UEFI, click here or consult your motherboard manual.

A typical UEFI screen. In this case the system is UEFI BIOS Asus and from this system, through the main screen you can move and rearrange the BOOT devices directly in the “Boot Priority” window (right) with the help of the mouse pointer.

The typical “Boot” screen of a BIOS developed by American Megatrends.

From the “BOOT settings section” just look for the “Boot Priority” item also called “ Boot ” (or “ Boot Devices ” or similar names). So , just set as “Primary Driver” or ” Primary boot ” (or ” Primary drive ” or ” Primary device for boot ” or similar names) the device from which you intend to install the operating system (for example “Hard Disk Brand X” if you intend to install from DVD). To do this, in modern configurations it will be enough (in many cases) to drag the device as first in the list or change the order from the menu.

By setting your installation device as the “primary driver for booting” (for example, the USB stick you just prepared), you will “tell” the computer that that device must start up first when the PC is turned on compared to all other peripherals that may be connected . Only in this way, in fact, can the installation be started from scratch. As soon as you have perfectly installed your operating system (after the end of this guide), therefore, I recommend that you change the “primary driver” again, this time setting the memory unit in which you will have installed the operating system (SSD, Hard Disk , SSD NVMe M.2 etc.).

Save, restart your pc and proceed with the installation (STEP 2).

STEP 2: Install Debian from scratch

5) At this point, the program will start which will allow you to install Debian from scratch. Select “Graphical Install” .

6) Select the Italian language and click on the “Continue” button .

7) Choose “Italy” as your country and click on “Continue” .

8) Select “English ” when it asks you to configure the keyboard and click “Continue” .

9) Enter the host name , for example “debian”. Click on “Continue” .

10) Leave the “Domain Name” box blank and click “Continue” .

11) Choose and enter the root password twice and click on “Continue” .

12) Configure user and password. Choose the full name of the new user to create and enter it in the space provided . Click on “Continue” .

13) Choose the username for the account . It should start with a lowercase letter. Click “Continue” .

14) Choose a password and verify that it was typed correctly . Click on “Continue” .

15) Choose the disk partitioning method by selecting “Guided – use entire disk”. Click on “Continue” .

16) Select the hard drive on which to install the operating system. Click “Continue” .

17) Select the Debian mirror . Usually, is a good choice .

18) Leave the “HTTP proxy information” field and click on “Continue”.

19) When asked “Do you want to participate in the data collection on the use of the packages?”, Choose “No” and click on “Continue” .

20) Choose the desktop environment and the tools to install and click on “Continue” .

21) Install the GRUB boot loader by flagging “Yes” to the question “Would you like to install the GRUB boot loader in the master boot record?” Click on the “Continue” button .

22) Choose the device on which to install the boot loader and click on “Continue” .

23) When installation is complete, restart the system by clicking on “Continue” .

At first boot enter your username and password and enjoy your pc with Debian. At this point the procedure will be finished. Simple, isn’t it?

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