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June 04, 2020

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Tutorial to installation and setup of Debian Buster on the desktop with screenshots.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We will be describe blank installation of Debian Buster 10.4 in this post. An installer in different versions may be slightly different. For our purpose we will use a computer with one hard disk, which we will be format and create new volumes. For security reasons we will use disk encryption by dm-crypt/Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) and for managing encrypted disk we will use Logical Volume Manager (LVM). Creating more volumes in not necessary. You can have everything in one volume but it is more secure to use more volumes. If some volume will be broken, for example by power cut, then other volumes remain intact.

We will create two physical volumes on our hard disk. First volume of 1 GB for system loader and related files, will be mounted as /boot and formatted by ext2 file system because in this case we don’t need journal. Only this volume will not be encrypted. Second volume of up to all free capacity will be reserved as physical volume for encrypting. We will create in this physical volume one volume group and inside this group three logical volumes, namely root volume mounted as /, user volume mounted as /home and swap volume. The root volume and user volume will be formatted by ext4 file system, swap volume has own file system.

Now, few words to volume sizes. There are no rules for volume sizes. You can set volume sizes by your needs. Usually, I set for root volume 100 GB, for swap volume size by physical RAM size and for user volume all remain free capacity.

We start the installation by system loading. We can to use previously created installable USB sticker. Now, we USB sticker insert into computer, restart system and set boot from USB sticker. If it is all right, then we see installer menu:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We don’t choose any standard options but we choose option “Advanced options” for more install options:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

And then we choose option “Expert install” for customizing our installation:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Now, we see the installer main menu. The installer is designed so that you can go to previous step in every time and make changes. Now, we start the installation and at first we select language:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “English”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose location “United States”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

And then we choose location “United States” again:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by choosing locales. Locales are implicit set by default by the previously specified location. We keep default settings:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by setting access software for a blind person. If you don’t use braille display, then only confirm to continue.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by keyboard configuring:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “American English”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by disk detecting. In our case, the installer considers USB sticker as CD-ROM:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

The installer offers to us loading some special modules, which we need. We choose all options (if not) and confirm to continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

If everything is all right, then we see this message. We confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by loading installer components. In our case, the installer considers USB sticker as CD-ROM:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

The installer offers to us installing some additional components. Usually, we don’t need to install them. We confirm it only for continue.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by detecting network hardware. Usually just, we confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by network configuring:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We accept default time value and confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter computer name. If it is home computer then you can enter any name, for example your name. The computer name will be listed in terminal, for example john@debian:~/. If it is company computer, then you must to accept rules of your company:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter computer domain. If it is home computer then you can enter any name. If you have more computers, then it is good idea enter same domain to all your computers. If it is company computer, then you must to accept rules of your company:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by setting the login and password:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. The NIS mean Network Information Service and it is client-server protocol for distributing system configuration data.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “No”. For security reasons is not good idea to have root user directly accessible. It is better idea disable it and use access to root by sudo:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the full user name:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the login name:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the password:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the password again for confirmation:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by system clock configuring:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We set and synchronize the system clock by Network Time Protocol:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the network time server URL. The URL mean Uniform Resource Locator. It is good idea use some geographically near server.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose time zone, in our case “Eastern”. UNIX computers work with UTC time and local time show to us by time zone settings.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by disk detecting. The installer find all available disks:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by partition disks:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Manual”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We select disk for partitioning. If we have more disks then we must to select just one disk:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We create empty partition table:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “msdos”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by physical volumes creating. We see here, how much free space (17.2 GB) we have on the partitioned disk. We select menu item “FREE SPACE”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We create volume for system loader and related files. We choose option “Create a new partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the value 1 GB:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Primary”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Beginning”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose options “Ext2 file system”, “/boot” and bootable flag “on”. We confirm it by menu item “Done setting up the partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We was returned back to partition menu. Now, we see newly created volume and create second physical volume for encryption. We select menu item “FREE SPACE”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Create a new partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We use all free disk capacity for new partition size. We accept the default value (16.2 GB) and confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Logical”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose options “physical volume for encryption”, “Passphrase” and bootable flag “off”. We confirm it by menu item Done setting up the partition:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We was returned back to partition menu. We see two newly created volumes. Now, we write changes to disk and encrypt disk. We choose option “Configure encrypted volumes”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes” and write changes to disk:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Create encrypted volumes”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “/dev/sda5 (16177MB; crypto)”. The option “/dev/sda1 (999MB; ext2)” must not be chosen! We confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Finish”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We wait to overwriting by random characters. It can take a long time. You can skip it by option “Cancel”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the password for access to encrypted disks. You will be asked for this password each booting:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the password for access to encrypted disks again for confirmation:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We accept short password:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by one volume group creating and then three logical volumes creating. We choose option “Configure the Logical Volume Manager”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes” and write changes to disk:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Create volume group”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the volume group name. Usually, I name it by current computer name:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “/dev/mapper/sda5_crypt (16160MB; ext4)”. The option “/dev/sda1 (999MB; ext2)” must not be chosen! We confirm it for continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We create logical volumes. First, we create root volume. We choose option “Create logical volume”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose volume group, in our case “debian”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the root volume name. Usually, I name it as “root”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the root volume size. Usually, I set 100 GB, here for example 10 GB:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Secondly, we create swap volume. We choose option “Create logical volume”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose volume group, in our case “debian”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the swap volume name. Usually, I name it as “swap”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the swap volume size. Usually, I set physical RAM size, here for example 2048 MB:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Thirdly, we create user volume. We choose “Create logical volume”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose volume group, in our case “debian”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the user volume name. Usually, I name it as “home”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter the user volume size. Usually, I enter remain free disk capacity, here for example 4110 MB:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Finish”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We set logical volumes. First, we set user volume. We choose option “#1 4.1 GB” (in our case):

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Use as: do not use”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Ext4 journaling file system”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We set mount point as “/home” and confirm by menu item “Done setting up the partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Secondly, we set root volume. We choose option “#1 10.0 GB” (in our case):

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Use as: do not use”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Ext4 journaling file system”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We set mount point as “/” and confirm by menu item “Done setting up the partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Thirdly, we set swap volume. We choose option “#1 2.0 GB” (in our case):

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Use as: do not use”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “swap area”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Done setting up the partition”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We write all changes to disk. We choose option “Finish partitioning and write changes to disk”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We confirm it. We choose option “Yes”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by installing base system:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We wait to installing base system. It can take a some time.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “linux-image-amd64”. We use common metapackage:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “generic: include all available drivers”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by configuring the package manager:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “No”. We don’t scan another install CD-ROM or DVD:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We use downloading from Debian servers or its mirrors:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “http”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “United States”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose concrete Debian server or its mirror. It is good idea choose server geographically near:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

If you use proxy, then enter necessary data for connection, else leave blank and continue:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We allow the installation non-free software:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose all options and continue. We use all types of updates:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by select and install software:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “No automatic updates”. I prefer updating manually in according with my needs:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We help to Debian developers:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose options “Debian desktop environment”, “print server”, “standard system utilities” and choose graphic environment “… Xfce”. I prefer XFCE but you can install different.

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by installing of boot loader. The Debian use boot loader GRUB. It mean GRand Unified Bootloader:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. We have only one operating system:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “/dev/sda” (in our case). If you have more disks, then choose option very carefully:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “No”:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We continue by finishing the installation:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Yes”. The system clock is set to UTC:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

The installation is finished. We remove install USB sticker and restart computer:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

If it is all right, then we see loader menu. We choose option “Debian GNU/Linux” or wait few seconds to start booting automatically:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter password to encrypted disk:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We enter login and password to computer:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

We choose option “Use default config” (on first booting only):

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Congratulations! Your Debian Buster is running:

Installing Debian Buster on the Desktop

Now, we install some additional packages. First, we update repositories and installed packages. You can update it in every time:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Optionally, we install packages with free and non-free system kernel drivers:

sudo apt-get install firmware-linux firmware-linux-nonfree 

Optionally, we install WiFi driver:


sudo apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi

Optionally, we install utility for enabling keyboard’s Numeric Lock during X11 session:

sudo apt-get install numlockx

Optionally, we install support for downloading by HTTPS:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https curl

Finally, we restart computer for apply changes. Installing is finished. Happy working with Debian!

Installable USB Sticker with Debian Buster
Installing proprietary graphics drivers on the Debian Buster


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