How to Install Debian 10 Buster [Step by Step]

This beginner’s guide explains the steps to install Debian 10 Buster. The following process includes the step by step guide with screenshots and prepared to be followed by any user.

Debian is a “true” free and open-source GNU/Linux Distribution. It is probably the oldest Linux distribution based on Linux Kernel. Today, Debian is the most stable Linux Distribution and base for many derived distributions such as Ubuntu, etc.

Installing Debian can be an enormous experience for a beginner. The installer and many .iso files can be confusing. Keeping that in mind this guide is prepared to install Debian Buster (v10) with step by step screenshots for beginners.

Minimum System Requirement for Debian

The following are the minimum system requirement for Debian. But it can vary based on what type of box you want to set up.

Minimum RAM: 512MB
Recommended RAM: 2 GB
Processor: 1 GHz
Minimum Disk Space: 10 GB

Install Debian 10 Buster – Steps

Step 1: Download .iso image

Visit the following page to download the Debian .iso images.

Debian provides many types of images for installation for all architecture. If you are downloading for the first time, you might get overwhelmed with which file to download. To keep things simple, I have added the following table for you to help you to choose which .iso to download.

TypeType of imageDescriptionSizeChoose if –Download
Freenetinst CD imageMinimal Size
Requires internet connection for packages
Max size 500 MByou have high-speed stable internetiso-cd
Freefull CDComes with CD 1, 2 and 3
You need the CD 1 only for basic installation
Max size 700 MByou want to download the basic packages and then install without internetiso-cd
Freefull DVDComes with DVD 1, 2 and 3
You need the DVD 1 only for basic installation
Max size 5 GByou want everything to be downloaded first, then install. And have all the time in the world!iso-dvd

The above images are “free” images, that means don’t include many proprietary packages for the firmware.

If you have special hardware such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc – you may want to get the “non-free” version of the packages from the below table.

TypeType of imageDownloadChoose if –
Non-freefull CD, DVDcd-dvd (go to non-free directory)If you want less effort and want Debian to just works with all supported hardware.
Non-freefull CD, DVD (LIVE) – separate desktop environment packagescd-dvd-live (go to non-free directory)If you want less effort and want Debian to just works, and want a LIVE system. LIVE system also offers a full installation as well

If you want any other packages, visit this page and navigate as per your need.

If you need any other packages specifically for Debian Buster 10, then visit this page.

Step 2: Prepare bootable USB

Write the .iso image on a USB stick. There are many ways you can do it. I would recommend using Etcher to write the image.

Plugin the USB stick to your target system and boot from it.

Step 3: Install the system

After you boot up the Debian 10 installer, you should see the following menu. Choose Graphical Install.

Debian 10 Installer Menu

Next up is to choose the language, region, and keyboard configurations. Choose as per your need. The following screenshots are a guide for you to follow.

Choose Language
Choose Region
Keyboard Configuration

While installing Debian 10 using this method, you need a stable internet connection. Hence make sure to provide a proper proxy, etc if you are using one or inside an intranet. Otherwise, provide any hostname and you can keep the domain name empty.

Configure Network – hostname
Configure Network – domain name

Setup root password, create a user and password as well. This is the user who would log in after the installation is complete.

Setup root password
Create Users – name
Create login username
Set password for the new user

Selecting the root partition to install Debian is a bit lengthy yet easy process in the Debian installer. The steps are pretty self-explanatory. Follow the instructions below.

Just make sure you have chosen the right partition before writing the final changes to the disk.

Select Manual Partition
Select the target device
Start creating partition
Select the space for partition
Select – create a new partition
Enter the size of root partition
Select Partition Type as Primary
Done setting up partition
write changes to the disks
Write changes to the disks

Start the installation once partitioning is complete. If prompted for additional CD, DVD – you can select No. When prompted for Debian mirrors for downloading packages, select the default ones which is selected. Although I felt the official mirrors are a bit slow.

Start the Debian 10 Buster Installation
Scan for additional Disks

And choose the desktop environment which you want to install on the following screen. For this guide, I have used the Xfce Desktop environment.

Choose Desktop Environment

The download will start and wait for the download to complete.

Download packages

After download, the installer automatically completes the installation and prompts for GRUB install. Choose the device where you want the GRUB to be placed. Ideally, it should be in your MBR.

GRUB install location
GRUB install location device

After the GRUB is installed, the installation completes. You can now reboot the system.

Debian 10 Buster Installation Complete

You should get a login prompt for your chose desktop environment. Log in using the user name created in the above steps.

And you should be all set with Debian 10 Buster installation.

Debian 10 Buster (Xfce) – After Installation

I hope this guide helped you to install and configure a Basic Debian 10 Buster system. Debian is a huge operating system with many options. You may want to experiment with other types of installations such as testing branch, different architecture. If you are stuck, let me know what happened using the comment box below.