How to Install a Debian 10 (Buster) Minimal Server

Debian 10 (Buster) is the new stable version of the Debian Linux operating system, which will be supported for the next 5 years and comes with several desktop applications and environments, and includes numerous updated software packages (over 62% of all packages in Debian 9 (Stretch)). Read the release notes for more information.

In this article, we will show you how to install a Debian 10 (Buster) Minimal Server on your Linux server or computer.

System Requirements

For Desktop
  • Minimum RAM: 512MB
  • Recommended RAM: 2 GB
  • Hard Drive space: 10 GB
  • Minimum 1GHz Pentium processor
For Server
  • Minimum RAM: 256MB
  • Recommended RAM: 512MB
  • Hard Drive space: 2 GB
  • Minimum 1GHz Pentium processor

Installation of Debian 10 (Buster) Guide

1. To install Debian 10 Buster directly onto your computer’s hard disk, you need to obtain the Debian 10 installation image(s) which may be downloaded by going to Debian on CDs.

  1. Download Debian 10 ISO Images

2. Once you have downloaded the Debian CD and DVD images, create a bootable USB stick or burn it on a CD, or DVD using any software such as Bootiso, Gnome Disk Utility, Live USB Creator and many others.

3. After creating a bootable media (USB stick or DVD), place it in the correct drive, reboot the machine and tell the BIOS/UEFI to boot-up from the DVD/USB by pressing a special function key (normally F12, F10 or F2) to open the boot menu. Then select your boot device from the list of devices and click Enter.

4. Once the installer boots, you will see the Installer menu (BIOS mode) that provides several options for installation. Select Graphical Install and click Enter.

Debian Installer Menu

Debian Installer Menu

5. Next, choose the language to be used for the installation process. Note that the language you select will also be used as the default system language. Then click Continue.

Select Debian Installation Language

Select Debian Installation Language

6. Then select your location (country) which will be used to set the system time zone as well as locales. You can find more countries under others if yours doesn’t appear in the default list.

Select Your Location

Select Your Location

7. After that, if there is no locale for the language and country combination you selected, you have to configure the locales manually. The locale used is in the second column (e.g en_US.UTF-8).

Configure Locales

Configure Locales

8. Next, configure the keyboard by selecting the keymap to use. Remember that this affects the key-meaning associations of your computer’s keyboard.

Configure the Keyboard

Configure the Keyboard

Configuring the Network

9. If you have multiple network interfaces, the installer will ask you to select the one to use as the default/primary network interface. Otherwise the first connected network interface is selected.

Then click Continue to configure all network interfaces attached to the system to obtain an IP address using DHCP.

Select Primary Network Interface

Select Primary Network Interface

10. Next, set the hostname (archaically nodename, e.g tecmint1) for the system. This name helps to identify your system to other devices/nodes on a network.

Set Hostname

Set Hostname

11. Once the hostname is set, also set the domain name (e.g tecmint.lan). The domain name should be the same on all other nodes on your network. In this case, the systems Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) will be tecmint1.tecmint.lan.

Set Domain Name

Set Domain Name

Creating User Accounts and Passwords

12. It’s now time to create user accounts. First, create a user account for non-administrative activities. This user can be configured to gain root privileges using sudo. Enter the new user’s full name and click Continue.

Create Normal User

Create Normal User

13. Next, create a username for the above user. Do not forget that the username must begin with a lower-case letter followed by a combination of numbers and more lower-case letters.

Create Username for Normal User

Create Username for Normal User

14. Set a strong and secure password (made up of a mixture of letters both lowercase and uppercase, numbers, and special characters) for the new user account. Confirm the password and click Continue.

Create Password for Normal User

Create Password for Normal User

Partitioning Disks for Debian Installation

15. Now it’s time prepare the storage disk(s) before any file system is created on it during the actual installation of system files. There are several disk partitioning options but we will use Manual partitioning. So select it and click Continue.

Select Manual Partitioning

Select Manual Partitioning

16. The installer will display all currently installed disks (or configured partitions and mount points as well) on your computer. Select the disk you want to partition (e.g 34.4 GB ATA VBOX HARDDISK which is unpartitioned) and click Continue.

Select Disk to Partition

Select Disk to Partition

17. If you have selected an entire disk, the installer will show a warning message. Once you have decided to partition the disk, select Yes to create a new empty partition table on the disk and click Continue.

Accept to Partition Disk

Accept to Partition Disk

18. A new empty partition table has been created on the disk. Double click on it to create a new partition.

Select Disk to Create Partitions

Select Disk to Create Partitions

Creating root(/) Partition

19. Then double click on Create a new partition and enter the maximum size of the partition. Once you are done, click Continue.

Create New Partition

Create New Partition

Set Size for Root Partition

Set Size for Root Partition

20. Next, make the new partition a primary partition and set it to be created at the beginning of the available space.

Make Root Partition Primary

Make Root Partition Primary

Set Partition at Beginning of Free Space

Set Partition at Beginning of Free Space

21. The installer will then choose the default partition settings (such as file system type, mount point, mount options, label, etc.). You can make changes according to your requirements. When you done, select Done setting up the partition and click Continue.

Root Partition Settings

Root Partition Settings

22. The new partition (/ of size 30.4 GB) should now appear in the list of all configured partitions, with a summary of its settings as shown in the following screenshot. The free space is also displayed, which will be configured as swap space as explained next.

Root Partition Overview

Root Partition Overview

Creating Swap Space/Area

23. From the previous interface, double click on the free space (4 GB in this case), go through the same steps we used to create the root partition. Click Create a new partition, enter its size, then set it as a Logical partition and configure it to be created at the end of available space.

Select Free Space to Create Swap

Select Free Space to Create Swap

24. At the partition settings interface, set Use as value as swap area (double click on the default value to get more options). Then go to Done settings up the partition to continue.

Create Swap Partition

Create Swap Partition

25. Once all the necessary partitions (root and swap area) are created, your partition table should look similar to what is in the following screenshot. And double click on Finish partitioning and write changes to disk.

Partition Table Summary

Partition Table Summary

26. Then accept the recent changes made to the disk during the partitioning process to allow the installer to write them to the disk. Select Yes and click Continue. After that, the installer will start installing the base system.

Save Partition Changes

Save Partition Changes

Installing Base System

Installing Base System

Configure the Package Manager

27. During the base system installation process, the installer will prompt you to configure a a network mirror for the APT package manager. Select Yes to add one, otherwise you will have to configure it manually after installing the system.

Configure Network Mirror

Configure Network Mirror

28. Then select the Debian archive mirror country from the provided list. Select your country or a country in the same region or continent.

Select Debian Mirror Country

Select Debian Mirror Country

29. Now choose the Debian archive mirror e.g deb.debian.org is a good choice and it is picked by default by the installer. And if you want to use a HTTP proxy to access external service, you can configure it in the next step then continue.

Select Debian Mirror

Select Debian Mirror

At this stage, the installer will try to configure the APT package manager to use the above Debian archive mirror, and it tries to retrieve a number of packages. Once that is done, the installation process will proceed.

30. Also, configure whether to participate in the package usage survey. You can modify your choice later on using the “dpkg-reconfigure popularity-contest” command. Select Yes to participate or No to continue.

Configure Package Usage Survey

Configure Package Usage Survey

Install Collection of Software

31. Next, select the predefined collection of software to install along with the base system files. For this guide, we will install Debian desktop environment, Xfce, SSH server and standard system libraries. You can choose the desktop environment of your choice if you want to install one.

If you intend to set-up a server on a computer with a small amount of resources such as RAM, you can de-select the Debian desktop environment and ...Xfce options to avoid installing them (refer to the system requirements) Then click Continue.

Software Selection

Software Selection

32. Last but not least, tell the installer to install the GRUB boot loader by selecting Yes from the following interface. Then click Continue. Then select the bootable device on which GRUB will be installed, and click Continue.

Install Grub Boot Loader

Install Grub Boot Loader

Select Device to Install Grub

Select Device to Install Grub

33. When the installation is complete, click Continue to close the installer and restart the computer. Remove the installation media and boot into your new Debian 10 system.

Finish the Installation

Finish the Installation

Debian System Grub Menu

Debian System Grub Menu

34. After the system boots, the login interface will show up. Enter your username and password, and click Log in to access the Debian 10 desktop.

Debian 10 Login Screen

Debian 10 Login Screen

Debian 10 Desktop

Debian 10 Desktop

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Debian 10 (Buster) Linux operating system on your computer. Do you have any queries, or thoughts to share, use the feedback form below to reach us.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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2 Responses

  1. Asker says:

    Minimal? common dude!

    • Gerard says:

      Maybe Aaron is referring to the system requirements for a server. With those requirements any stone age computer can do the job. However, don’t expect to run a system like that in business environment.

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