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I've got a shining new x64 laptop running Windows 7 and I want to dual boot debian stable.

I've installed ubuntu on loads of laptops in the past using a USB drive, but I can't find decent instructions for installing debian like the ubuntu instructions.

I've installed debian from CD a couple of times in the past too, but my new machine doesn't have an optical drive.

The questions are:

  1. Which files do I need from the debian download page?

  2. How do I make the debian files on a USB drive bootable?

  3. Does the debian installer have a disk partitioner (like the ubuntu one does)? Reading the installation guide it seems not to, which would be another hurdle. If this is the case, which partitioner can I use?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 2 '11 at 13:33

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6 Answers 6

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Download UNetbootin, which allows one to create bootable USB installation media for almost any Linux and BSD distribution out of the box.

Just run it, select Debian, choose the usb drive and wait while it downloads the .iso and transfers it to your usb. After that it's bootable and the install works like from a CD.

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Great answer so far. Do you know if, during installation, debian gives the option to partition the disk? –  blokeley Apr 2 '11 at 13:41
    
Any linux distro that doesn't let you partition the disk is doomed to fail. Partitioning the disk is a basic part of any installation of Linux. So I'd say yes, it does. –  Majenko Apr 2 '11 at 13:51
    
The debian installer did have a partitioner. However, debian didn't support either my ethernet or wifi adapters so I couldn't install it! See superuser.com/questions/267282/… –  blokeley Apr 7 '11 at 10:37
1  
Fantastic answer. Worked first time, and that was after several hours of trying to get the instructions in the debian installation guide to work. –  Recurse May 10 '12 at 3:56
1  
I've had more luck with the Universal USB Installer, with UNetBootin bootmgr was missing –  Aculeo Oct 6 '13 at 12:11

If you use Linux terminal you can also decide to show old dd some love:

dd if=/your/path/debian-7.5.0-i386-netinst.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=16k

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1  
+1 for the retro style –  The Disintegrator Aug 9 at 14:51
    
Let's show the young uns! :D –  Pitto Aug 13 at 9:55

So far the easiest way I have found is

cp debian-7.2.0-i386-netinst.iso /dev/sdX
sync

Where X is the drive letter assigned to the devise (see dmesg right after inserting the USB)

As seen in the Debian instructions

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If you're on Linux, the easiest way is to simply do:

cat debian.iso > /dev/sdb; sync

This will wipe everything from your USB drive, so be careful!

Also make sure you've got the correct device by checking the output of dmesg right after connecting your USB device.

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Why the downvote? this method works and is by far the easiest way to create a bootable Debian USB drive. –  Shahin Dohan Dec 10 '12 at 6:18
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It didn't work for me. Just a blank screen showed up when I tried to install. Not sure if it is a problem with my usb drive or the image or the command mentioned above. –  Sivaji Jan 17 '13 at 15:15
    
@Sivaji what do you mean "tried to install"? if you actually got to the menu then it's probably none of those. Try running the normal installer (not the graphical one) and see if that works. –  Shahin Dohan Mar 21 '13 at 20:16
    
works just perfect –  tuxtimo Feb 3 at 17:57

To quote from the Very Verbose Debian Installation Walkthrough:

Step 3 � (cfdisk) You should now be at a black screen that says, "cfdisk 2.11n", at the top. This is where we will partition our hard drive to prepare it so we can install Debian. Probably one of the most "scary" tasks when installing Debian is partitioning the drive. Debian uses a command line tool called cfdisk, which is really quite simple to use, so don't be discouraged by its monochrome presentation.

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You can try EasyBCD to boot from the iso file directly without creating a bootable usb

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Thanks for the note, but this doesn't answer any of the 3 specific questions. –  blokeley Apr 2 '11 at 13:58

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