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Is it possible to install Debian to some generic hardware, make that into an image file, and then image it into different hard drives and put those harddrives in different computers? I'm currently looking at VirtualBox, i know it can access physical disks.. but I would prefer if I could create an generic image that would work with most hardware...

I'm planning to install debian as a server setup to computers that are not able to output anything visual..... (burnt out graphics card and what not..) This means I won't be able to do anything on these computers unless i have remote access... which means an OS has to be present..

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2 Answers

Most Linux installations have very little hardware dependency – the distribution kernel is built with modules for all common kinds of hardware, and there is almost no persistent information kept about devices – everything is re-detected on boot.

The only things that come to mind are disk identifiers in boot loader and fstab. You should make sure that both configurations use UUIDs or labels, in order to avoid problems with disk ordering and such. (I'm not sure if Debian has upgraded yet, but the older grub-legacy boot loader only supported specifying partitions by disk#/partition#. grub2 is okay, but verify the config manually.) For example:

# /etc/fstab
LABEL=rainboot    /boot    ext4    nodev,noexec    0    1
LABEL=rainroot    /        ext4    defaults        0    1
# grub.cfg
search --no-floppy --label rainboot --set=boot
search --no-floppy --label rainroot --set=root
...
menuentry 'Arch Linux' {
    linux ($boot)/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/rainroot ro
    initrd ($boot)/initramfs-linux.img
}
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To answer my own question.. I was able to configure virtualbox with raw disk access, installed directly to the disk and did some basic configuration... now it works flawlessly. –  Pwnna Dec 13 '11 at 3:06
    
@ultimate: If you found an answer yourself, then post it as a separate answer here. –  grawity Dec 13 '11 at 7:38
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To answer my own question, All you need to do, which might be more clumsy, but you get to configure each install differently.. is to connect the hard drive externally and then configure VirtualBox to write directly to the physical harddrive... Then set the networking interface for eth1 if you turned on networking for VirtualBox, then you're good to go.

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