Computer Science Mojo

~ David's Notes on coding, software and computer science


How to minimally install Debian 8 in VM VirtualBox

Category: Linux     Tag: Debian   Linux   VirtualBox  
By: David     On: Mon 27 July 2015     

Debian without a desktop environment is simple, clean and full of potential. It is the ideal set up for installing your own choice of desktop environment that doesn't come with the Debian installer, or for setting up a Debian server.
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  • 0.1 Comfortable using Linux without a desktop environment

1. Start the virtual machine

Create a new virtual machine for Debian and start it with the Debian .iso

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2. Choose Install

Install and Graphical install is pretty much the same

3. Configure settings to your liking

  • language
  • location
  • keyboard
  • hostname
  • domain name (leave it blank if you don't have one)
  • Users
  • Time zone
  • Partition disks (strongly recommend partitioning if it will be used as a server )
  • mirror (you can leave the proxy setting blank)
  • package usage survey

4. Software selection

First Thing to note is that if you regret not installing anything here, later after Debian is installed and running, you can always run:


to install or uninstall anything you missed (except "standard system utilities" is replace by "laptop"; they are not the same; read more: tasksel)

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What each package includes:

  • web server: Apache2
  • print server: CUPS (you can deselect it if printing is not needed)
  • SSH server: openssh
  • standard system utilities: What Debian's "standard system utilities" include

4.1. For a bare bone installation with only Debian core:

  • Don't check anything

4.2. For a minimal installation (Recommended):

  • standard system utilities (as this provides Python, whois, ftp, telnet, aptitude and other goodies)

4.3. For a server:

  • SSH server
  • standard system utilities

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5. Grub

Select /dev/sda

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6. Finish the installation and reboot

VirtualBox will remove the installation .iso for you

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7. Update and upgrade

After logging in, update your package list:

apt-get update

upgrade the packages:

apt-get upgrade


Fully utilize VirtualBox's snapshots to save whatever you are doing