How to Install Debian 12 Bookworm

How to Install Debian 12 Bookworm

Need help installing Debian 12 Bookworm on your device?

Look no further.

Debian 12 comes with exciting new features, including over 11 thousand new packages, updated desktop environments, and more translated manual pages.

Our beginner-friendly, step-by-step guide will quickly walk you through the installation process, whether you’re using a Virtual Machine or planning a direct installation. 

Let’s begin!

What You’ll Need

Before installing Debian 12, make sure you have all these in place:

  • A device that meets the hardware requirements for Debian
  • A live CD/USB stick (if you want to install it as your main driver)
  • A virtual machine software (if you decide to fully follow this tutorial)
  • (Optional) An internet connection

Once you have fulfilled all the requirements, you can proceed to the steps.

How to Install Debian 12 Bookworm: Step-By-Step

Step 1: Install VirtualBox

We’ve chosen VirtualBox since it’s free and easy to use. You can find the VirtualBox installation file on the official website. 

Let’s proceed with the steps to install Virtualbox:

  1. Go to the Virtualbox downloads page.
  2. Select the platform you’re using:
virtualbox platform packages
  1. Download the correct installation file based on your operating system (or distro if you’re using Linux).
  2. Once downloaded, the installation process is straightforward. If you’re using a Windows system, run the EXE file and follow the instructions to install it. For Linux, you can follow the commands specified in the official documentation.

Step 2: Download Debian 12 ISO

After installing VirtualBox, you need to download the correct Debian 12 ISO file. We will use this ISO file to install Debian 12 as a Virtual Machine.

  1. Download the ISO file from the Debian website.
  2. If you want to verify the authenticity of the file, you can do that using the provided checksum and GPG keyring.

The ISO file acts like an entire CD or DVD. Since it’s a single file, it’s easier for us to set it up for installation.

Step 3: Set up VirtualBox

After the Debian 12 ISO file is downloaded, you can start configuring VirtualBox so that you can create a virtual machine for installing Debian.

  1. Open VirtualBox.
  2. Press the New button.
virtualbox create new virtual machine
  1. Give a name for the new virtual machine. We named it Debian 12. Select a folder to store the VM. Select your downloaded ISO image from the dropdown menu. For Type, select Linux. For Version, select Debian. When all of that is done, press the Next button.
virtualbox create new virtual machine
  1. In the next window, select your preferred hardware settings for the OS. We’ve chosen 2GB of Memory and 1 CPU (Processor). You may increase it based on your needs. Once selected, press the Next button.
virtualbox create new virtual machine
  1. Now you need to create a Virtual Hard Disk. Select the Create a Virtual Hard Disk Now option, as shown in the screenshot below. Specify the Disk Size. We’re using 8GB of disk space. Again, choose according to your preference. Then press the Next button.
virtualbox create new virtual machine
  1. In this last window, make sure to check if everything is correct. If so, press the Finish button.
virtualbox create new virtual machine
  1. You should be taken to the first window now. Select the new VM from the left menu. Then press Start. You should be taken to the Debian installation window if everything goes well.
virtualbox start virtual machine

Step 4: Install Debian

After you see the Debian booting screen, there should be a few installation options.

  1. Select Graphical install.
install debian 12
  1. Select your preferred language for the installation process and as the system language. Then press Continue.
debian choose language
  1. Select your location. Remember that your time zone will be selected according to your location. Then press the Continue button.
debian choose location
  1. In this step, you must choose a locale for the language you selected. This is an extra step if the language you chose doesn’t have a locale for the country you selected. Once done, press Continue.
debian choose locale
  1. Select the type of keyboard you want to use on the installed system. Then press Continue.
debian configure keyboard
  1. You should see that the installation media will start loading some components. Wait for it to finish.
debian loading additional components
  1. In the next window, write the hostname for your system. This will identify your system on a network. Now press Continue.
debian choose hostname
  1. Next, if you have a domain name, enter that. Else, you can skip this step by pressing Continue.
debian domain name
  1. Now you need to set up a password for the root account. Make sure the password is strong and not easy to guess. After creating the password, re-enter it so it matches the new password. Once you’ve done that, proceed by pressing Continue.
debian root password
  1. Now enter your full name. The best practice is to use your real name. After writing your name, press Continue.
debian user full name
  1. Now you require to create an account. First, you have to choose a suitable username. You can choose your own name in all lowercase or choose a preferred name. Then press Continue.
debian username
  1. Now create another password for the account. Again, follow the best practices to create a strong password. Once done. Go to the next step by pressing Continue.
debian user password
  1. In this step, you need to choose how you want to handle the disk partitioning. There are four options:

    a) Guided – use entire disk
    b) Guided – use entire disk and set up LVM
    c) Guided – use entire disk and set up encrypted LVM
    d) Manual

    We will go with the 2nd option (Guided – use the entire disk and set up LVM) since it will automatically set up an LVM group for us on the whole disk. Again, you are free to choose your preferred method. Press Continue to proceed.
debian partitioning method
  1. Select the disk you want to partition. Then press Continue.
debian disk partition
  1. Now you must choose a partitioning scheme. If you’re a beginner, we recommend you go with the first option. That’s what we’ll choose as well. Keeping all files in one partition is rather simple than separating partitions. This also prevents potential data loss. Now press Continue.
debian partitioning scheme
  1. Select Yes to confirm the disk changes. After that, press Continue.
debian write changes to disk
  1. Choose a disk size for the partitioning. You can choose the whole disk space or a small percentage of it. We’ll use the whole disk. Once done, press Continue.
debian volume group for partitioning
  1. After that, read all the changes you’re committing to the disks. If everything looks okay, select Yes and press Continue.
debian write changes to disk
  1. This should start the base system installation process. Wait for the installation to be over.
debian installing base system
  1. In the next step, you’re asked to select any additional media you have, In our case, we don’t. If you don’t have any either, select No and press Continue.
debian scan extra installation media
  1. Now you must select a location for all the Debian mirror archives. Select your preferred country or select the enter information manually option. Once selected, proceed by pressing Continue.
debian archive mirror country
  1. Then select a Debian archive mirror. If you’re not sure which one to choose, just choose and press Continue.
debian archive mirror
  1. If you have an HTTP proxy, you can enter that. Else, skip this step by pressing Continue.
debian http proxy information
  1. You should see that the installer is configuring the package manager. Wait until it’s finished.
debian configure package manager
  1. The next window will ask you to participate in the package usage survey. If you don’t prefer to do so, select No and press Continue.
debian package usage survey
  1. In this step, you need to select the Desktop Environment you want for your Debian system. Select your preferred DE. We’ll proceed with GNOME. After selecting, press Continue.
debian desktop environment
  1. This will start the software installation proceed. It may take a while, so wait patiently.
debian install software
  1. Once all the software is installed, you’ll be asked to use the GRUB bootloader. To install it, select Yes and then press Continue.
debian install grub bootloader
  1. Next, you need to choose a device for the GRUB bootloader. You may enter the device manually. We’ll choose the partition we created earlier. After you’ve selected your device, press Continue.
debian install grub bootloader
  1. This will start the process of finishing the installation.
debian finishing installation
  1. After a few moments, the installation process should finish and you should see the below screen. To reboot into the newly installed Debian system, press Continue.
debian finishing installation
  1. When you reboot into Debian, you should see the GRUB bootloader screen. Select Debian GNU/Linux and press the Enter button.
boot debian
  1. After booting into Debian, you should see the login screen, as seen in the below screenshot. Enter your password to proceed.
debian login screen
  1. Lastly, you should be welcomed to the Debian 12 home screen.
debian homepage

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully installed Debian 12 (Bookworm). You can start configuring it to make it your own or explore other Debian features that interest you. You may also go through our Debian-related guides to get a good grasp on it.

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