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How to install Debian Linux on VMWare Server

Stuff you need to install a virtual machine is as follows:

  • This tutorial is strictly for the installation of a computer running VMWare Server, go ahead and download and install VMWare Server. I used Server version because I like to have mulitiple virtual machines.
  • A preinstalled version of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.
  • The latest version of Debian Linux. You can find a copy over at DistroWatch
  • Once you have installed VMWare Server follow the instructions below to install your new Debian virtual machine.
  • Click on Create Virtual Machine as illustrated in the diagram below.

create virtual machine

  • Next, give your virtual machine a name: For example we are installing Debian, name the virtual machine Debian and then click Next
  • Next select which operating system you are going to be installing on your virtual machine and then click Next
  • In the memory and processors box select the configuration you would like. For example I selected 1024MB of RAM and 1 processors. When you are finished click Next
  • In the hard disk properties window select how much of your hard drive you would like to use for the virtual machine. I selected 20GB for the install, you may have to select a lower amount depending on how much room you have left on your partition. A full install of Debian will be around the 8GB mark. Navigate to My Computer and check how much hard disk space you have left and choose accordingly. When finished click on Next
  • In the network adapter window select Add A Network Adapter and when finished click Next
  • In the network properties window select Bridged and place a checkmark in the connect at power on box. When finished click Next
  • In the CD/DVD drive window select which option you like and click Next I selected CDROM because my install image was on a DVD. If your install image is on a hard drive in ISO format then go ahead and select Use an ISO image
  • In the next properties window select which drive letter is associated with your CD/DVD for ex: D:\ and place a checkmark in the box labelled Connect at Power on and then click Next
  • In the floppy drive window select Do not add a floppy drive and select Next. If you want to add a floppy drive then choose the approprite answer, why you would want to is beyond me.
  • In the USB controller window select add a USB controller and then click on Next
  • In the ready to complete window do the following:
  • Insert your operating system install disk in your CD/DVD drive and then click on Power on your new virtual machine now and then click Finish as illustrated in the diagram below.

finish creating virtual machine

Note: If you are running Firefox 3.6 or later you will get a message stating Cannot access virtual machine console. The request timed out, this is a new issue with firefox that needs to be addressed, at the time of this article it had not been addressed yet. A simple workaround would be to use Internet Explorer to launch your virtual machine or install a version of Firefox lower than version 3.6.

Once your virtual machine is launched you should be greeted with the install Debian screen as illustrated in the diagram below.

create virtual machine

  • To install Debian use your arrow keys to select Graphical Install and then press enter on your keyboard.
  • In the next window select which language you will be using and then click Continue
  • In the next window select your location and then click Continue
  • Next, choose your keyboard configuration and then click Continue
  • The install process will now scan your CD and add hardware. If you are asked about your network configuration go ahead and select continue without and then click Continue.
  • In the next window select up to 3 name servers to use, separate the name servers with a space and then click Continue. If you don't know your name servers navigate to a command prompt on your windows box and do an ipconfig /all and note the 3 name servers you are using. When finished entering your name servers click on Continue
  • In the next window you will be asked to enter a hostname for your new machine. I chose debianbox as my host name, choose anything you want and then click Continue
  • In the next window type in your domain name and then click Continue. For example I chose seowebz.
  • In the next window you will be asked to enter a password for the root account. I strongly suggest using a secure password. You can view my article on how to create secure passwords for further information. When you are finished click on Continue
  • In the next window you will be asked to create a user account. This account will be used as the main account you login to so choose something appropriate and then click Continue
  • In the next screen confirm your new account and then click Continue
  • Next, give your new account a secure password and then click Continue
  • In the next window select your time zone and then click Continue
  • In the partition window select Guided - use entire disk and setup LVM and then click Continue
  • In the next window click Continue
  • In the next window select Separate /home, /usr, /var, and /tmp partitons and then click Continue
  • In the next window select Yes to write the changes to disk and then click Continue
  • Next, in the disk partitioning confirmation box accept the changes by clicking Continue as illustrated in the diagram below.

debian disk partitioning

  • In the next window select Yes to write the changes to disk and then select Continue
  • The install process will now create your partition selections and format the drives accordingly. Then the install process will begin.
  • If you have all 8 Debian DVD's choose Yes to scan another disk and then click Continue, continue scanning the disks until you are finished and then click Continue when prompted. If you do not have all 8 discs do not worry about it, this step can safely be skipped by choosing No
  • In the next screen you will be prompted to insert disc 1 back into the dvd drive if you chose to scan all the disks. Insert the disk and then click Continue
  • Debain will now continue with the installation, you may be asked to insert disc 2 etc as the process continues.
  • In the next window you will be asked if you would like to participate in the popularity contest about the most used packages. Choose yes or no and then click Continue
  • In the software selection window select your options and then click Continue as illustrated in the diagram below.

debian software selection

The installation process will now continue with the selections you made. This may take quite a while depending on the software you chose to install. Good time to refresh that coffee sitting on your desk.

  • During the install process you may be asked to insert different DVD's depending on your choices of software to install, go ahead and insert the appropriate disc and click Continue
  • In the next screen you will be asked where to install the GRUB boot loader, choose the MBR and then click Continue
  • The install is now finished. remove your install DVD and then select Continue to reboot the machine. Upon reboot you should see the login screen as illustrated in the diagram below. Choose your username and enter your password to login to the system.

debian login screen

You are now finished congratulations on installing a Debian virtual machine.