Debian 11, codenamed bullseye, is the latest long-term support release (LTS) that is released after a development period of over two years. Debian 11 comes with the kernel version 5.10 LTS. Over 70% of the packages in Debian repositories are updated to newer versions compared to its previous version buster. To know more about the Debian 11 features you can take a look at the release notes. This step by step guide walks you through the steps to download the latest Debian edition, and create Debian 11 bootable medium and finally how to install Debian 11 bullseye with screenshots.
Heads Up: If you already have Debian 10, you can easily upgrade to Debian 11 Bullseye as shown in the guide given below.
Download Debian 11 ISO image
There are three types of Debian images available.
- Netinstall (small installation image) - You need internet connection to install this image.
- Cloud images - You can use this images to deploy debian in various cloud platforms such as OpenStack, Amazon EC2, and Microsoft Azure.
- Complete installation image - This is probably what you want to setup a full-fledged Debian desktop or server in a bare metal system.
Go to the official download page and download the Debian 11 iso image according to your machine architecture.
If you are going to install Debian 11 in bare metal, you should create a bootable DVD or drive. The following section lists various methods and tools to create a bootable Linux USB drive.
Create Debian 11 bootable medium
After downloading the Debian 11 ISO image, you need to create bootable USB medium. There are many bootable USB creation tools exists to create a bootable USB medium
You can choose any one of the following tools to create Debian 11 bullseye bootable USB.
Command line bootable USB creation tools:
- How To Create Multiboot USB Drives With Ventoy In Linux
- How To Create Bootable USB Drive Using dd Command
- Bootiso Lets You Safely Create Bootable USB Drive In Linux
Graphical bootable USB creation tools:
- Create Bootable USB Drive With Ventoy WebUI In Linux
- Create Bootable USB Drives And SD Cards With Etcher In Linux
- Popsicle – Create Multiple Bootable USB Drives At Once
- Create Bootable USB Drive With USBImager In Linux
- Kindd – A Graphical Frontend To dd Command
If you wish to install and test Debian in any hypervisor (Virtualbox, KVM, Vmware), just skip the media creation and boot up the ISO image.
Debian 11 installation step by step
Make sure you have set USB as your first bootable device in your system's BIOS. Boot your system with the newly created Debian 11 bootable media and follow the below steps to install Debian 11 bullseye.
STEP 1 - Choose install type
From the Debian installer menu, select "Graphical Install" to start the Debian installation process.
STEP 2 - Select language
Choose the language which will be used for both installation and system language.
STEP 3 - Select location
Choose your location and accordingly your time zone will be set.
STEP 4 - Configure keyboard
Select the keyboard layout and press Continue.
Installer components will be loaded from the disk before going to the next step.
STEP 5 - Configure network
This is a network setting where you will be setting up the hostname for your machine.
When you press continue it will prompt you for the domain name like example.com. Provide the domain name according to your environment. Since this is a test machine, I am not giving any domain name. Press Continue to proceed.
STEP 6 - Setup root password
In this step, set up the password for the root account. Create a strong password for the root account.
STEP 7 - Create new user
Using root user for all activities is not a best practice. Root should only be used when you do system-related activities and activities that require elevated privileges. So in this step, you create a new user that can be used instead of root.
Enter the password for the user account created in the previous step.
STEP 8 - Partition disks
In this step, you have to decide how you will partition your disks. There are four options to choose from.
- Guided Partition - Use entire disk.
- Guided Partition - Use entire disk and set up LVM.
- Guided Partition - Use entire disk and set up encrypted LVM.
- Manual partitioning.
If you want the system to take care of partitions, you can choose  where the entire disk will be used. For LVM, you can choose  and for encrypted LVM, choose . If you want to set up everything on your own choose manual partitioning .
Here I am choosing the manual installation method. Choose the drive and press Continue.
In the next window, it will show you options to choose the drive and create a new partition.
Select create new partition and press continue.
Give the size for the partition in this step.
Choose the partition type (E.g. Primary, Logical) and press Continue.
Choose the file system type, mount point, and press "Done setting up the partition".
Similarly, create other partitions, and once all the partitions are created, you will see the partition table. Before saving the changes to the disk, you can edit the partitions if you wish.
In the next window, it will ask to write the changes to the disk. Click "Yes" and press "Continue".
The Debian 11 bullseye installation will begin now.
STEP 9 - Configure package manager
After a few minutes, it will prompt you to scan additional media. This additional media scan is for the use of the package manager (apt). Normally you will not have additional media other than the iso image you booted up. So press "No" and proceed to the next step.
In this step, it will prompt to configure the network mirror. Configuring network mirrors will make sure the latest packages are installed using the Internet even though there are a wide set of packages that ship with the installation media (ISO). If you have an internet connection, choose "Yes". If you don't have internet, choose "No".
If you selected "Yes" in the previous step, it will prompt you to select the nearby mirror from the list of countries.
As suggested by the installer, choose deb.debian.org mirror and press Continue.
If your machine is configured to access the Internet through proxy, enter the proxy information. If you do not have a proxy, leave it blank and press Continue.
STEP 10 - Configure popularity contest
In this step, it will ask you to participate in a popularity contest. If you choose "Yes", it will send package statistics to the developers weekly. Choose "Yes" if you wish to participate or "No" if you want to skip. You can also run the following command to change your choice later.
$ dpkg-reconfigure popularity-contest
STEP 11 - Software selection
In this step, choose the desktop environment. Each desktop environment comes with its own set of utilities. Here I am Installing XFCE as my desktop environment.
Once you press Continue, the installer will start installing the desktop environment.
STEP 12 - Install GRUB
In this step it will prompt to install the GRUB boot loader in the primary drive. Choose "Yes" and press Continue.
Select the drive to install the boot loader.
Wait for some time while the installer installs the boot loader. In the next step, press Continue to finish the installation.
System will be rebooted and you will be prompted to login using the username and password you created during the installation.
Congratulation! You've successfully installed Debian 11 bullseye with XFCE desktop environment.
You can check the installed version of Debian by running the following command.
$ cat /etc/os-release
In this guide, we discussed the step-by-step Installation instructions of Debian 11 bullseye. Compared to other Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, the Debian 11 installation is different and may be complicated if this is your first Linux distribution. However, once you setup Debian 11, it is rock-solid and stable than any other Linux distribution.