The document will show you the step-by-step installation process of Debian 10 on Virtual Box. Virtual box is greatly recommended for IT users, students, and even professionals who have to work on multiple operating systems at once. Instead of installing different operating systems on your machine according to work requirements which involve complex setup process, frequent restarting of PC, data overwriting, and infected disk space. Therefore it is highly recommended to have Virtual Box Software in your machines that enables to you create as many VMs as you want according to work/task specifications.

Debian 10 is Linux operating system distribution, which is free and open-source software. Also, Debian 10 has further extended versions of it.

Prerequisites for installing Debian on Virtual Box

For installing Debian 10, you need to complete the following prerequisites of the process:

  • Internet connectivity.
  • Installed Virtual Box version 6.1.12 on your machine.
  • At least 8GB of RAM on your machine.
  • At least 20GB of free disk space on your machine.

Installing Debian

For installing Debian 10 on Virtual Box version 6.1.12, you need to follow the following steps in order:

Step 01: Open the Oracle VM Virtual Box software

After opening the Virtual Box, go to the top left corner and click on the new button to create a new VM, as shown in the below image.

Step 02: Enter the VM name and the required version

  • Whenever you create a new VM, choose a relevant and significant name for it. Since this guide is for installing Debian 10 on Virtual Box 6.1.12, that is why I write Debian 10 in the name field, the user can choose or keep any name of his/her choice (look at the highlighted first column in the image attached below). Let’s suppose, if the user is creating the VM for Debian version 10.5, he/she can keep the name as Debian10.5 too, depending upon his/her choice.
  • As Debian 10 is Linux operating system distribution, make sure the “Type” is set automatically to Linux as you enter the VM name in the name field as highlighted in the third column in the below image.
  • In the version field, two versions are given for 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. With the 32-bit version, the user will be able to set the RAM/Memory size for his VM limited to 4GB. Whereas, with the 64-bit version, the user can be able to set up 16 Exa-Bytes of RAM/Memory size for his VM. The user can choose anyone of both concerning his system specifications. In the particular case, I am going to choose the 64-bit in the version field as highlighted in the fourth column of the attached image.
  • Click Next.

Step 03: Set the memory size/RAM

  • For creating a virtual machine, the upper limit of memory size is 16384MB(16.384GB) and the lower limit is 4MB(0.004 GB). The user can select any memory size in this range keeping in mind his system specifications ( precisely his system RAM size).
  • For this particular guide, I am setting the memory size as 4096 MB.
  • After setting the memory size, click the Next button.

Step 04: Create hard disk for VM

Mark the second option: create virtual hard disk now and click the Create button, for creating a virtual hard disk for Debian 10.

Step 05: Set hard disk file type

Mark the first option VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) and click the Next button. It will set the hard disk file type as VDI.

Step 06: Set the storage type for the hard disk

Mark the option named as fixed size and click the Next button.

Step 07: Select the file location and size for VM hard disk

  • To avoid the exhaustive file and data searching later. Keep the default file location, though you can change the file location as per your desire.
  • For creating a virtual machine, the upper limit of size for a virtual hard disk file is 20TB. and the lower limit is 4MB. The user can select any file size in this range keeping in mind the prerequisite for a particular installation i.e there should be at least 20GB of free disk space on his machine.
  • For this particular guide, I am setting the memory size as 20GB(20,000MB) according to free hard disk space on my system.
  • After setting the hard disk file size, click the Create button.

Clicking the create button, will start creating the fixed medium storage unit, as shown in the below image.

Step 08: Add the ISO file for Debian 10

Before moving ahead, first, you need to download Debian 10 ISO Image. You can download it from its official website https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/current-live/amd64/iso-hybrid/. From this website, you can download ISO image with concern to your Desktop environment (cinnamon, gnome, KDE, and more). In this documentation, I will prefer cinnamon. Click on the link for downloading the ISO file for cinnamon as highlighted in the below image.

After creating the virtual hard disk for VM:

  • Go to the left corner.
  • Click the right button on the Debian10 field.
  • Click the settings button.

After going into the settings:

  • Click the Storage on the left side.
  • Select Empty under the Storage Devices field.

Storage Devices –> Controller: IDE –> Empty

  • Click on the CD/DVD icon and select Choose/Create a Virtual Optical Disk.
  • Click Ok.

Clicking the Ok button will show a Dialogue box. Follow the following bullets highlighted in the below-attached images as well:

  • Click on the Add button.

  • Select the Debian 10 ISO file from your downloads and click on the Open button.

  • Select the ISO file for Debian 10 and click on the Choose button.

Performing the above steps, it will add the Debian 10 ISO file under the storage devices. This is shown highlighted in the below image.

Step 09: Installing the new VM

Once you have done with all of the above-mentioned steps, you can now install the new VM. For doing so, follow the following bullet points:

  • Click on the Start button as shown highlighted in the below image.

  • Click on the first option of the Main Menu.

It will take you to the following screen:

  • Click on the install Debian button.

  • Set American English as your default installation language and click the Next button.

  • Select your current location and click on the Next button.

  • Select the keyboard layout of your choice and click the Next button.

  • Tick mark the “erase disk” option and click the Next button.

Step 10: Setting up User Account

After getting done with the above steps, it will now take you to the next tab named Users for setting your account. Look at the highlighted parts of the attached image below for setting up the account.

  • Set username.
  • Set password.
  • Confirm password.
  • Click on the Next button.

The next tab named “Summary” will give an overall preview of all your selected fields and choices, along with the options of Back, Install and Cancel in the bottom right corner.

  • Click on the Install button.

After clicking on the install, the installation process will begin and usually takes some time.

Once it has done, it will take you to the last tab named Finish and you will be required to restart your VM. Tick the Restart Now and then click the Done button as highlighted in the below image and your VM will be restarted. You can now able to work on your new VM.

Conclusion

This document will guide the professional as well as naïve users through the whole step by step process for an easy and steady way of installing Debian on Virtual Box version, showing everything highlighted in the attached images for your convenience.

How to Install Debian on Virtual Box

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn