How to download and install Debian 8.7.1 to Parallels Desktop.

Updated 28/05/17

Linux has several distributions with different flavours such as Kali, Red hat, Ubuntu and Mint; nevertheless, most are based on Debian.  Debian itself has different flavours, which means you can choose from one of the many exciting desktop environments.  Before any of this can take place Debian 8, stable edition, or higher will need to be installed.  

You will learn how to:
  • Choose the correct image
  • Check minimum hardware  
  • Download Debian
  • Install Debian
  • Install Parallels tools
  • Try out different interfaces

Step one

  • Choose the correct image 
  • Minimum hardware 
  • Download Debian

Choose the correct image for your architecture.

You have a choice of 64 bit or 32 bit.  If you are using a Mac, amd64 bit build will be fine.  The live image is best burnt to a CD or USB stick since it is used to check an operating system out first, but you will not need it for this tutorial.  However, you will still be able to install from the live CD/USB.   Since we are installing to a virtual machine, we do not need to worry about making a live CD/USB.  You will also see a choice of small and large images.  The Large image is in case you need to make a bootable USB or CD for offline installation; hence, has all the files you would need.  The smaller build is net-install, which means you can install the basic files to boot, but any extras will need to be installed via the internet.  In other words, the large image can be installed offline, while the smaller net-install will need an internet connection to complete.

Minimum hardware specification

It is always a good idea to check the minimum hardware requirements.  If you have a modern computer, however, you should be fine.  In Parallels you can adjust the number of processors and memory the virtual machine has.

If you have a Mac and are still confused, I suggest you download the amd64 bit net-install iso.
If you want to make a bootable USB drive, download UNetbootin and follow the instructions here.

Download Debian

The video below in step two will show you how to download and install Debian 8 onto Parallels desktop with a Mac as the host machine.

Step two

  • Install Debian
  • Install Parallels tools

Install Debian

  1. Open Parallels
  2. Select File > New or click on the + at the top of the control centre in the right hand corner.
  3. Select ‘Install from DVD or img file’.
  4. Select the iso from the menu and click ‘Continue’.
  5. Give it a name.
  6. Select install
Watch the video for full installation instructions.  Don’t worry about the partitioning part I will walk you through it step by step.  
The partitions are:
  • / (this is the root and will need a boot flag.  You can give it about 10GB - 20GB and put it at the beginning)
  • / home (this is the home partition where you will store your personal files and applications/programs and is the largest filling the space left over)
  • swap area (this needs to be a little bigger than the double the amount of RAM you have installed, so if you have 2 GB of RAM, give the swap area 4.5 GB of space.  It is good to put this partition at the end) 
The partitioning is easier than you may think and is explained in the video.

Install parallels tools

Once you have installed Debian, you will need to install parallels tool unless you installed it to a blank or partitioned  HDD.

Step three

Install different desktop environments

  • For this you will need to use the search bar and locate the synaptic package manager. 
  • Use the managers search bar to locate the environment you want
  • The choices of environment are:
    • Gnome
    • Mate
    • Gnome 3
    • Cinnamon
    • KDE plasma
    • xfce
    • lxde 
  • Select the desktop environment you want and click apply 
  • When complete, log out and then select the newly install desktop from the cog at log in and log in. 
Please bare in mind KDE is a hungry beast!  Cinnamon, Mate, xfce and lxde are lightweight meaning they will not use lots of memory and slow an older computer down.

If you have comment, please leave it in the section below.  You can also find me on twitter.  Hope you enjoyed the post.


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