install debian on windows

How to Install Debian on Windows?

This guide explores two compelling methods to install Debian on Windows system. Whether you prefer the streamlined approach of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) or the classic experience of dual booting, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to navigate the installation process with confidence.

Prerequisites to install Debian alongside Windows

Method1: Using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

This method leverages a built-in feature in Windows 10 and 11 that allows you to run Linux distributions alongside Windows applications. Here’s how to do it:

Enable WSL

  1. Open the Windows search bar and type “Turn Windows features on or off.”
  2. Locate “Windows Subsystem for Linux” and check the box. Click “OK” and restart your system when prompted.

Install Debian from the Microsoft Store

  1. Open the Microsoft Store and search for “Debian.”
  2. Install the “Debian” app. Upon launch, you’ll be prompted to create a username and password for your new Debian environment.

Method2: Dual Booting Debian and Windows

This method creates a dedicated partition on your hard drive for Debian, allowing you to choose between Windows and Debian at boot time.

It’s a more involved process, but offers a more traditional Linux experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide for dual booting:

1. Before you begin:

Backup your important data

Dual booting involves modifying your hard drive partitions, so backing up crucial information is essential.

Create a bootable USB drive

Download the latest Debian ISO image from the official website and use a tool like Rufus to create a bootable USB drive.

Allocate disk space

Decide how much space you want to allocate to Debian and shrink your existing Windows partition using the built-in Disk Management tool.

2. The installation process:

Boot from the USB drive

Restart your computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI setup menu (usually by pressing a key like F2 or Delete during startup). Change the boot order to prioritize the USB drive.

Start the Debian installer

The installer will guide you through the process. Choose your preferred language, keyboard layout, and network configuration.


Select “Manual partitioning” and create separate partitions for your root directory (/), swap space (recommended for hibernation), and optionally, a separate home directory (/home).

Install the base system

Choose the base system components you want to install. The desktop environment (e.g., GNOME, KDE) can be installed later.

Configure a user account

Create a username and a strong password for your new Debian installation.

Bootloader configuration

The installer will typically detect your existing Windows installation and configure the bootloader accordingly. Choose to install the bootloader to the main boot record of your hard drive.

Complete the installation

Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the installation process.

3. Once the installation is complete:

Reboot your system

You’ll be presented with a boot menu where you can choose between Windows and Debian.

Configure your desktop environment (optional)

If you didn’t install a desktop environment during the initial installation, you can do so now using the tasksel command.


By following these steps, you’ll have Debian up and running on your Windows system. Remember, the dual booting method requires more technical expertise, so proceed with caution and thorough research if you’re new to partitioning and installing operating systems.

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