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How to install Debian from USB drive

I’ve come across multiple ways of doing it but so far the best way is the following (I assume you are on i386 platform and you have access to the net):
1. Download boot.img.gz from Debian website
2. Download the net-install image choosing i386.
3. Plug your USB drive into a Linux PC, open the shell and type

$ dmesg

Last few lines should be like the following:

 sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
 sd 8:0:0:0: [sdb] 4030464 512-byte logical blocks: (2.06 GB/1.92 GiB)
 sd 8:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off

Now we know it has been mapped as sdb

4. Use zcat to load the boot.img.gz onto your USB drive

# zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/sdb

CAUTION!!! this will destroy the entire data on the USB drive, make sure you have done the backup.
If you get an error ensure the following:
– You are root (don’t use sudo)
– The USB drive it’s not mounted, if it is umount it before issuing the above command.

5. Now mount the USB drive and copy the net-inst.iso image on it.

All done! Now plug it into the box you want to setup and enjoy the old fashion Debian installer 🙂

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