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Getting to the Command-Line

Good day, and welcome to Getting to the Command Line!  In this page, we will show you how to create a Virtual Machine (VM) and start the install of Linux into the VM.  Once you have completed the install, you will boot into your new Linux system, and log in via the command-line.

The first thing we need to do, is to open the VirtualBox tool.  Please do that now, and you should see something similar to the following:

01. New Virtual Machine.JPG

You can see here that I already have a VM.  The VM listed is my production VM, and the linux instance I am currently using most often.  Click 'New' as indicated by the red circle.  The next screen is where we can name our VM, and also choose what type of OS we will be installing.

02. Name and Operating System.JPG

The popup box will ask you to name your virtual machine, and choose the type of operating system install as well as the version .  Since this command-line VM can be cloned, and used in many different ways once complete, you may choose to just name it as I did, so you can clone it, and re-use it in the future.  This will allow you to avoid this set of steps if you need to get quickly up and running with Command-Line linux.  For this tutorial, also choose the same type and version as listed.  We will be using a minimal network install version of Debian Linux, which we will walk you through getting further down in this tutorial.  Once you have entered appropriate values, press Next.

03. Memory Size.JPG

Here we can choose the memory that we want allocated to the machine when it is in use.  The recommended values are calculated by the type and version of the OS that was chosen in the previous step.  These are recommended values based on experiences that have been reported to the VirtualBox team.  These are usually okay to proceed with.  Since my machine has 8GB of ram though, and I tend to use the VMs quite often, I usually raise this number.  Here you will see that I place it at 2GB.  This is 1/4 of my available memory, and leaves me plenty for Windows, as well as Linux.  This number can be changed later, so there are no worries if you choose my value, or the default.  Set the value, and then click Next

04. Hard Disk.JPG

This is where you are going to create your virtual hard drive that the system will exist on.  You can change the size of the disk in a later step.  Right now, since this is a new system, choose Create, and press the Create button.

05. Hard Disk Type.JPG

Next we can choose the type of virtual hard disk we need to create.  If you need it in another format for whatever reason, then go ahead and choose that format.  Otherwise, just choose the default VDI and choose the Next button.

06. Auto Allocate.JPG

Since my machine has good performance, I usually just choose the default of Dynamic here.  If your machine is slower, and you have the storage space available, you can squeeze a bit more performance out of the VM if you choose Fixed.  Press Next.

07. Hard Disk Filename.JPG


Now we are going to create the file for the virtual hard drive that the system will exist on.  I will usually just choose the default 8GB here, as that is usually enough to do everything I need to do.  Since I usually work out of the cloud, and save all of my information in Google or other cloud providers, the only thing I need on linux is configuration files, and any documents or images that I am actively working on.  The 8 is more than enough storage space for what I need.  If this turns out to be the process you are going to follow to build a replacement machine, then you can up this to whatever is needed.  Please set the size, and click Create.

08. Download Debian Minimal Install.JPG

Now that the VM container is created.  We need to download the install media that we will be using.  Please go to the following URL:  https://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/  Scroll down and choose either the amd or intel version, depending on your machine.  Once downloaded, make a note of where the file is saved, because we are going to need it for the next step.

09. Choose Install Image 01.JPG

Click where the Optical Drive section is, and it will allow you to choose which image will be loaded into the virtual CD drive.  

10. Choose Disk Image.JPG

Since I have used multiple images with VirtualBox, they will be listed in the menu, since you have not done this yet, you will Choose disk image.  It will create a popup window that will allow you to search your machine and choose the image you just downloaded.  Do that now.

11. Disk Image Chosen.JPG

You can see that the image you chose is now listed in the virtual CD Drive.  

12. Start Virtual Machine.JPG

You can now start the VM by highlighting the Command-Line VM in the list on the left, and clicking Start.

13. Two Windows Open.JPG

At this point, a second window will open.  This is your running VM window.  You can minimize or close the VirtualBox main window at this point.  We do not need both windows open.

14. Select Startup Disk.JPG

You will now see the Select start-up disk window.  Since there is no operating system installed yet, the VM is asking how it can continue.  Click the drop-down box.

15. Select Startup Disk - Net Install.JPG

Select the image that you have downloaded from the list that appears.  The VM will now boot using that image.

16. Graphical Install.JPG



17. Choose English.JPG



18. Choose Location.JPG



19. Choose Keyboard.JPG



20. Processing some non-interactive items.JPG



21. Enter Hostname.JPG



22. Enter domain name.JPG



23. Enter root password.JPG



24. Enter User Account Name.JPG



25. Enter Username.JPG



26. Choose User Password.JPG



27. Choose Timezone.JPG



28. Partitioning.JPG



29. Choose Disk.JPG



30. Partitioning - All in one volume.JPG



31. Partitioning - write changes.JPG



32. Partitioning - write changes - verify.JPG


33. Partitioning - loading base system.JPG


34. Configure the Package Manager.JPG


35. Package Manager - Mirror.JPG


36. Proxy.JPG


39. More unattended operations.JPG


40. Popularity Contest.JPG


41. More unattended operations.JPG


42. Software Selection.JPG


43. More unattended operations.JPG


44. GRUB MBR.JPG


45. GRUB Disk.JPG


46. GRUB Disk.JPG




47. Boot Screen.JPG


48. Login Screen.JPG


49. Enter Password.JPG


50. Logged In.JPG




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