CdRom is not detected in Debian installer

When playing with different linux distributions I am using unetbootin tool to “flash” linux iso file on a USB flash drive, so I can boot from USB flash drive and avoid burning real CD or DVD disk.

This way it is cheaper & faster. However, recently I noticed that the latest Debian isos (6.0.3) are not working properly with unetbootin: during installation the installer complains that it cannot detect CdRom. And so it fails.

However, there is a workaround. Once installer complains about absence of CdRom, it shows you a screen of options where you can select “Execute shell” option. You can pick-up this options and perform the actual mount in shell window:

 # mount -t vfat /dev/sdb /cdrom

In this particular scenario /dev/sdb is my flash drive which is “flashed” with debian-6.0.3-amd64-CD-1.iso. The device /dev/sdb may be different for you, so pay attention to this.

After you successfully mounted /dev/sdb to /cdrom hit exit and retry again the “Detect CdRom task” in installer. It should work this time. So, do everything as usual – configure disk layout, specify passwords for root and users, etc and let it go.

For me it went well and installed base system, however it failed at “configuration of packages” task. Trying to re-mount disk did not help, so I choose to install GRUB and let the installer finish the job without actually installing the rest packages.

In the end installer asks you to reboot, and when you reboot you see a fancy command line prompt and absolutely no indication of kde or gnome desktop. Well, this is fixable 🙂

At this point, once you have base system, you can just configure apt to point to regional servers and install the require packages from command line. This way it is more fun 🙂

So, the file of interest is /etc/apt/sources.list – it tells apt where to get packages from. Because your installer did not work properly, most likely the sources.list file will just contain a reference to CdRom, which is not what we want.

You can generate a default debian sources.list file for your regional servers using http://debgen.simplylinux.ch/. Follow the form and specify the following details:

1. Select your country (for me it is Ukraine)

2. Select your release (for me it is squeeze stable)

3. Debian Branches (I use only main, i.e., free packages only)

4. Debian Updates (select all items)

Click “Generate list” button and it will generate your list which looks like this for me:

#############################################################
################### OFFICIAL DEBIAN REPOS ###################
#############################################################

###### Debian Main Repos
deb http://ftp.ua.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main 
deb-src http://ftp.ua.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main 

###### Debian Update Repos
deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main 
deb http://ftp.ua.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-proposed-updates main 
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main 
deb-src http://ftp.ua.debian.org/debian/ squeeze-proposed-updates main

Now, store this data in /etc/apt/sources.list file and perform the apt-get update in shell:

sudo apt-get update

Now you your apt knows where to get packages from and it’s time to install kde desktop:

sudo aptitude install kde-desktop

It will take a while to download packages and install them. After everything is finished, reboot machine and login to your KDE 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Same thing happened to me, and it turned out the way it did for you aswell. However, I had problem with WiFi connections to get things running and perhaps lack of linux knowledge.

    I was using the 32-bit version, always CD-rom problem or could not install GRUB. I switched USB-stick and to 64-bit version, did a text-install and it now worked without a problem, just like magic. Maybe helps someone else.

  2. I’m Glad to see your message – I’m an ethnic ukrainian (in fact – only half), but living in russia for 20 years. I arrived here, when I was 10 with my parents. I absolutely support ukrainian people with their resistance. I’m sorry – I’m from russia and i used my own proxy in germany to read your post about installing debian, after I saw you message about biolation of human rights bu russia. Anyway, I’m really glad to know, that IT-community also not indifferent to situation in Ukraine and support us, “the 5th column” in russia in us resistance against red-browny evil.

    • Hello Alex,

      Sorry that “my sanctions” has touched you :). Yes, I realize that if people really need, they can just use a proxy server to access my blog from Russia.

      I am happy to see that there are different opinions in Russia regarding Ukraine. I realize that politics is what separates us and I hope that in the future the relations between two countries will be really friendly since we are a brother countries.

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