PDF English version of this tutorial.

The goal of this tutorial is to explain the prerequisites, the means and the procedures for smoothly installing the GNU/Linux Emmabuntüs DE (Debian Edition) 5 distribution, which is specifically designed for the re-use of computers. Thus, you will be able to use your hardware equipment longer, by migrating serenely from Windows to Linux.



Emmabuntüs is a GNU/Linux distribution. This project was launched in the year 2011 by the Emmabuntüs Collective. It is a comprehensive work-and-leisure-station ready for immediate use, designed to dramatically simplify the task of refurbishing the used computers given to the Emmaüs and other humanitarian communities, as well as to ease the GNU/Linux discovery by the beginners, and to extend the life of the hardware.

This tutorial explain how to install Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5, which is based on Debian Bookworm and the XFCE/LXQt desktop environments.

We suggest to the beginners that, before performing the migration to a GNU/Linux distribution, they read this introduction to a Linux migration, as well as The Debian Bookworm beginner’s handbook (aka Debian without headaches).


The following prerequisites are mandatory in order to properly initiate the installation :

  • The hardware configuration should feature a 2.0 GHz processor, a disk drive with 40GB of free space and at least 1024 MB of RAM.
  • Download the 4 GB ISO image from the web page dedicated to Downloads.
  • Check the MD5SUM of this ISO file.
  • Transfer this ISO file on a DVD, using the “Burn Image” function of your favorite CD/DVD burning software.
  • Alternatively, you can transfer this ISO file on a bootable USB flash drive. This is the preferred solution because of its speed during the installation phase. See Chapter 6 for more explanations.

It’s also a good idea to try it out in “live mode” to make sure there are no compatibility problems (1 GB RAM is recommended for a live DVD or live USB session).

Since Emmabuntüs DE 3, you can easily install Emmabuntüs by starting a session in “Live” mode, then using the Calamares tool on the desktop.

For a video presentation of New Features in Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 4, click here.

Installing Emmabuntüs

Before installing a new operating system on a computer, we recommend you first test it in “Live” mode, using a USB stick. See chapter 6 on how to create a bootable Live-USB flash drive.

Insert the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5 DVD into your drive or the equivalent Live-USB stick into a USB port and restart your computer.

Starting up

But beware: your computer’s BIOS must be configured to boot from either a DVD or a USB stick, depending on your choice. On some computers, one of the F8, F9 or F10 keys is used to select the boot device. For more information, we recommend you read the dedicated boot pages on the Debian and Ubuntu websites.

Choose your language for installing Emmabuntüs DE 5 using the navigation arrows :

After pressing Enter, the next screen gives you several choices, either to test or to install this version of Emmabuntüs.

If you prefer the direct, classic Debian installation, select the line Install Emmabuntüs (Classic installation) and go directly to section #3.3 of this document.

In this section, however, we’re going to use a live session and the Calamares tool to install the new system.

So first click on the line Try without installing, or install with Calamares, then press Enter:

The Live session will first be installed, and then you can launch Calamares

The Calamares Installer

When the live session is up and running double-click on the Calamares icon located on the Emmabuntüs desktop :

This will launch a window for selecting the Calamares installation mode, either in the classic Calamares mode (see following chapters), or in OEM mode (see chapter Installing in “OEM” mode in section #3.2.8).

Language selection

So, in this section, we’ve chosen Classic Installation mode, and within the installer welcome window you have the opportunity to change the application and system language :

Click on the drop-down menu arrow to select the new language, then click Next.

Location setting

You can click on the map to choose your city. Alternatively, you can choose your region and zone, using the drop-down menus:

Keyboard setting

If the default keyboard is not the correct one, select the language and keyboard model from the two lists.


There are many possible scenarios, but the simplest is to replace an entire partition with the Emmabuntüs DE 5 system. Just click on the partition concerned:

If you’re a beginner, we strongly advise you to select the Erase disk option, which will automatically perform an assisted partitioning using your entire disk.

Calamares visualizes the situation before and after partitioning, so you can be sure you haven’t made a mistake.

User setting

As usual in this window, you need to fill in your full name, your login, the name you want to give your computer, your password (twice, for security), and finally we recommend you check the options for logging in without a password and using the same password for the administrator account.

Operation summary

The next screen shows a nice summary of the operations to come, and allows you to go back, or even cancel the Calamares installation completely and return to the live session.

System installation

Before actually starting the installation you are asked to confirm :

As the installation unfolds, a slide show informs you about the specifics of Emmabuntüs

as well as the various actions carried out by the Emmabuntüs collective and the friendly associations with which it regularly collaborates.

When installation is complete, leave the Restart now option ticked, and click on Done to restart the system.

Installation in “OEM” mode

The installation in “OEM” mode allows you to pre-configure a computer without finalizing its installation, so that the future user of this system can personalize it on first start-up by choosing: language, keyboard, geographical location, computer name, user full name, login name and password.

This installation mode is particularly interesting during “Installfests“, or when selling computers to associations or companies refurbishing used computers.

Calamares installation in OEM mode is nothing more than a classic Calamares installation divided into two stages:

  • First launch of Calamares for a pre-installation of the computer, which will carry out the partitioning of the computer and the installation of the system, as well as the creation of the OEM account. This installation behaves like the classic Calamares installation, except that the “oem” account is created by default, with the password “oem”;

  • A post-installation of the machine using the “oem” account, and including a possible customization of the system.
  • And finally, the Calamares icon on the desktop is used to launch the finalization process for the end user.

    The new window below allows you to copy all the customization made on the “oem” account to the end user, as well as to add the name of your association to identify the equipment;

If you also copy the OEM post-installation configuration, this step will be skipped when creating the end-user account, which will directly inherit the complete OEM configuration.

  • The end-users finalize the installation by launching Calamares for the second time in automatic mode, so that they can customize the system and define their user name and associated password. This installation behaves like the classic Calamares installation, except that there is no need to partition the computer, since this has already been done during the first Calamares launch, and the system is already installed on the computer’s disk.

Debian classic installation

After the boot you select your language :

and then the installation type : Install Emmabuntus in graphic mode

Language to use

The first screen let you select the language to be used during the installation process :

In all the following graphical installation screens, after selecting a line or an option, you can validate it either by clicking on the Continue button (bottom right), or by pressing Enter on the keyboard, or by double-clicking directly on the line. To make this document easier to read, only the upper part of the following installation screens will be shown, and the verb Validate will correspond to one of these three equivalent actions.

Then the keyboard. Select your configuration and Validate :

and your geographical location :


The installation process looks for computer components and, if necessary, the ability to connect to the Internet. You can skip the Internet connection step and install without a connection. If you’re connected with an Ethernet cable, configuration will be automatic. However, if you have a WiFi card, you’ll be prompted to choose a connection and possibly accept a license. You’ll be asked for the machine’s host name (this will be the name visible to other machines).

and then the domain name, which is usually left blank:


Here, you are asked for the password of the root user (administrator). This password is optional. If you fill in these fields, administration rights will be reserved for the root user (for example when installing software or packages, upgrading or generally touching anything sensitive in the system).

You can also leave these fields empty, and then acquire administration rights using the sudo command associated with the user password you’ll create next.

Create your first user account. Here you must enter your full name:

then the login name for this account :

and finally your password (twice, for security

The clock

Depending on the country you selected at the start of the installation process, you may be asked to enter the time zone in which you reside.
For example, if you have selected Canada in the geographical location screen, you will be able to define precisely your time zone here:


This operation consists in defining and formatting the various partitions of your hard disk(s).

First and foremost, think about backing up all your important data : formatting a disk is a hazardous operation, and you might damage your precious data.

Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5 offers only certain partitioning options:

  • If your disk is empty, or if you want to totally remove the existing system, select the option “Guided – use entire disk

If you are a beginner, we strongly suggest that you select this “Guided – use entire disk” option, which will automatically use your whole disk capacity.

  • We also suggest you ignore the next two options concerning the guided partitioning with LVM (encrypted or not). But in case you would like to learn more about it, you can read A Beginner’s Guide To LVM.

  • On the other hand, if you want to preserve a data partition, or use several operating system coexisting on this machine, select the Manual option and follow the procedure presented in the Manual/Multi-boot chapter. But in that case, please take an extreme care to the details of the disk partitioning.

Guided partitioning – single-boot

Here we select the “Guided – use entire disk” option :

The installer program ask you to choose the hard disk on which the system is going to be installed :

We have a USB stick connected to this system, and we can see it appear on this screen. Take care to select the right drive (the size of the key should help you recognize it).

Now we can select one of the three proposed schemes for this guided partitioning :

In Emmabuntüs DE, assisted partitioning allocates 30 GB of disk space for the root partition, regardless of the scheme used, to ensure that the system has enough room to be installed.

If you only have a 40 GB disk, we advise you to use the “All files in one partition” scheme.

The next window displays the proposed partitioning :

You can see that for the “All files in one partition” scheme proposed above, Emmabuntüs DE 5 can actually be installed on a 40 GB disk, but we recommend taking disks of at least 80 GB, otherwise you won’t have much room left for your personal data.

At this point you can cancel this proposed partitioning to try another scheme (see below an example with a separated /home partition). To do so, select the option “Undo changes to partitions”.

The screen below ask you to confirm that you accept the proposed hard disk partitioning.

After this stage, all data on the partitions concerned will be permanently deleted and lost.

If you agree with the proposed changes, tick the “Yes” and Validate :

Manual partitioning and multi-boot

This procedure is absolutely not recommended for beginners, it is intended for experienced users who want to have several operating systems coexisting in parallel on their computers. For the beginners who wants to test several operating systems, we recommend they use a dedicated computer for the alternative OS, or to use different hard disks, but never test several operating systems on their daily work computer because a terrible cockpit error can occur very quickly 🙁 .

This time choose the Manual partitioning method:

Choose a partition containing an operating system (here partition number 1), which can be reduced to make room for the partition next to it, which will contain Emmabuntüs Debian Edition. Then Validate.

Select the resizing operation, and Validate

Accept to start the resizing process, check Yes, then Validate.

Enter the new size of the current partition after downsizing and Validate.

The minimum partition size is indicated in the banner above the input field.

After resizing the partition, you are back to the overview of the current situation. Now select the FREE SPACE line in order to define a new partition and its characteristics, then Validate.

Validate the creation of a new partition:

Define the size of the new partition. In general, we take all the free space:

Define the type of this new partition and Validate:

If you’re not an expert in partitioning, we recommend the logical type, which allows you to exceed the limit of four partitions for a hard disk.

By default, the system automatically creates a partition containing the root partition / in ext4 format. Keep this suggestion, select Done setting up this partition and Validate.

You return to the partitioning tool home menu. If, as in our example, the swap partition is not used as a swap (here the usage field is empty), double-click to modify it.

Alternatively, you can select the line Finish partitioning … and Validate.

Here we are going to modify the swap partition, by double-clicking on Use as :

and in the selection window that opens, double-click on “swap”.

and on Done setting up this partition :

You are back to the partitions overview screen, and as you can see in our example, the line for partition number 5 “swap” now contains the word swap in the usage field.

You can now Validate the Finish partitioning … line, in order to move on to the next stage of the operating system installation.

After this step, the data currently residing on these partitions are going to be erased and lost.

After verification, if you agree to proceed with the installation, tick the “Yes” and Continue :

System installation

If you have confirmed the previous step, partitioning is applied and the system installs itself on the disk, starting by copying the data:

Configuring the package manager

During the final phase of the installation, you are asked if you want to use a mirror to update your system. tick “Yes” and Continue :


To improve the speed of the future package updates, you are then asked which country you leave in :

And as suggested, the deb.debian.org mirror is an excellent choice:

Usually, you don’t use an HTTP proxy and you should leave this field empty:

The installation program continues configuring the package manager, first by scanning the mirror, then by retrieving the various files:

Depending on the media used for this installation and the resources of the computer on which you’re installing, you may be presented with the warning message below. This is not serious, and should be ignored.

The Grub starter

This brings us to the Grub installation, which is an important step, as it will determine whether or not the machine can be restarted.
The installer examines the system configuration to check whether other systems have already been installed:

  • Mono-boot case :

Only one operating system has been found here. This is obviously the one you are installing. Select the Yes option and Continue.

  • Multi-boot case :

Another system has been detected.
In this case, too, we advise beginners to answer Yes to this question, in order to install the GRUB on the disk where you’ve just installed your new Debian Emmabuntüs.

If you’re more experienced, you can answer No to this question, in order to install your GRUB in the partition on which you’ve just installed your new Debian Emmabuntüs. But remember that after a reboot, you’ll need to link your GRUBs in your master operating system, so that all operating systems are visible when your computer starts up.

Emmabuntüs DE 5 uses Debian 12, which – by default – has disabled the launch of OS-Prober to identify other operating systems present on your computer’s hard disks.

To enable detection of these other operating systems and installation of the correct GRUB for all systems, a new option has been added to the Emmabuntüs post-installation sequence (see the System configuration section)

Now select the hard disk on which you have installed your new Debian Emmabuntüs:

Be very careful not to install the GRUB boot loader on the USB stick you are using to install your operating system, otherwise you’ll still need it to start your computer 😉 .

Clock setting

Then select UTC for the clock (unless you are installing a dual-boot with Windows):

Finishing installation

The installation process is finishing…

and you can now restart your computer. Click on Continue :

Post-installation under Xfce

On first system boot, the loading screen appears: you can now begin the post-installation process of Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5.

Premier démarrage

Once the installation is complete, your computer automatically reboots to your new Emmabuntüs DE 5 system, and the GRUB screen appears:

In general, you don’t have to do anything on the GRUB start-up screen, except perhaps immediately validate the selected line by pressing Enter, rather than waiting the 5 seconds or so it will take the system to do it for you.
On the other hand, from this screen, by validating the Advanced Options for Debian GNU/Linux 12 … line

and then selecting the Debian … (recovery mode) line, you can start your system in recovery mode, to repair or unblock it if, for example, updates have been inadvertently stopped during installation.

The recovery menu presented after boot :


Inside this menu, navigate using the up/down arrows on the keyboard, then press TAB to reach the OK field and Enter to validate.

We’re back to our normal Emmabuntüs DE 5 system start-up, and the first window to appear is the log-in window, where you’ll need to enter your password and click on the Log in button:

And then the post-installation welcome screen:

Here we continue the post-installation under the XFCE environment.
You can also jump to the Using the LXQt desktop environment section.

Desktop setup

This first customization screen lets you configure your desktop environment.

Here you choose :

  • your Xfce menu: Classic or Whisker;

  • your screen background images for sleep mode;

  • your desktop background image;

  • the activation of text-to-speech service at every computer startup;

  • Log on automatically at startup or keep your session password-protected.


The choice of menu concerns the application launcher at the top left of the banner. You can change it later using Xfce’s banner management utility.

Emmabuntüs does not provide an automatic text-to-speech service. Instead you need to select the text to be read and click on the Read button in the “application” menu of the banner :

If text-to-speech was not activated at startup, you need to launch it first manually.

Desktop setup (continuation)

More desktop settings to come :

Dock configuration

Request for dock activation and it’s protection.

This dock protection feature is very useful for teaching purposes or in the context of public access. We recommend that you lock the dock against tampering.
In Emmabuntüs DE 5, there are other dock management options, such as resetting the dock or protecting it from tampering.
See these utilities in Menu Xfce → Cairo-Dock.
By the way, these utilities are protected by the system password to prevent your configuration from being changed.

Dashboard configuration

Activate various environment functions, such as the taskbar, the workspace selection or the clipboard manager.

System configuration

Enable dark theme, sound events and automatic security security updates.

The default theme is dark, but you can uncheck this option to revert to the classic light theme.
We have selected the light theme here, in order to have less dark images in the rest of this tutorial.
Later, you can reverse this choice by going to :
Xfce menu → Settings → Emmabuntüs – Desktop

Finally, an option to launch a Grub update in the case of a multi-boot system. As we saw in the The Grub starter section, Debian 12 has disabled recognition of other systems. By checking this option here, and after validating the window, a confirmation window will open:

and after a new authentication window

a terminal window takes care of the automatic detection of the other systems:

Of course, you’ll need to restart your computer to view the new options available in the Grub window and access the other operating systems available on the hard disks.

Dock level

Configuration for the dock located at the very bottom of the screen. You are invited to choose between three possible configurations: “Complete“, “Simple“, “Basic“, or to click on Cancel to prevent the dock from launching automatically on system start-up.

If you cancel the Dock level selection, the Dock will not be launched automatically under Emmabuntüs, and you will only have access to the Xfce top banner, which will be automatically populated with the following extensions: taskbar, screen selector, desktop viewer.
You can still launch the dock from time to time by going to : Xfce menu → Cairo-dock → Launch dock

Installing non-free software

This screen gives you the choice of whether or not to install certain non-free software, including some Microsoft fonts.
You need to check the boxes of the non-free software you want to install and click OK:

You can refuse the installation of the non-free software, or select just a few.

You can also install them later from the Maintenance
menu in the dock at the bottom of the screen.

In this example, and after a Repository Update

the Codecs installation takes place :

Deleting unused languages

Next comes the opportunity to remove languages that will not be used on this system:

We strongly advise you to remove unused languages to reduce the number of updates, and also to install the complementary add-ons for the language you’re using. Don’t miss this step!

French language being removed :

and installation of additional language packages for the multilingual applications:

Parental control

To complete the post-installation of the system, you are given the option of installing the parental control:

If you follow this example and click on the OK button, you will need to enter your administrator password:

then a terminal window will open, where you can follow the software installation:

You will then be asked to define the login for your administration account:

and the associated password (to be entered twice, as usual):

The system will take some time to finalize the CTparental install and you will eventually see the success message. Simply click on OK to complete this post-installation step:

For more information on parental control, see our tutorial on the subject.

Installation complete

You’re now ready to start using your new Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5 system.

If your computer is connected to the Internet, you should be able to use the available updates.
Simply select Dock => Maintenance (1) => Update Manager (2).

and, in the window that opens, simply click on Install Updates and let the program do the rest.

You will probably need to authenticate yourself:

and a new reboot might be necessary, for example to take a new kernel into account.


Using the LXQt desktop environment

You may find that the Xfce desktop environment isn’t responsive enough and consumes too much RAM for your computer’s hardware configuration. There’s still one way to make your PC more user-friendly: switch to the LXQt desktop environment, included with Emmabuntüs, although you will lose some of the features present in the Xfce environment.

Disconnect from the Xfce session and connect with LXQt


To disconnect from your session, click on your username (here Emmabuntus) at the top right of the screen, then on the ‘Log Out …’ command within the drop-down menu that opens:

In the next sub-window, click on the large Log Out button to confirm this action:


A new connection screen will open, but BEFORE reconnecting you’ll need to click on the settings icon at the top right of the screen (the little gear), then choose ‘LXQt Desktop’ from the small drop-down menu that then opens:

With the new desktop environment defined, you can log in after entering your password:

Welcome to your new LXQt lightweight desktop environment:

LXQt, your new lightweight desktop environment

When you start up for the first time under LXQt, you are offered a “Post-installation” phase similar to that described for the Xfce environment, see the Desktop setup section.

Using the Dock

You can use the Cairo-dock under LXQt, providing you have enough RAM available.
To do so, select the Cairo-dock category, then Activate/Deactivate Emmabuntus Dock :

Memory consumption under LXQt

If you run the Htop system utility, you’ll see that the LXQt environment consumes just 465 MB at startup for 32-bit Emmabuntüs DE 5.

If you run now simultaneously the Falkon browser, the PCManFM-Qt file manager, the FeatherPad text editor and the Htop system utility, you’ll see a memory consumption of 731 MB. We therefore recommend that you use a computer with at least 1 GB RAM.

No free lunch: This lightweight optimization of Emmabuntüs with LXQt means that you lose some of the features present in the heavier but more complete Xfce.

Installing Wine and PlayOnLinux

To stay within the 4GB limit, Wine and PlayOnLinux are no longer part of the 64-bit and 32-bit distributions, but it’s very easy to install them when you have an Internet connection.
In a terminal, run the following four commands for a 64-bit version and only the last one for a 32-bit version:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y -qq wine32
sudo apt install -y -qq wine winetricks fonts-wine libwine playonlinux

How to create a bootable Live-USB-stick for Emmabuntüs DE

To create a bootable USB stick, we’re going to suggest two tools, Ventoy and balenaEtcher, which run on both Linux and Windows, and a third solution based on the Linux command-line only.

With the Ventoy tool

Ventoy is an open-source software that will make your life much easier when it comes to creating bootable USB disks. Thanks to Ventoy, you can turn your USB stick into an operating system installation station, while also preserving its properties as a storage medium.


Go to the download page: https://github.com/ventoy/Ventoy/releases
then scroll down to the Assets section:

    1. under GNU/Linux you download ventoy-x.x.xx.linux.targ.gz

    2. under Windows you take ventoy-x.x.xx.windows.zip

Installation under GNU/Linux

Right-click on the downloaded file and select the Extract here command:

A new folder is created (here it’s ventoy-1.0.95) containing 4 different launchers called VentoyGUI.xxxx and corresponding to the different architectures available under Linux :

On a conventional computer, with a 64-bit architecture use the X86_64 launcher, and with a 32-bit architecture use the i386 launcher.
Other architectures are for ARM and MIPS processors.
You can find out which architecture is used on your computer by typing the following command in a terminal:
dpkg –print-architecture

Depending on your operating system, double-click on the appropriate launcher and enter your password.

Installation under Windows

Once the installation file is downloaded, right-click on it and the Extract all … command

Enter the full destination path for extraction, then click on Extract:

Within the created folder, double-click on Ventoy2Disk.exe




Then click on Yes to authorize the execution of the Ventoy2Disk.exe application.


Using another language

English is the default language of the Ventoy2Disk window, but you can pick another language by clicking on the Language button:

and pick German, for example:

Preserving space

With the Ventoy stick, it is possible to preserve some space in the second part of the key, to install a data partition for example.
Click on the Option menu, then Partition Configuration:

Here we will reserve 40 GB for later use:

USB stick Initialization

All that’s left is to check that the device to be initialized is the USB stick you’ve plugged, then click on Install :




Twice the system will warn you that all data on the disk (in this case your USB stick) will be lost.

Check carefully that the correct device has been selected, then Validate, then check again and Validate again.





End-of-installation message that must validate by clicking on the OK button

Copying ISO images

All you have to do now is copy one (or more) image file(s) to the Ventoy partition that was just created. In our example, we’ll copy the 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files of the Emmabuntüs-DE5 we’ve previously downloaded.

Copy under GNU/Linux

Open the source folder containing the two ISOs, then the Ventoy partition. Select the two files and activate the copy by – for example – left-clicking on the selection, followed by a drag and drop operation to the destination folder:

Copy under Windows

Under Windows, open the Ventoy partition with File Explorer :

Then, as under Linux, we copy the two image files previously downloaded into the Ventoy folder we just opened.

Using the Ventoy stick

This is the welcome screen when you start up from the Ventoy stick. Here we have the choice of continuing with one of the two images we’ve placed here:

then the choice of the boot mode:

Booting in grub2 mode is reserved for experienced users who want to play with boot parameters. We’ll continue here in normal mode:

and you’re back to the classic Emmabuntüs start-up window!

With the Etcher tool

Etcher is a software utility to burn image files (ZIP, IMG, ISO) on various media (USB key, SD card, micro-SD). It is very easy to use and ensures an efficient burning process trough its burnt image verification functionality.

Start by plugging your USB key in the computer.

If this key holds important data, be aware that they are going to be deleted by Etcher without any warning !
We strongly suggest you save them first on another medium.

Go to the Asset section of the balenaEtcher download page: https://etcher.balena.io/#download-etcher

Installation under GNU/Linux




Download Etcher for Linux APPIMAGE (32 or 64 bits, depending on your system).

In our example, we’ve created an Applis folder to hold the downloaded file. Right-click on the file, then Properties…

In the Permissions tab of the Properties window, check the box: Allow this file to run as a program.

Then click on the Close button.

To launch the program, simply double-click on the AppImage file we’ve just made executable, or right-click on it and select the Execute command of the contextual menu:

In the 32-bit version of Emmabuntüs DE 5, the balenaEtcher AppImage does not run as expected.

You have to use a terminal and run the command below in administrator mode, ignoring the error messages that do not prevent the window from opening:

sudo ./balenaEtcher-1.7.9-ia32.AppImage

Installation under Windows

In the usual way, double-click on the downloaded setup file:

Click on I Accept in the License Agreement window:




To launch the program, the easiest solution is to simply double-click on the balenaEtcher link icon on your desktop.

Executing balenaEtcher

1. Start with the Flash from file button to select the ISO source file for example :

2. Click on the Change button to select carefully the destination USB device:

3. and press the Flash button to start executing the operation:

4. At the end of the operation, a window informs you that all has gone well, and you can close the Etcher window:

With a Linux terminal

A third method available on a GNU/Linux machine is to use a few command lines within a terminal window.
Plug in your USB stick, then launch a terminal in root administrator mode. We’ll identify the USB key we want to use with the command :


which will give you a result like :

/dev/sda1: LABEL="system" UUID="3d378712-1b6e-4f66-b9e8-2a6673c62199" TYPE="ext4" 
/dev/sdb1: UUID="F9B8-E691" TYPE="vfat"

Here, our key is identified as UUID=”F9B8-E691″, is formatted in “vfat” and contains the sdb1 partition. Make a note of this sdb1 so you don’t accidentally delete a partition on your internal hard disk (here, sda1).
The Debian ISO can be found in the Downloads folder. Let’s go there to work on this file:

cd /$HOME/Downloads

We’re now going to transfer the contents of the ISO to the USB stick using the dd command. Be sure to name the USB stick “sdb” and not “sdb1”, as it’s the disk that’s taken into account, not the partition, and change EmmaDE-xx.iso to the current name of the ISO to be transferred:

sudo dd if=EmmaDE-xx.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M && sync

The transfer time to your USB key depends on the size of the ISO and the transfer rate of your USB port. This operation may take 10 to 15 minutes with no sign of terminal activity. The terminal will “hand over” (display the command prompt) once the transfer is complete.


We’ve just seen that the classic installation of Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 5 is just as simple as that of Debian, followed by a post-installation step allowing you to choose various options, such as the installation of certain non-free software.

Using a high-quality USB stick instead of a DVD is a very good solution for computer refurbishment, as DVD drives no longer work properly after several years of use. What’s more, installation with a USB key is around three times faster than with a DVD.

For ancient computers that don’t support booting via USB ports,
you can use a USB boot CD based on the Plop Boot Manager.

These different installation techniques are detailed in the article: “How to recondition an old computer with Emmabuntüs?


Thanks to ideefixe who made the initial frame of this tutorial for the Emmabuntüs 1 & 2 distributions based on Ubuntu, and also to rodinux and Saby43 for their contributions to the elaboration of this Emmabuntüs Debian Edition tutorial.
Thanks to Zoom61 for his publishing assistance, and to f-leb for his spelling and syntax corrections during the initial release of Emmabuntüs DE on the Developpez.com site.
A big thank you to arpinux for his technical advises during the development of the Emma-DE distribution, the elaboration of this tutorial, and the one ofThe beginner’s handbook”, which is really perfect for the beginners on Emma-DE and spare us the writing of a new tutorial on this very subject.
And a great tribute to Ian who left us prematurely, and without whom this new adventure won’t be possible. We will keep an eternal gratitude to him, for the whole of his work.

Drawing by Péhäcc-0   : “In memory of Ian Murdock”