Install from the netinst distribution. In my experience, business card is a waste of time since you have to download the bloody packages sometime or another. Set the image’s OS type to “Other” and not “Linux” for the installer to work. Skip the software installation step, especially if you do not use Gnome or KDE. Removing software and dependencies you do not use from Synaptic is a pain.
LILO and GRUB will for some reason consistently not install from the installer. Just ignore them. As soon as Debian installer finishes and reboots, close the image. Replace the Debian ISO in VirtualBox’s CD drive with a GRUB ISO. When the barren GRUB screen comes up, type these commands:
root (hd0,0) kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 initrd /initrd.img boot
That should bring you to a Debian prompt. From there, you can install
grub and either use grub-install or generate a menu.lst by yourself.
For example, my
menu.lst is just
default 0 title Debian root (hd0,0) kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 initrd /initrd.img boot
And if you’re using VMWare for a virtual Linux on top of Windows setup, don’t. VirtualBox is generally speedier and doesn’t come with an entire Apache Tomcat server installation with a hokey client-server philosophy. Oh, and use XFCE.