dselect is a user-friendly front end to dpkg, used for managing Debian packages. When you run dselect, it offers you a menu of seven actions, which you can work through in order.

0. Access
Select where the package repositories are and how they will be accessed. For example, they could be on CD-ROM or an ftp site. If you use apt and have the repositories already listed in /etc/apt/sources.list you can skip this step.
1. Update
Read in data from the package repositories. This will tell dselect whether any packages need to be updated.
2. Select
Actually choose the packages you wish to install or remove. You can search for a particular package name or scroll through the list of packages. dselect can display its list of packages in several different orders; the default is to sort them first by whether they need upgrading, then by how important they are, then by what section they are in (e.g. doc, editors or net), then in alphabetical order. If you try to install a package without first installing its dependencies, dselect will complain and let you fix the problem.
3. Install
Install the packages. At the beginning of this step, dselect will tell you exactly which packages it is going to install, upgrade, and remove, and ask whether you want to continue. This is your last chance to bail out. If you tell dselect to go ahead, it will install the packages. If necessary, it will ask questions to help it configure them. It will often ask about replacing configuration files which you have modified, but it will make sure that you have copies of both the old and new versions, so if you make the wrong choice here you can easily correct it.
4. Configure
This is supposed to configure any packages that are unconfigured, but I have never seen it do anything, even when some packages were brokenly installed. I believe that this step and the next can safely be skipped.
5. Remove
As above, this claims to remove unwanted software, but in practice it will have been removed during the Install step.
6. Quit
Quit dselect.

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