Molecular Biology protocols, utilities and oddities
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How to install NEBC's Bio-Linux on a netbook with Windows 7 Starter
It took some trial-and-error and much googling before managing to get Bio-Linux on my Netbook, so here are some basic instructions on how to do it.
EDIT: after some experience with Linux, I have to say that now I don't endorse much installing "specialized" scientific distros of Linux. The truth is that the basic installation of Ubuntu or Debian is very good and you're just a few "apt-get install"s away from having all the programs you need. On the other side, having a load of programs pre-installed makes you swim in a sea unnecessarily wide. Install Ubuntu or Debian, which are the distros where you'll find most programs already pre-compiled and easily available, and from there start taking what you need.
Anyways, if you still want to install Bio-Linux, here's how I had done it at the time (After that I just installed Debian and I'm happy.)
Did you just buy your Netbook? PARTITION IT! NOW! BEFORE IT'S FULL OF STUFF!
Having different partitions on your hard drive is a great thing:
- Having the program files and the data on separate partitions can save your data if you need to reinstall Windows from scratch (i.e. bring it back to its factory status). The system should be reinstalled in C: and this shouldn't touch your data at all (as a don't-bother-me disclaimer: "backup your data first").
- Having BioLinux on a separate partition should save you some headaches in case of a hard reboot or system crash: your Biolinux partition might go crazy, but your Windows programs and data will be elsewhere.
If you wanted to do the "perfect thing", you could partition the hard disk to install Linux on its own filesystem. I haven't done it yet, as Bio-Linux comes with the Wubi installer anyways. When I do it, I'll post a how-to, promise.
How do I do it, you say? It's easy and you don't need any third-party software. You can Google for it, i.e. check here. I have a 250GB drive, and shrank my C: to about 90GB. Of the freed space, I reserved 31,232 MB (30.5GB) for a BioLinux partition (L:), and all the rest (100 GB) went for the Data partition (D:). You can quick-format the BioLinux partition as NTFS, no problem.
Now, Bio-Linux! 
1) Download the newest iso image of Bio-Linux from NEBC and save it in your hard drive.
You can check its MD5sum integrity now, by using a program like md5sums. The MD5sums for NERC downloads should be found here.
Note that Bio-Linux uses Wubi as installer, which *would* perform this check. I had to force it to skip it though, as it was giving problems, maybe due to Windows' firewall.
2) You will need a virtual DVD drive to effectively run the setup program. I downloaded Daemon Tools Lite for the purpose. Install it and mount the Biolinux Iso image on the virtual drive.
3) Browse inside the virtual drive and find the program "wubi.exe". This is our installer, but we need to tweak it a little for the installation to work. Right-click on it, select "properties", go to the "Compatibility" tab and do the following alterations:
   a) mark it to be executed as Administrator
   b) select the compatibility mode for "Windows Vista SP1".
      (these alterations are necessary for the installer to add the bootloader options).
4) Note the drive letter for your virtual drive (i.e. H:), you'll need it now.
Then, Click on Windows' Start button, type "cmd" and press enter. A black window should open - it's the command prompt. You should read something like,
Now inside the prompt, go to your virtual drive (e.g. type H: ).
   (...and press Enter - now, if you didn't know it, mind that Linux is much less newbie-friendly).
Now type:
wubi --skipmd5check
   (I had to skip the md5 check in my system, because wubi was trying to download the md5sums and failed).
The Wubi installer should open as a normal window, so you can close the command prompt now.
5) Now, use the installer. If you created a dedicated partition for BioLinux, use it!
Go Linux!