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Adding Shared Folder on VM

I run Virtual Machine (VM) on both windows and mac. When I am using both Linux on VM and windows/mac going back and forth many times, it is cumbersome to send a file from desktop to VM or vice versa using email. Mass spec files tend to be very large, so you need a way to transfer file fast.  One way to do is to use flash drive on USB drive, but better way is to set up shared folder for VM and your OS.

To do it, first you go settings and select Shared Folders. Right now I see two folders and I am going to add a new shared folder called “Shared with Ubuntu” which is on Desktop. So click the + button on the right, enter Folder Path and select the Auto-mount option.

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Then start Ubuntu, click Devices and Install Guest Additions.


After installation, there will be sf_Shared_with_Ubuntu directory in the \media directory.

But you need to change a permission setting to access this directory.

To do it, open Linux terminal and type the following command.

>sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf username

Change username part to the one you used to log in Ubuntu in the command. This command gives permission for the user to be able to access the shared folder in the /media directory. Try putting a random file in the Shared_with_VM directory on your desktop to see if it appears in the Ubuntu. You should also try putting some files in sf_Shared_with_Ubuntu and seeing it in Shared_with_Ubuntu on your desktop.

Linux on VM!

I wonder why many software programers like Linux. I like it too. I think the greatest thing about Linux is free on top of its stability. For me, linux shell scripting allow automation of many processes required for bioinformatic analysis. For someone who wants to start using Linux, using virtual machine is a great way to start. You don’t have to worry about partitioning of the drives and file transfers are pretty easy once it is set up.

Installation of VM can be done from here. Click the download on the left panel, and select your operating system. Installation should be straight forward. Once you installed VM, you need to select what kind of operating system you want to use.  In this case, I pick ubuntu for Linux OS.  Then you need to set up memory, storage space, CPU (threads) and etc. You can play around, but what is most important is to mount the CD/DVD drive correctly with image file. Let’s get the file first.

Here you can download the latest ubuntu.

If you click the link, your browser (most likely) starts downloading image file (iso) for the latest ubuntu. You need to unzip this big file (800MB). I use  7-zip to extract files (it is free).

Then you can move this iso file wherever you want-, I would put it in somewhere in VM directory. Next you need to mount the image file on your CD/DVD drive for your new ubuntu. This part is essential. If you don’t do it right, you see this error message.

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In order to mount your drive correctly, first you go settings on your VM, and select storage. You will see controller:IDE and Controller:SATA.

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If click the controller: IDE, you see two + buttons at the bottom of the screen. Click the left + button, then select Add CD/DVD drive. It will ask if you want it to leave empty or choose disk. So select choose disk, then locate the iso file you saved.  If this part is done correctly, you should see the .iso file in the controller:IDE box.

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OK, you are almost done. Now you hit ok, and then start the ubuntu. The VM will start the new OS and installation window appears. Congratulations! The installation of ubuntu should be straight forward, so I will not discuss about it here.

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