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[How-To] Installing Nemo Mobile (Mer) on the N900 with Windows

9 February 2012Entry by

Interested in installing another OS on your N900? Well, then you might want to try Mer, a libre operating system based on MeeGo. This guide will teach you how to install it using a Windows system. If you’re a *nix (GNU/Linux; BSD; MacOS) user, refer to this post.

First of all all, you’d want to have all these things:

  • A Nokia N900, updated to a latest PR (which is 1.3).

If you have an N900, it’s highly unlikely you’ve got an outdated firmware. However, if you do (check it in About Product), please refer to this article.

  • A MicroSD card with a capacity of at least 4GiB.

Class and brand of the SD card plays a huge role here. A class 10 card is preferable. Cards are mostly “what-you-pay-is-what-you-get”, so the more expensive card is usually the better one. Do read the benchmark test for the card, you’d want the one that has a high random read/write.

  • U-Boot installed on the N900

Get U-boot from Extras-devel, if you don’t have it. Reboot the phone to verify installation, there should be a mention of U-Boot and usually a picture of Tux (a penguin) in a corner. Make sure to disable extras-devel after installing U-boot.

  • A Windows PC with a cardreader.
  • And an image for Nemo Mobile

Get an appropriate image here. Latest release have been proven to have a bug when installing on an SD card, so look for an older release.

Once you have all that, onto installation!

First, you need something to open a bz2 file for you and unpack the image. If you don’t have anything, try BZip2 for Windows:

  • Get the release without sources from the link above.
  • Install BZip2
  • Put the bz2 file into a directory, where you installed BZip2
  • Press Win + R to open up Run, type in “cmd” in the input box.
  • Change directory (cd) to the one, where you have bzip2 and the image file. For example, if the directory is C:\Programs\Bzip2\, type in “cd c:\Programs\Bz2″
  • Type in “bzip2.exe <name_of_the_image_file>.bz2″

Obviously, replace <name_of_the_image_file>.bz2 with an actual image name.

After you unpacked the image, you’ll want to rename it from <image>.raw to <image>.img. Do so.

Now get an image writer for Windows here (get the latest release and unpack the zip file into any directory). Slot in your MicroSD card into the cardreader. Run the image writer (W32DiskImager.exe). Select the img file you unpacked earlier and the drive letter of your SD card (verify the correct letter by checking it in Computer), then click ‘Write’. After the writing is finished, take the card out of the card reader and put it in your N900. Turn it on and Nemo shall begin booting. Note that the first boot will be a rather long one, later boots will be faster. If you want to boot into Maemo instead, just remove the SD card from your N900.

Enjoy your new OS!

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