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[Linux][Samba]: How to Share Files and Printers to Windows Machine on the Network

On moving from the Windows environment to the Linux, you might get to a point you wish to share files and printers through the network. Yes, we do that too, you can share files and printers from a Linux machine to a Windows machine using Samba.

Samba?

Samba is a free software re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, and was originally developed by Andrew Tridgell. Samba provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients and can integrate with a Microsoft Windows Server domain, either as a Domain Controller (DC) or as a domain member. [Wikipedia]

Okay, what next?

Now you’ve known a little bit of Samba, lets dive in and I show you what it can do. 🙂 We are going to install Samba on our Linux machine.

CentOS/Fedora
$ sudo dnf install samba samba-client
Debian/Ubuntu
$ sudo apt install samba

Setting Up Samba

After a successful installation, setup files are located in our dear /etc/samba directory, and the main configuration file we will modifying is the smb.conf file. So why not make a backup? 😉 We simply create a backup by copying smb.conf to smb.conf.bak just in case we do something wrong.

$ sudo cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf.bak

Now lets commence on editing the configuration file by editing /etc/samba/smb.conf. In most Windows systems, the default workgroup is WORKGROUP so we are going to make sure our Samba is set to WORKGROUP workgroup by setting

#You can find this under the [global] section
workgroup = WORKGROUP

Lets share files

Let me say, I want to share my Videos to the network which is at /home/jajo/Videos/, I am going to append these codes to bottom of smb.conf file

[Videos]
comment = My Videos
path = /home/jajo/Videos
read only = No
browseable = Yes
guest ok = Yes
create mask = 0755

Let me explain these:

  • comment: This is a short description of the path you are trying to share
  • path: This is the path to the directory you wish to share
  • read only: This determines if the files or directories are allowed to be writable or not. Values are either yes or no
  • browseable: Is Windows Explorer allowed to browse through this directory?
  • guest ok: Is this directory accessible without password?
  • create mask: Default permission to be set when a new file in created

You can add other directories you wish to share. Then save the file.

Creating a Samba User

Before we proceed, we need to add our user to Samba users so to be able to access protected files and directories. Lets add my user, that is jajo by running:

$ sudo smbpasswd -a jajo

Enter the new password. Enter again to confirm. This is the password you use to access protected files and directories on the network. I.E. if you have guest ok to no

Get Samba Up and Running

We have done the simple configuration, let us get Samba up and running

Debian/Ubuntu

$ sudo systemctl restart smbd nmbd

CentOS/Fedora

$ sudo systemctl restart smb nmb

After a successful restart of the services, you should go to Network in your Windows Explorer to find your Linux system 🙂

Not seeing it yet?

There is one problem I face most times, it is the firewall. Allow ports for Samba shares

Debian/Ubuntu

$ sudo ufw allow samba

CentOS/Fedora

$ sudo firewall-cmd --add-service samba

Everything should be running fine now. 🙂 And yes, this is not Windows, there is a way to monitor what is going on in your Linux on the network, just run

$ sudo smbstatus

Thank me later! 🙂

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