Setting up a Samba Server

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This article deals with setting up a Samba server. With it you can share folders across the network, even with Windows computers.

Installing the Samba Server

Several Linux distributions now supply their own tools for configuring Samba in a simple way, and these are mentioned below. There are also distribution-independent tools to configure Samba:

SWAT is often provided in a separate package. Once installed, it listens on port 901, so you can access it at http://myservername.mydomain:901/. If that does not work, stop your firewall.

Webmin is a web-based configuration tool contained.


To start installing the samba service, find out your distribution.


Open up a shell and type in:

apt-get install samba

It will ask you some basic questions about how to configure the server--most of the relevant information is found below. Don't get too scared, you may edit all of the options later in the /etc/samba/smb.conf file.

For a more in depth look at installing samba on a debian system, try Samba Server Setup in Debian.


Fedora has a GUI-utility system-config-network that provides basic access to samba-configuration. Make sure that firewall rules do not disable samba traffic.

If samba was not already installed use:

yum install samba


excecute (as root):

urpmi drakwizard

select samba

For more information on configuring samba for Mandriva Linux, please see the Mandriva KnowledgeBase



sudo yast2 samba-server

This will install samba if needed and allow you to configure it. You can find additional documentation at /usr/share/doc/packages/samba/examples/smb.conf.SuSE

Red Hat

There are three ways to configure the samba daemon in Red Hat Linux 9. "redhat-config-samba" is a graphical configuration client that is available (in Gnome) under hat|System Settings|Server Settings|Samba.


If your distribution does not allow you to configure samba shares, you will have to do it by editing configuration files. This is described here. However, it is less errorprone if you use your distribution's tools.


The easiest samba server configuration is to share a folder:

  • save your old samba configuration:
mv /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb-1.conf
  • create a new file /etc/samba/smb.conf:
	security = share
       client lanman auth = Yes
       lanman auth = Yes

	comment = Temporary file space
	path = /tmp
	read only = no
	public = yes
This will create a share tmp

Note: To avoid coming error message: "Server requested LANMAN password (share-level security) but 'client lanman auth' is disabled", need to add the last two options in [global] section.

  • restart the samba service on your computer
/etc/init.d/smb restart
  • check the share is available on its own computer:
# smbclient -L localhost
Enter root's password:
Domain=[TWEEDLEBURG] OS=[Unix] Server=[Samba 3.2.7-11.2.1-2080-SUSE-CODE11]

        Sharename       Type      Comment
        ---------       ----      -------
        tmp             Disk     
  • check the share is accessible on its own computer:
mount.cifs // /mnt/smb
This will mount /public on the mountpoint /mnt/smb.

Firewall Configuration

The following ports will need to be allowed through your firewall to enable Samba connections. It follows a format of Port Number:Protocol.


See for a list of common port numbers, names and their protocols.

Checking Shares

An easy way to check if your Samba shares are working properly from remote is to install the samba client software and use the smbclient tool in Linux or the net command in Windows. For instance, to view all of the available share information in Linux, simply type:

smbclient -L hostname

Where hostname can be any host on the network, even localhost. You can also provide a username to smbclient, like so:

smbclient -L hostname -U username

It will then prompt you for a password, you can enter none for anonymous access.

On Windows, issue

net view \\hostname

Mapping shares from Windows

On Windows, you can connect your Linux/Samba shares from Network Neighbourhood or map them to a drive from Windows Explorer. Or you use this example batch script tested with Windows 98/2000/XP. Simply open up notepad, paste this text into the file, and save it as something like, "connect.bat." Be sure not to forget the ".bat" or the script will not work. After that, replace "\\yourServer\share /user:username" with the appropriate names. It will reconnect the share upon startup each time.

@echo off
echo Connection Script....
echo ------------------------------------------
echo .
echo Disconnecting network share...(Z:)
net use /delete z:
echo Reconnecting network share...(Z:)
echo Please enter password if prompted
echo .
net use z: \\yourServer\share /user:username
echo .
echo Script completed...

Here's a second script, this one written in VBScript, so it will only work on Windows 98SE/2000/XP. It is, however, much more reliable, a bit of fault tolerance built in to it. Once again, just change the appropriate names.

dim wshNetwork
on error resume next
set wshNetwork = CreateObject("WScript.Network")
wshNetwork.MapNetworkDrive "Z:", "\\yourServer\share"
if Err.number <> 0 then
wscript.echo "Couldn't connect, sorry " & wshNetwork.userName
end if

See also