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Samba is a re-implementation of the SMB networking protocol. It facilitates file and printer sharing among Linux and Windows systems as an alternative to NFS. Some users say that Samba is easily configured and that operation is very straight-forward. However, many new users run into problems with its complexity and non-intuitive mechanism. This article provides instructions for users on how to setup Samba.


Server configuration

To share files with Samba, install the samba package.


Samba is configured in /etc/samba/smb.conf, if this file doesn't exist smbd will fail to start.

To get started you can copy the default config file /etc/samba/smb.conf.default:

# cp /etc/samba/smb.conf.default /etc/samba/smb.conf

The available options are documented in the smb.conf man page (link). Whenever you modify the file run the testparm command to check for syntactic errrors.

Creating a share

Open /etc/samba/smb.conf and scroll down to the Share Definitions section. The default configuration automatically creates a share for each user's home directory. However, users cannot actually log in unless you add a users wildcard.

   comment = Home Directories
   browseable = no
   writable = yes
   valid users = %S

The workgroup specified in smb.conf has to match the in use Windows workgroup (default WORKGROUP).

Starting services

To provide basic file sharing through SMB start/enable smbd.service and/or nmbd.service services. See smbd and nmbd manpages for details, as the nmbd.service service may not always be required.

Tip: Instead of having the service running since boot, you can enable smbd.socket so the daemon is started on the first incoming connection. Do not forget to disable smbd.service.

Creating usershare path

Note: This is an optional feature. Skip this section if you do not need it.

"Usershare" is a feature that gives non-root users the capability to add, modify, and delete their own share definitions.

This creates the usershare directory in /var/lib/samba:

# mkdir -p /var/lib/samba/usershare

This creates the group sambashare:

# groupadd -r sambashare

This changes the owner of the directory to root and the group to sambashare:

# chown root:sambashare /var/lib/samba/usershare

This changes the permissions of the usershare directory so that users in the group sambashare can read, write and execute files:

# chmod 1770 /var/lib/samba/usershare

Set the following parameters in the smb.conf configuration file:

  usershare path = /var/lib/samba/usershare
  usershare max shares = 100
  usershare allow guests = yes
  usershare owner only = yes

Add your user to the sambashare group. Replace your_username with the name of your user:

# gpasswd sambashare -a your_username

Restart smbd.service and nmbd.service services.

Log out and log back in. You should now be able to configure your samba share using GUI. For example, in Thunar you can right click on any directory and share it on the network. If you want to share paths inside your home directory you must make it listable for the group others.

Adding a user

Samba requires a Linux user account - you may use an existing user account or create a new one.

Although the user name is shared with Linux system, Samba uses a password separate from that of the Linux user accounts. Replace samba_user with the chosen Samba user account:

# smbpasswd -a samba_user

Depending on the server role, existing File permissions and attributes may need to be altered for the Samba user account.

If you want the new user only to be allowed to remotely access the file server shares through Samba, you can restrict other login options:

  • disabling shell - usermod --shell /usr/bin/nologin --lock username
  • disabling SSH logons - edit /etc/ssh/sshd_conf, change option AllowUsers

Also see Security for hardening your system.

Changing Samba user's password

To change a user's password, use smbpasswd:

# smbpasswd samba_user

Required ports

If you are using a firewall, do not forget to open required ports (usually 137-139 + 445). For a complete list please check Samba port usage.

Sample configuration

See man smb.conf for details and explanation of configuration options. There is also an online version available.

  deadtime = 60 ; This is useful to stop a server's resources being exhausted by a large number of inactive connections
  disable netbios = yes ; Disable netbios announcing
  dns proxy = no ; nmbd spawns a second copy of itself to do the DNS name lookup requests on 'yes'
  hosts allow = 192.168.1. 127. 10. ; This parameter is a comma, space, or tab delimited set of hosts which are permitted to access a service
  invalid users = root ; This is a list of users that should not be allowed to login to this service
  security = user ; Use as standalone file server
  map to guest = Bad User ; Means user logins with an invalid password are rejected, or allow guest login and mapped into the guest account
  max connections = 100 ; Number of simultaneous connections to a service to be limited
  workgroup = WORKGROUP ; Workgroup the server will appear to be in when queried by clients

  ; Uncomment the following lines to disable printer support
  ;load printers = no
  ;printing = bsd
  ;printcap name = /dev/null
  ;disable spoolss = yes

  ; Default permissions for all shares  
  inherit owner = yes ; Take the ownership of the parent directory when creating files/folders
  create mask = 0664 ; Create file mask
  directory mask = 0775 ; Create director mask
  force create mode = 0664 ; Force create file mask
  force directory mode = 0775 ; Force create directory mask

; Private Share
[private] ; translate into: \\server\private
  comment = My Private Share ; Seen next to a share when a client queries the server
  path = /path/to/data ; Directory to which the user of the service is to be given access
  read only = no ; An inverted synonym to writeable.
  valid users = user1 user2 @group1 @group2; restrict a service to a particular set of users and/or groups

; Public Share
; comment = My Public Share
; path = /path/to/public
; read only = yes
; guest ok = yes; No password required to connect to the service

Restart the smbd service to apply configuration changes.

Note: Connected clients may need to reconnect before configuration changes take effect.

Client configuration

For a lightweight method (without support for listing public shares, etc.), only install cifs-utils to provide /usr/bin/mount.cifs.

Install smbclient for an ftp-like command line interface. See man smbclient for commonly used commands.

Depending on the desktop environment, GUI methods may be available. See #File manager configuration for use with a file manager.

Note: After installing cifs-utils or smbclient, load the cifs kernel module or reboot to prevent mount fails.

List Public Shares

The following command lists public shares on a server:

$ smbclient -L hostname -U%

Alternatively, running smbtree will show a tree diagram of all the shares. This is not advisable on a network with a lot of computers, but can be helpful for diagnosing if you have the correct sharename.

$ smbtree -b -N

Where the options are -b (--broadcast) to use broadcast instead of using the master browser and -N (-no-pass) to not ask for a password.

NetBIOS/WINS host names

You may need to start/enable winbindd in order to resolve host names with e.g., mount.cifs

The smbclient package provides a driver to resolve host names using WINS. To enable it, add “wins” to the “hosts” line in /etc/nsswitch.conf.

Manual mounting

Create a mount point for the share:

# mkdir /mnt/mountpoint

Mount the share using mount.cifs as type. Not all the options listed below are needed or desirable:

# mount -t cifs //SERVER/sharename /mnt/mountpoint -o user=username,password=password,uid=username,gid=group,workgroup=workgroup,ip=serverip,iocharset=utf8

To allow users to mount it as long as the mount point resides in a directory controllable by the user; i.e. the user's home, append the users mount option.

Note: The option is users (plural). For other filesystem types handled by mount, this option is usually user; sans the "s".
Warning: Using uid and/or gid as mount options may cause I/O errors, it's recommended to set/check the File permissions and attributes instead.


The server name.


The shared directory.


The local directory where the share will be mounted.

-o [options]

See man mount.cifs for more information.
Storing Share Passwords

Storing passwords in a world readable file is not recommended. A safer method is to create a credentials file:


Replace username=myuser,password=mypass with credentials=/path/to/credentials/share.

The credential file should explicitly readable/writeable to root:

# chmod 600 /path/to/credentials/share

Automatic mounting

Note: You may need to enable systemd-networkd-wait-online.service or NetworkManager-wait-online.service (depending on your setup) to proper enable booting on start-up.

As mount entry

This is an simple example of a cifs mount entry that requires authentication:

//SERVER/sharename /mnt/mountpoint cifs username=myuser,password=mypass 0 0
Note: Space in sharename should be replaced by \040 (ASCII code for space in octal). For example, //SERVER/share name on the command line should be //SERVER/share\040name in /etc/fstab.

To speed up the service on boot, add the x-systemd.automount option to the entry:

//SERVER/SHARENAME /mnt/mountpoint cifs credentials=/path/to/smbcredentials/share,x-systemd.automount 0 0

As systemd unit

Create a new .mount file inside /etc/systemd/system, e.g. mnt-myshare.mount.

Requires= replace (if needed) with your Network configuration.

What= path to share

Where= path to mount the share

Options= share mounting options

Description=Mount Share at boot



To use mnt-myshare.mount, start the unit and enable it to run on system boot.


Note: smbnetfs needs an intact Samba server setup. See above on how to do that.

First, check if you can see all the shares you are interested in mounting:

$ smbtree -U remote_user

If that does not work, find and modify the following line in /etc/samba/smb.conf accordingly:

domain master = auto

Now restart smbd.service and nmbd.service.

If everything works as expected, install smbnetfs from the official repositories.

Then, add the following line to /etc/fuse.conf:


Now copy the directory /etc/smbnetfs/.smb to your home directory:

$ cp -a /etc/smbnetfs/.smb ~

Then create a link to smb.conf:

$ ln -sf /etc/samba/smb.conf ~/.smb/smb.conf

If a username and a password are required to access some of the shared folders, edit ~/.smb/smbnetfs.auth to include one or more entries like this:

auth			"hostname" "username" "password"

It is also possible to add entries for specific hosts to be mounted by smbnetfs, if necessary. More details can be found in ~/.smb/smbnetfs.conf.

If you are using the Dolphin or GNOME Files, you may want to add the following to ~/.smb/smbnetfs.conf to avoid "Disk full" errors as smbnetfs by default will report 0 bytes of free space:

free_space_size 1073741824

When you are done with the configuration, you need to run

$ chmod 600 ~/.smb/smbnetfs.*

Otherwise, smbnetfs complains about 'insecure config file permissions'.

Finally, to mount your Samba network neighbourhood to a directory of your choice, call

$ smbnetfs mount_point

The Arch Linux package also maintains an additional system-wide operation mode for smbnetfs. To enable it, you need to make the said modifications in the directoy /etc/smbnetfs/.smb.

Then, you can start and/or enable the smbnetfs daemon as usual. The system-wide mount point is at /mnt/smbnet/.


See Autofs for information on the kernel-based automounter for Linux.

File manager configuration

GNOME Files, Nemo, Caja, Thunar and PCManFM

In order to access samba shares through GNOME Files, Nemo, Caja, Thunar or PCManFM, install the gvfs-smb package, available in the official repositories.

Press Ctrl+l and enter smb://servername/share in the location bar to access your share.

The mounted share is likely to be present at /run/user/your_UID/gvfs or ~/.gvfs in the filesystem.


KDE, has the ability to browse Samba shares built in. Therefore do not need any additional packages. However, for a GUI in the KDE System Settings, install the kdenetwork-filesharing package from the official repositories.

If when navigating with Dolphin you get a "Time Out" Error, you should uncomment and edit this line in smb.conf:

name resolve order = lmhosts bcast host wins

as shown in this page.

Other graphical environments

There are a number of useful programs, but they may need to have packages created for them. This can be done with the Arch package build system. The good thing about these others is that they do not require a particular environment to be installed to support them, and so they bring along less baggage.

  • pyneighborhood is available in the official repositories.
  • LinNeighborhood, RUmba, xffm-samba plugin for Xffm are not available in the official repositories or the AUR. As they are not officially (or even unofficially supported), they may be obsolete and may not work at all.

Tips and tricks

Block certain file extensions on Samba share

Note: Setting this parameter will affect the performance of Samba, as it will be forced to check all files and directories for a match as they are scanned.

Samba offers an option to block files with certain patterns, like file extensions. This option can be used to prevent dissemination of viruses or to dissuade users from wasting space with certain files. More information about this option can be found in man smb.conf.

  comment = Private
  path = /mnt/data
  read only = no
  veto files = /*.exe/*.com/*.dll/*.bat/*.vbs/*.tmp/*.mp3/*.avi/*.mp4/*.wmv/*.wma/

Discovering network shares

If nothing is known about other systems on the local network, and automated tools such as smbnetfs are not available, the following methods allow one to manually probe for Samba shares.

1. First, install nmap and smbclient using pacman:

# pacman -S nmap smbclient

2. nmap checks which ports are open:

# nmap -p 139 -sT "192.168.1.*"

In this case, a scan on the 192.168.1.* IP address range and port 139 has been performed, resulting in:

$ nmap -sT "192.168.1.*"
Starting nmap 3.78 ( ) at 2005-02-15 11:45 PHT
Interesting ports on
(The 1661 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
139/tcp  open  netbios-ssn
5000/tcp open  UPnP

Interesting ports on
(The 1662 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
6000/tcp open  X11

Nmap run completed -- 256 IP addresses (2 hosts up) scanned in 7.255 seconds

The first result is another system; the second happens to be the client from where this scan was performed.

3. Now that systems with port 139 open are revealed, use nmblookup to check for NetBIOS names:

$ nmblookup -A
Looking up status of
        PUTER           <00> -         B <ACTIVE>
        HOMENET         <00> - <GROUP> B <ACTIVE>
        PUTER           <03> -         B <ACTIVE>
        PUTER           <20> -         B <ACTIVE>
        HOMENET         <1e> - <GROUP> B <ACTIVE>
        USERNAME        <03> -         B <ACTIVE>
        HOMENET         <1d> -         B <ACTIVE>
        MSBROWSE        <01> - <GROUP> B <ACTIVE>

Regardless of the output, look for <20>, which shows the host with open services.

4. Use smbclient to list which services are shared on PUTER. If prompted for a password, pressing enter should still display the list:

$ smbclient -L \\PUTER
Sharename       Type      Comment
---------       ----      -------
MY_MUSIC        Disk
PRINTER$        Disk
PRINTER         Printer
IPC$            IPC       Remote Inter Process Communication

Server               Comment
---------            -------

Workgroup            Master
---------            -------
HOMENET               PUTER

Remote control of Windows computer

Samba offers a set of tools for communication with Windows. These can be handy if access to a Windows computer through remote desktop is not an option, as shown by some examples.

Send shutdown command with a comment:

$ net rpc shutdown -C "comment" -I IPADDRESS -U USERNAME%PASSWORD

A forced shutdown instead can be invoked by changing -C with comment to a single -f. For a restart, only add -r, followed by a -C or -f.

Stop and start services:


To see all possible net rpc command:

$ net rpc

Share files without a username and password

Edit /etc/samba/smb.conf and add the following line:

map to guest = Bad User

After this line:

security = user

Restrict the shares data to a specific interface replace:

;   interfaces =


interfaces = lo eth0
bind interfaces only = true

Optionally edit the account that access the shares, edit the following line:

;   guest account = nobody

For example:

   guest account = pcguest

And do something in the likes of:

# useradd -c "Guest User" -d /dev/null -s /bin/false pcguest

Then setup a "" password for user pcguest.

The last step is to create share directory (for write access make writable = yes):

[Public Share]
path = /path/to/public/share
available = yes
browsable = yes
public = yes
writable = no
Note: Make sure the guest also has permission to visit /path, /path/to and /path/to/public, according to

Sample Passwordless Configuration

This is the configuration I use with samba 4 for easy passwordless filesharing with family on a home network. Change any options needed to suit your network (workgroup and interface). I'm restricting it to the static IP I have on my ethernet interface, just delete that line if you do not care which interface is used.


   workgroup = WORKGROUP

   server string = Media Server

   security = user
   map to guest = Bad User

   log file = /var/log/samba/%m.log

   max log size = 50

   interfaces =

   dns proxy = no 

   path = /shares
   public = yes
   only guest = yes
   writable = yes

   path = /media/storage
   public = yes
   only guest = yes
   writable = yes

Build Samba without CUPS

Just build without cups installed. From the Samba Wiki:

Samba has built-in support [for CUPS] and defaults to CUPS if the development package (aka header files and libraries) could be found at compile time.

Of course, modifications to the PKGBUILD will also be necessary: libcups will have to be removed from the depends and makedepends arrays and other references to cups and printing will need to be deleted. In the case of the 4.1.9-1 PKGBUILD, 'other references' includes lines 169, 170 and 236:

    mkdir -p ${pkgdir}/usr/lib/cups/backend
    ln -sf /usr/bin/smbspool ${pkgdir}/usr/lib/cups/backend/smb
  install -d -m1777 ${pkgdir}/var/spool/samba


Failed to start Samba SMB/CIFS server

Check if the permissions are set correctly for /var/cache/samba/ and restart the smbd.service or smbd.socket:

# chmod 0755 /var/cache/samba/msg

Unable to overwrite files, permissions errors

Possible solutions:

  • Append the mount option nodfs to the /etc/fstab entry.
  • Add msdfs root = no to the [global] section of the server's /etc/samba/smb.conf.

Windows clients keep asking for password even if Samba shares are created with guest permissions

Set map to guest inside the global section of /etc/samba/smb.conf:

map to guest = Bad User

Windows 7 connectivity problems - mount error(12): cannot allocate memory

A known Windows 7 bug that causes "mount error(12): cannot allocate memory" on an otherwise perfect cifs share on the Linux end can be fixed by setting a few registry keys on the Windows box as follows:

  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache (set to 1)
  • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters\Size (set to 3)

Alternatively, start Command Prompt in Admin Mode and execute the following:

reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management" /v "LargeSystemCache" /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters" /v "Size" /t REG_DWORD /d 3 /f

Do one of the following for the settings to take effect:

  • Restart Windows
  • Restart the Server service via services.msc
  • From the Command Prompt run: 'net stop lanmanserver' and 'net start lanmanserver' - The server may automatically restart after stopping it.
Note: Googling will reveal another tweak recommending users to add a key modifying the "IRPStackSize" size. This is incorrect for fixing this issue under Windows 7. Do not attempt it.

Original article.

Error: Failed to retrieve printer list: NT_STATUS_UNSUCCESSFUL

If you are a home user and using samba purely for file sharing from a server or NAS, you are probably not interested in sharing printers through it. If so, you can prevent this error from occurring by adding the following lines to your /etc/samba/smb.conf:

load printers = No
printing = bsd
printcap name = /dev/null
disable spoolss = Yes

Restart the samba service, smbd.service, and then check your logs:

cat /var/log/samba/smbd.log

and the error should now no longer be appearing.

Sharing a folder fails

It means that while you are sharing a folder from Dolphin (file manager) and everything seems ok at first, after restarting Dolphin the share icon is gone from the shared folder, and also some output like this in terminal (Konsole) output:

‘net usershare’ returned error 255: net usershare: usershares are currently disabled

To fix it, enable usershare as described in #Creating usershare path.

"Browsing" network fails with "Failed to retrieve share list from server"

And you are using a firewall (iptables) because you do not trust your local (school, university, hotel) local network. This may be due to the following: When the smbclient is browsing the local network it sends out a broadcast request on udp port 137. The servers on the network then reply to your client but as the source address of this reply is different from the destination address iptables saw when sending the request for the listing out, iptables will not recognize the reply as being "ESTABLISHED" or "RELATED", and hence the packet is dropped. A possible solution is to add:

iptables -t raw -A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 137 -j CT --helper netbios-ns

to your iptables setup.

Protocol negotiation failed: NT_STATUS_INVALID_NETWORK_RESPONSE

The client probably does not have access to shares. Make sure clients' IP address is in hosts allow = line in /etc/samba/smb.conf.

Connection to SERVER failed: (Error NT_STATUS_UNSUCCESSFUL)

You are probably passing wrong server name to smbclient. To find out the server name, run hostnamectl on the server and look at "Transient hostname" line


Make sure that the server has started. The shared directories should exist and be accessible.

Password Error when correct credentials are given (error 1326)

Samba 4.5 has NTLMv1 authentication disabled by default. It is recommend to install the latest available upgrades on clients and deny access for unsupported clients.

If you still need support for very old clients without NTLMv2 support (e.g. Windows XP), it is possible force enable NTLMv1, although this is not recommend for security reasons:

   lanman auth = yes
   ntlm auth = yes

If NTLMv2 clients are unable to authenticate when NTLMv1 has been enabled, create the following file on the client:

   sec = ntlmv2
   client ntlmv2 auth = yes

This change also affects samba shares mounted with mount.cifs. If after upgrade to Samba 4.5 your mount fails, add the sec=ntlmssp option to your mount command, e.g.

mount.cifs //server/share /mnt/point -o sec=ntlmssp,...

See also