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Samba is a re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, it facilitates file and printer sharing between Linux and Windows systems or Linux-to-Linux systems as an alternative to Nfs. Samba is easily configured and operation is very straight-forward. See: Windows Network Share for more information about accessing Windows shares.


To install the Samba server, install the Template:Package Official package:

# pacman -S samba

A daemon is installed with the package and it must be started for Samba to begin working. Samba typically uses FAM to monitor the file-system for changes, yet Gamin has almost completely replaced FAM as of recent, mainly because the latter is poorly maintained and generally an inferior, unpopular choice.

To install Gamin:

# pacman -S gamin

If using FAM, start the Template:Codeline daemon before Template:Codeline. Gamin does not need a daemon since it automatically starts when needed.

Without rebooting, FAM and Samba can be started with the commands:

# /etc/rc.d/fam start
# /etc/rc.d/samba start

Add Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline to the DAEMONS line in Template:Filename to automatically start the daemons at boot.

Note: Before Starting samba the file /etc/samba/smb.conf must be created, see Configuration Below.



As root, copy the default Samba configuration file to Template:Filename:

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

Open Template:Filename and edit it to suit your needs. The default file creates a share for each user's home directory. It also creates a share for printers.

SWAT: Samba Web Administration Tool

SWAT is a facility that is part of the Samba suite. The main executable is called swat and is invoked by the internetworking super daemon, inetd.

There are many and varied opinions regarding the usefulness of SWAT. No matter how hard one tries to produce the perfect configuration tool, it remains an object of personal taste. However, SWAT is a very useful tool that allows Web-based configuration of Samba. It has a wizard that may help to get Samba configured quickly, it has context-sensitive help on each Template:Filename parameter, it provides for monitoring of current state of connection information, and it allows network-wide MS Windows network password management.

Warning: Before using SWAT, please be warned SWAT will completely replace your Template:Filename with a fully optimized file that has been stripped of all comments you might have placed there, and only non-default settings will be written to the file.

To use SWAT, first install xinetd:

# pacman -Sy xinetd

Edit Template:Filename using your favorite text editor. To enable SWAT, change the Template:Codeline line to Template:Codeline.

Additionally, edit Template:Filename if remote administration is needed.

The web interface can be accessed on port 901 by default,

Note: If you have problems with these directions, you can use the more all-encompasing Webmin tool instead, and easily load the SWAT module there.

Adding users

To log into a Samba share you'll need to add a user:

# smbpasswd -a <user>

The user must already have a account on the server. If the user does not exist you will recieve the error:

Failed to modify password entry for user "<user>"

You can add a new user to the system with adduser.

Accessing Samba shares

KDE and Gnome have the ability to browse Samba shares. You therefore do not need any additional packages if using either of these DEs. If however you plan to use the share solely from a shell, you will need an additional package.

Accessing a Samba share from Gnome or KDE

From a Nautilus/Dolphin/Konqueror window, hit Template:Keypress+Template:Keypress or go to the "Go" menu and select "Location..." -- both actions will allow you to type in the "Go to:" blank. Enter Template:Codeline and press enter.

Note: If you do not have your servername in your Template:Filename, you must use the IP Address of the server in place of the servername.

For a GUI in the KDE System Settings you have to install the kdenetwork-filesharing package from [extra].

Accessing a Samba share from the shell

You can use smbclient to browse shares from the shell:

$ smbclient -L <hostname> -U%

will list any public shares on the server.

To manually mount a share from the shell:

# mount.cifs //<hostname>/<share> <mount_point> -o user=<username>,password=<password>

To allow a normal user to mount and unmount a Samba share you can add setuid root to Template:Filename. An alternative is to use the smbnetfs package.

Adding a share to fstab

You can add a line to Template:Filename like this:

//<hostname>/<share> <mount_point> cifs credentials=<credentials_file>,rw,user,noauto 0 0

Since Template:Filename is readable by all users, one should not store their Samba password in this file. In this case, use a credentials file that is only readable by root. This is a simple text file that contains:


The user option of the Template:Filename line allows the owner of the <mount_point> to mount and unmount the share. The noauto option disables mounting at boot.

If you are adding a Samba share to Template:Filename, you should also add the netfs daemon to Template:Filename, somewhere after the network daemon. The netfs daemon will mount network partitions at boot and, more importantly, unmount network partitions at shutdown. Even if you are using the noauto option in Template:Filename you should add the netfs daemon. Without it any network share that is mounted when you shutdown will cause the network daemon to wait for the connection to time out, considerably extending your shutdown time.

Tips and tricks

Share files for your LAN without user and password

Edit Template:Filename and change the following line:

security = user


security = share

If you want to restrict the shares data to a specific interface replace:

;   interfaces =


interfaces = lo eth0
bind interfaces only = true

(changing eth0 to the local network you want share with.)

If you want to edit the account that access the shares, edit the following line:

;   guest account = nobody

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

Sample configuration file

The configuration that worked for one user:

workgroup = WORKGROUP
server string = Samba Server
netbios name = PC_NAME
security = share
; the line below is important! If you have permission issues make sure the user here is the same as the user of the folder you want to share
guest account = mark
username map = /etc/samba/smbusers
name resolve order = hosts wins bcast
wins support = no
[public] comment = Public Share path = /path/to/public/share available = yes browsable = yes public = yes writable = no

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. See also: Windows Network Share.

1. First, install Template:Package Official and Template:Package Official using pacman:

# pacman -S nmap smbclient

2. Template:Codeline checks which ports are open:

# nmap -sT 192.168.1.*

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

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 Template:Codeline to check for NetBIOS names: Template:Command

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

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

This shows which folders are shared and can be mounted locally. See: #Accessing Samba shares


Trouble accessing a password-protected share from Windows

If you are having trouble accessing a password protected share from Windows, try adding this to Template:Filename:[1]

# lanman fix
client lanman auth = yes
client ntlmv2 auth = no

Getting a dialog box up takes a long time

I had a problem that it took ~30 seconds to get a password dialog box up when trying to connect from both Windows XP/Windows 7. Analyzing the error.log on the server I saw:

[2009/11/11 06:20:12,  0] printing/print_cups.c:cups_connect(103)
Unable to connect to CUPS server localhost:631 - Interrupted system call

I don't have any printer connected to this server, so I added this to the global section:

load printers = no
printing = bsd
disable spoolss = yes
printcap name = /dev/null

Not sure if all of them are necessary, but at least it works now.

Changes in Samba version 3.4.0

Major enhancements in Samba 3.4.0 include:

The default passdb backend has been changed to 'tdbsam'! That breaks existing setups using the 'smbpasswd' backend without explicit declaration!

If you would like to stick to the 'smbpasswd' backend try changing this in Template:Filename:

passdb backend = smbpasswd

or convert your smbpasswd entries using:

sudo pdbedit -i smbpasswd -e tdbsam

Error: Value too large for defined data type

With some applications you could get this error whith every attempt to open a file mounted in smbfs/cifs:

 Value too large for defined data type

The solution[2] is to add this options to your smbfs/cifs mount options (in /etc/fstab for example):


It works on Arch Linux up-to-date (2009-12-02)

See also

More resources