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Accessing Windows machines from linux

SMB4k, CIFS - not easy on the latest OS's?

11:15 pm on Nov 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dstiles is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 14, 2008
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I've spent quite a bit of time over the past couple of weeks, since installing Mint on a new machine, trying to get it to access and edit files on Windows machines.

The Network option in the file manager (Caja) gives me general access but something like Kate - or even gedit - is unable to access the Windows machines via the usual "open file..." menus.

On Ubuntu Lucid I use smb4k to access Windows and have no problems apart from typing in the passwords every reboot (which is simply due to the way I set it up). I can see no difference between the Ubuntu and Mint setups for smb4k.

On Mint smb4k has been causing me a lot of trouble and, from browsing the problem, other people are finding problems with it on Mint and later versions of Ubuntu. Initially I could browse two of the three machines through smb4k but the third refused to play. Eventually I seem to have killed the initial two machine accesses as well. :(

I added lines to fstab such that I'm down to a simple error message "mount.cifs: permission denied" (without the fstab lines it complains about missing entries). I cannot seem to get beyond this, no matter how many web sites I view. A typical line in fstab is:

//MACHINENAME/Catherine /home/dave/smb4k/MACHINENAME/Catherine cifs auto,gid=users,file_mode=0664,dir_mode=0775,iocharset=iso8859-15,credentials=/etc/sambapasswords 0 0

I tried smbfs instead of cifs and it makes no difference. Also tried changing folder permissions but since smb4k creates its own folders I doubt that would make a difference.

I get the impression that CIFS should take over from smb and to this end I've checked various CIFS options. Reading online I get the impression that smb4k has been, er, "outevolved".

I have mounted two shares on a couple of machines (total six shares across the three machines) using terminal and mount.cifs, using instructions found an several web sites. I can now see those two shares mounted in smb4k but I need to modify the permissions - currently the folders are accessible to me (I created the top-level folders) but the sub-directories and files, although readable, are not writable (all listed as owned etc by "root").

One thing I did discover, something I never managed with smb4k under Ubuntu (though I'm not saying it's not possible!): I managed to delete a significant portion of the C: drive on one computer! Luckily Mint's trash manager moved it all into the computer's trash folder and a simple drag/drop on the machine itself seems to have undone the damage. I'll clean up the /info folder later.

This is basically a sort of "what I did" record but if anyone has a comment or solution I would appreciate it. Apart from this, I'm getting on fine with Mint (I initially installed Ubuntu 12.04 on the new machine, failed to get on with the menu and wiped it - I guess it's a personal thing!).
11:19 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dstiles is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 14, 2008
votes: 2

I seem to have stumbled onto a solution.

It seems fstab is a red fishy thing; although it's possible to use it from terminal via mount.cifs (mount -a) it seem to have no effect on smb4k.

The solution I found was to set Custom Options for the COMPUTERNAME - not the sharename - in the network neighbourhood pane of smb4k. By default it's set to Automatic. I set it FOR THIS ONE COMPUTER ONLY to RPC - all other machines seem to obey Automatic, no idea why. Nor do I really know why smb4k suddenly began to do as it was told for the other computers/shares.

Odd that the older Ubuntu machine starts up all smb4k shares with no problem, and they are all set to Automatic. :(

There is a difference between the Windows computers (obviously!):

One is a Windows 2000 set up as a Web Server - that's the one that failed to connect. Working through possible differences I discovered that kerberus would not start on this machine - no idea if that has anything to do with anything. There may be something odd in the general usage of the machine - all hosts files on the network define the machine's IP for several local domains for testing local web sites that I build/maintain.

A second machine is another Windows 2000 server but set up as a domain controller - that works with smb4k.

A third machine is Windows 2000 Pro (ie desktop only, not a server) and that connects fine.

Hell! It's Friday night, it's suppertime, and there's a DVD I want to watch! :)

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