Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Windows Desktop

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Using a Linux Client on Your Windows Home Server Network

Until recently, it was a rare household that included a Linux box as part of its computer collection. That is changing rapidly, however, thanks to easy-to-use and easy-to-install Linux distributions such as Ubuntu (and its KDE cousin, Kubuntu) and new Linux-based offerings from mainstream computer manufacturers such as Dell.

The good news is that Linux, like OS X, supports SMB natively (via Samba, a free implementation of the SMB protocols), so it's possible for Linux machines to coexist on your Windows Home Server network. In the sections that follow, I use the Ubuntu and Kubuntu distributions to access the Windows Home Server network. The procedures for your Linux distribution should be similar.

Viewing the Windows Home Server Network in Ubuntu

Ubuntu isn't set up out-of-the-box to view and work with Windows shares that use NTFS. This is a problem for Windows Home Server because all your shares are NTFS. To fix this problem, you need to install the NTFS Configuration tool in Ubuntu:

  1. Select Applications, Add/Remove to open the Add/Remove Applications window.
  2. In the Show list, select All Available Applications.
  3. Type ntfs in the Search box. You should see NTFS Configuration Tool appear in the Application list.
  4. Activate the check box beside NTFS Configuration Tool.
  5. Click OK. Ubuntu asks you to confirm the changes.
  6. Click Apply.

Here are the steps to follow to open your workgroup and view the Windows Home Server shares:

  1. Select Places, Network. The File Browser program opens and displays the Network folder.
  2. Double-click the Windows Network icon. You should now see the icon for your Windows Home Server workgroup.
  3. Double-click the workgroup icon. You should now see icons for each computer in your workgroup, as shown in Figure 5.16.
    Figure 5.16

    Figure 5.16 In Ubuntu's File Browser, open the workgroup icon to see your workgroup computers.

  4. Double-click the icon for the Windows Home Server computer. File Browser prompts you for your username and password.
  5. Type your username and password, clear the Domain field, and then click Connect. File Browser displays the Windows Home Server shares, as shown in Figure 5.17.
    Figure 5.17

    Figure 5.17 In Ubuntu's File Browser, open the Windows Home Server icon to see the server's shared folders.

Viewing the Windows Home Server Network in Konqueror

If you use Kubuntu (or any other Linux distribution that uses the KDE desktop), your file management software is a program called Konqueror, which you use to navigate local folders, view websites, and access network shares. Here are the steps to follow in Konqueror to open your workgroup and view the Windows Home Server shares:

  1. Click K Menu and then select Internet, Konqueror.
  2. In the initial Konqueror window, either click the Network Folders link or type remote:/ in the address bar and press Enter.
  3. Click the Samba Shares icon. You should now see an icon for your Windows Home Server workgroup.
  4. Click the workgroup icon. You should now see icons for each computer in your workgroup.
  5. Click the icon for the Windows Home Server computer. Konqueror prompts you for your username and password.
  6. Type your username and password, and then click OK. Konqueror displays the Windows Home Server shares, as shown in Figure 5.18.
    Figure 5.18

    Figure 5.18 In Konqueror, open the Windows Home Server icon to see the server's shared folders.

Creating a Windows Home Server Network Folder in Konqueror

If you use Kubuntu (or any KDE desktop), you can make it easy to access Windows Home Server by creating a network folder that points to a share on the server. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Click K Menu and then select Internet, Konqueror.
  2. In the initial Konqueror window, either click the Network Folders link or type remote:/ in the address bar and press Enter.
  3. Click the Add a Network Folder icon to start the Network Folder Wizard.
  4. Click to activate the Microsoft Windows Network Drive option, and then click Next.
  5. Type a name for the network folder (for example Windows Home Server or WHS Photos).
  6. Use the Server text box to type the name of your Windows Home Server.
  7. Use the Folder text box to type the name of the Windows Home Server folder you want to connect to. (If you want to see all the shares, type / in the Folder text box.)
  8. Click Save & Connect. Konqueror saves the network folder and then attempts to load it into a new window. The Authorization dialog box appears.
  9. Type Administrator in the Username text box, type the Windows Home Server Password, and then click OK. The Windows Home Server share appears.

Figure 5.19 shows the KDE desktop with two windows. The top window shows a connection to the Windows Home Server shares, and the bottom window shows the remote:/ directory with two Windows Home Server network folders—Windows Home Server (the folder that's open above) and Windows Home Server Photos, which connects directly to the Photos share.

Figure 5.19

Figure 5.19 In Konqueror, you can set up network folders that connect to Windows Home Server shares.

Letting Windows Computers See Your Ubuntu Shares

The Linux support for SMB cuts both ways, meaning that not only can you see and work with Windows shares in Ubuntu, but you can also configure Ubuntu as a file server and enable Windows computers to see and work with Ubuntu shares. The next few sections show you how to set this up in Ubuntu.

Installing Samba in Ubuntu

Your first step is to install Samba by following this procedure:

  1. Select System, Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. Click Search, type samba, and click Search again.
  3. In the Package list, click the check box beside samba and then click Mark for Installation. Synaptic Package Manager displays a list of packages that must be upgraded.
  4. Click Mark.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Synaptic Package Manager displays a list of the changes that will be applied.
  7. Click Apply. Synaptic Package Manager downloads and installs the software.
  8. Click Close.

Defining Samba Users in Ubuntu

Next, you need to define one or more users who can access Samba shares. For this to work, you need to set up the same username and account on both the Ubuntu box and the Windows PC.

Assuming you already have your Windows users configured, follow these steps to add a user in Ubuntu:

  1. Select System, Administration, Users and Groups.
  2. Click Add User.
  3. Type the username. Again, make sure this is a username that exists on the Windows PC you'll be using to access the Ubuntu shares.
  4. Type the user password and the password confirmation.
  5. Fill in any other user settings as you see fit.
  6. Click OK to add the user.
  7. Repeat steps 3–6 to add other users.
  8. Click Close.

Now you can add these users to Samba. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Select Applications, Accessories, Terminal to launch a terminal session.
  2. Type the following command (where user is the username):
    sudo smbpasswd -a user
    
  3. Ubuntu displays the following prompt:
    New SMB password:
  4. Type the user account's password (you won't see characters onscreen while you type), and then press Enter. Ubuntu displays the following prompt:
    Retype new SMB password:
  5. Type the user account's password again and press Enter. Ubuntu adds the user.
  6. Reload Samba by typing the following command and pressing Enter:
    sudo /etc/init.d/samba reload
    
  7. When you see the Password prompt, type your Ubuntu password and press Enter. Samba stops and reloads.
  8. Repeat steps 2–7 to add the other users to Samba.

You need the terminal session for the next setup task, so leave the session running for now.

Changing the Samba Workgroup Name in Ubuntu

The default Samba workgroup name is MSHOME, which is unlikely to be the same as the workgroup name you use for your Windows Home Server network. For easier access to the Ubuntu shares, configure Samba to use the same workgroup name that you use for your Windows network. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. If you don't already have a terminal session running from the previous section, select Applications, Accessories, Terminal.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
    sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf
    
  3. If you see the Password prompt, type your Ubuntu password and press Enter. The gedit text editor loads and opens smb.conf, which is the configuration file for Samba.
  4. Locate the workgroup = MSHOME line and change MSHOME to the name of your Windows Home Server workgroup.
  5. Select File, Save (or press Ctrl+S or click the Save button).
  6. Select File, Quit (or press Ctrl+Q) to return to the terminal session.
  7. Select File, Close Window (or press Ctrl+Shift+Q).

Sharing a Folder in Ubuntu

You're now ready to share a folder or two for Windows users to access. Use these steps:

  1. Select Places, Home Folder to open File Browser and display your Ubuntu home folder.
  2. Display the icon for the folder you want to share.
  3. Right-click the icon and then click Share Folder.
  4. If Ubuntu prompts you for your administrative password, type the password and click OK. Ubuntu displays the Share Folder dialog box.
  5. In the Share Through list, select Windows Networks (SMB). Ubuntu expands the dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.20.
    Figure 5.20

    Figure 5.20 Use the Share Folder dialog box to set up a folder to share with your Windows Home Server network.

  6. Modify the name and add a comment, if necessary.
  7. If you want Windows users to be able to change the contents of the folder, deactivate the Read Only check box.
  8. Click OK.

To work with the Ubuntu machine, open your workgroup as shown in Figure 5.21 and look for the icon that has the same name as the Ubuntu computer. Double-click that icon and then enter the username and password of a Samba account on the Ubuntu box. Windows displays the Ubuntu shares, as shown in Figure 5.22.

Figure 5.21

Figure 5.21 Look for the icon that has the same name as your Ubuntu box.

Figure 5.22

Figure 5.22 Open the Ubuntu box icon to see the folders it's sharing via Samba.

Letting Windows Computers See Your Kubuntu Shares

Anything Ubuntu can do, Kubuntu can do better. (I'm a big fan of the KDE desktop.) The next few sections show you how to configure Kubuntu as a Samba file server that you can access from your Windows Home Server network.

Installing Samba in Kubuntu

Your first step is to install Samba:

  1. Select K Menu, System, Adept. Kubuntu opens the Adept Manager.
  2. In the Search box, type samba.
  3. In the Package list, click samba, and then click Request Install. Adept Manager displays install in the Requested column.
  4. Click Apply Changes. Adept Manager downloads and installs the Samba software.
  5. Click Adept, Quit (or press Ctrl+Q).

Defining Samba Users in Kubuntu

Next you need to define one or more users who can access Samba shares. Again, you need to set up the same username and account on both the Kubuntu box and the Windows PC.

Here are the steps to follow to add users in Kubuntu:

  1. Select K Menu, System Settings.
  2. Click Users and Groups to open the Users & Groups - System Settings window.
  3. Click Administrator's Mode, type your administrative password, and click OK.
  4. Click New to open the User Account dialog box.
  5. Type the login name, making sure this is a username that exists on the Windows PC you'll be using to access the Kubuntu shares.
  6. Display the Password and Security tab, and type the password.
  7. Fill in other user settings as needed.
  8. Click OK to add the user.
  9. Repeat steps 4–8 to add other users.
  10. Click Close.

If you like using terminal sessions, you can add users from the Konsole program (select K Menu, System, Konsole). Use the same technique that I outlined earlier for Ubuntu, with two exceptions:

  • It's best to run everything from a root session. In Konsole, select Session, New Root Shell, enter your password for root access, and then press Enter.
  • Because you now have root access by default, you don't need to preface each command with the root invocation (sudo in Ubuntu; kdesu in Kubuntu).

However, one of the big advantages that you get with Kubuntu is the KDE Control Center, which offers (among many other things) a graphical interface to almost every Samba option. To get there, select K Menu, Run Command (or press Alt+F2), type kdesu kcontrol, type your root password, and click OK.

When the KDE Control Center appears, follow these steps to add the users:

  1. Select Internet & Network, Samba.
  2. Display the Users tab, shown in Figure 5.23.
    Figure 5.23

    Figure 5.23 In Kubuntu, you can add Samba users easily using the KDE Control Center.

  3. In the UNIX Users list, click the user you want to add and then click Add. Kubuntu prompts you for the user's password.
  4. Type the user's Samba password in both the Password and the Verify boxes.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Repeat steps 3–5 to add other Samba users.

Changing the Samba Workgroup Name in Kubuntu

You saw earlier that changing the workgroup name in Ubuntu requires editing the smb.conf file. In Kubuntu, however, you can use the nice KDE Control Center. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Select K Menu, Run Command (or press Alt+F2), type kdesu kcontrol, type your root password, and click OK to open the KDE Control Center.
  2. Select Internet & Network, Samba.
  3. Display the Base Settings tab, shown in Figure 5.24.
    Figure 5.24

    Figure 5.24 Use the Base Settings tab to configure the Samba workgroup name.

  4. Use the Workgroup text box to enter your Windows Home Server workgroup name.
  5. While you're here, you may also want to use the NetBIOS name box to modify the name of the Kubuntu computer.
  6. Click Apply.

Sharing a Folder in Kubuntu

You're now ready to share some folders for Windows users to access. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Select K Menu, System Settings.
  2. Click Sharing to open the Sharing - System Settings window.
  3. Click Administrator's mode, enter your administrative password, and click OK.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Use the Folder box to select the folder you want to share.
  6. Activate the Share with Samba check box.
  7. If you want Windows users to be able to change the contents of the folder, activate the Writable check box.
  8. Click OK.

To work with the Kubuntu machine, open your workgroup as shown in Figure 5.25 and look for the icon that has the same name as the Kubuntu computer. Double-click that icon and then enter the username and password of a Samba account on the Kubuntu box. Windows displays the Ubuntu shares, as shown in Figure 5.26.

Figure 5.25

Figure 5.25 Look for the icon that has the same name as your Kubuntu box.

Figure 5.26

Figure 5.26 Open the Kubuntu box icon to see the folders it's sharing via Samba.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account