Share Files Between Mint 11 and Windows 7

Logo Linux Mint

Image via Wikipedia

While what I got today is nothing serious, nothing that has not been extensively documented elsewhere, I thought I’d sum up all the necessary steps in one place to save somebody the trouble of looking into many different websites to accomplice a relatively simple task.

The Story: I have three external drives on my PC (now running Linux Mint 11) that I needed to be able to access from a Windows 7 machine, serving the role of my Media Center. You can read why I chose Win7 for Media Center here.

The problem: I could not activate File Sharing on Mint. The option under “Preferences”, “Personal File Sharing” was grayed out.

The Solution: For some reason, completely unknown to me, you need to install a couple of Apache packages first. Insane, I know, but that’s what Jeffrey Charles suggested over at Beyond Technically Correct and I had no reason to doubt him. So open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install apache2.2-bin libapache2-mod-dnssd

After installation was finished, I rebooted my machine (not sure whether I needed to do that or not) and finally I was able to enable Personal File sharing. I went to my three disks, I created the shares and then I went to my Windows machine and tried to add them as network drives. Guess what? No luck. Fortunately, I remembered that the last time I had set up a Samba server, I needed to make a couple of changes in a file somewhere. In case you are wondering, when you check the checkbox to enable file sharing, what you really do is set up a Samba server on your machine.

You need to edit the following file to reflect your own network: /etc/samba/smb.conf

Locate the line bellow and change WORKGROUP to the name of your workgroup. If you never changed that, you do not need to do anything here.

# Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of
   workgroup = WORKGROUP
What I did next, was to scroll a bit down and locate the authentication section. Then, I uncommented the security = user line. Remember, if you do that, you need to make additional user accounts on your machine, for every other user you want to allow to access your shared folders.
# "security = user" is always a good idea. This will require a Unix account
# in this server for every user accessing the server. See
# /usr/share/doc/samba-doc/htmldocs/Samba3-HOWTO/ServerType.html
# in the samba-doc package for details.
   security = user

The last step you need to take, is add the allowed users to Samba. Open a terminal and type:

sudo smbpasswd -a [username]

Please note that in case you enabled the security = user option above, you will have to provide a username that can also log on to your machine. I added myself for example.

Edit: I forgot to mention that after you change the configuration file you need to restart Samba, for the changes to take effect. you can do that by typing in a terminal “sudo service smbd restart” or by restarting your machine.

That’s it. I was then able to access my drives from Windows and mount them as Network drives.


15 Responses to “Share Files Between Mint 11 and Windows 7”

  1. 1 Michele
    November 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks so much! There is a ton of information out there, but yours is short, sweet and to the point.

  2. 3 Daniel
    November 21, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Since Debian 2.0 I have been fiddling with various distros, but have never successfully networked with a Windows machine until today. A million thanks to you!

  3. 4 Ed
    February 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    At the end where it says [username] , Who’s username? The windows 7 PC username, the linux server username? Please clarify. Apart from this it’s very helpful, thankyou. To be fair I’m a linux newbie so I have no idea what’s going on cus I spent too long administering a windows 2000 network.

    • February 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      If you enable the security = user option, you must provide a username that is also a user on the Linux machine. In my case, I use the same username for both Linux and Win 7 so I added that.

      If not, you can make any user you like and then use these credentials on the Win7 machine. It does not have to be a windows user however.

  4. 6 Gene
    August 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Can this setup be used to send files from windows 7 to linux as well?

  5. August 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Yes it works both ways. You will have to setup a shared folder in your home directory but I believe this is fairly easy (something along the lines of right clicking and choosing share this folder) 🙂

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  7. 9 Matthias
    February 14, 2014 at 12:02 am

    The reason why this works is that libapache2-mod-dnssd installs avahi-daemon as a prerequisite. This is what is really needed because it makes it possible to resolve dynamic ip-addresses on a LAN. A lot of things are going to work as they should after installing avahi-daemon, including cups servers with versions higher than 1.6.

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