Browsing Windows from Ubuntu Using Samba

Browsing Windows from Ubuntu Using Samba by David Whelan I have been running varieties of Linux for a number of years within a larger Windows network. Browsing from my Ubuntu machines has always been a bit problematic. If it works, it’s slow. Sometimes it hasn’t even worked and that was what I was up against with this latest machine. Samba was installed and I could configure the Windows workgroup. I could even browse out to my network and see the workgroup, but it would fail to retrieve a list of servers.

Two solutions this time.  The first was nothing special.  I couldn’t browse to the network resources but I could select my Places menu and select Connect to a server . . . .   If I chose a Windows share and typed in the IP address for my resource, I could attach and view it.  It was a bit poky but it worked.

But the difficulty with using this method is that it doesn’t appear to mount properly within the file system.  One result is that I cannot use the network storage where I have dumped much of my vinyl and CD collection for network replay.  Using Amarok, Rhythmbox, and other players, I continually failed to be able to browse to the necessary resources.

So imagine my delight in trying yet another solution posted to a discussion forum in response to the “Failed to retrieve a list of servers” for Samba problems in Ubuntu.  The answer was to add the following two lines to the [GLOBAL] section of the /etc/samba/smb.conf file (where you have edited the Windows WORKGROUP name to fit your network):

client lanman auth = Yes

lanman auth = Yes

As soon as I added those lines and restarted the Samba daemon (restart smbd), I could browse my Windows network.  Even better, on a whim, I opened up Rhythmbox and tried to set my network music folder as my default music folder.  It saw the resource and accepted it as a mounted system.  It’s already building the local index of songs!

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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.