Samba server and Win2000 client

A few things that had to be done before a Win2000 machine could access the shares offered by a Samba server.

An existing arrangement was working well, having Samba acting as file and print server on a GNU/Linux machine and various Windows9x and DOS machines acting as clients. However a machine running Windows 2000 was not able to make use of the file or print sharing.

Content revision history:
Article first written, spring 2004

Background information

The file server was equipped with SuSE Linux 9.0 and samba version 2.2.5 and the same machine also provided DNS for the local network. The Windows 2000 machine was using an “out-of-the-box” version of Win2000 bought in early 2002. All machines were interlinked with standard 100Mb/s ethernet connections.

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Setting the IP address for a toaster requires skilled manipulation of mechanical controls and should only be performed by trained and qualified personnel equipped with appropriate protective clothing.

The Samba server was working entirely satisfactorily with two Windows 98 clients and the set-up of those machines had been straightforward and relatively trouble-free. However, when a Windows 2000 system was added to the network the same easy configuration was not repeated:

The network connection to the Win2000 box was known to be working; this was easily established by issuing “ping” requests from the Win2K machine to machines on the local network and then to named machines in the wider world. The successful responses for the pings demonstrated both basic connectivity and also that the Win2000 machine was making proper use of the local DNS nameserver and local gateway machines. However the Samba server was not visible in the network window of the Windows 2000 machine and no connections could be made to the Samba server.

Eventually the following adjustments brought about the desired result.

On the samba machine

  • A line was added to the global section of the smb.conf file. This line simply gave the machine a netbios name:
    netbios name = XXXX.
    Substitute whatever suits you for the XXXX in this line.
  • After making this change Samba was restarted which, on a SuSE machine, can be accomplished with the command: rcsmb restart

On the Win2000 machine

The following steps need to be performed by somebody with “administrator” priviledges so, before you start and to avoid frustration and confusion, ensure that you are logged in as an administrator and not as an ordinary user.

  • The netbios protocol had to be installed in addition to the TCP/IP protocol.
  • The machine was allocated to workgroup "LinuxNetwork", this being the name defined on the Samba machine. The default workgroup name is “workgroup” so this had to be changed to match the name defined by the samba server. To change the work group name the following steps are needed:
    1. Open the control panel.
    2. Click on the “system” icon.
    3. Choose the network identification tab.
    4. Click the properties button.
    5. Give the computer a name.
    6. Click the radio button to make the computer a member of a work group.
    7. Type the work group name.
  • As is the way with Windows machines, the Win2K machine had to be rebooted regularly.
  • Once the workgroup has been changed to match the Samba machine and the Windows 2K client has been restarted, it should be possible to open the “My Network Places” folder (found on the desktop if Win2K is newly installed) and then choose the “computers near me”. At this point the Samba server should be visible in the window.
  • Clicking the icon for the Samba server will reveal the resources that the server is offering to share with the client.
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