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2. Introduction

This is the SMB HOWTO. This document describes how to use the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, also called the Session Message Block, NetBIOS or LanManager protocol, with Linux using Samba. Although this document is Linux-centric, Samba runs on most Unix-like operating systems.

This document is maintained by David Wood ( Additions, modifications or corrections may be mailed there for inclusion in the next release.

Much more Samba documentation is available at the Samba Web site, located at There is a tremendous amount of information there; please have a look before asking for help! You also might try the comp.protocols.smb newsgroup.

The SMB protocol is used by Microsoft Windows 3.11, NT and 95/98 to share disks and printers. Using the Samba suite of tools by Andrew Tridgell (, UNIX (including Linux) machines can share disk and printers with Windows hosts. The smbfs tools by Paal-Kr. Engstad ( and Volker Lendecke ( enable Unix machines to mount SMB shares from Windows or Samba hosts.

There are four basic things that one can do with Samba:

  1. Share a Linux drive with Windows machines.
  2. Access an SMB share with Linux machines.
  3. Share a Linux printer with Windows machines.
  4. Share a Windows printer with Linux machines.

All of these are covered in this document, plus a few other odds and ends.

Disclaimer: The procedures and scripts either work for the author or have been reported to work by the people that provided them. Different configurations may not work with the information given here. If you encounter such a situation, please e-mail the author with suggestions for improvement in this document.

Please note that for Windows 3.x machines to access SMB shares, they must have a TCP/IP stack and the Win32s DLLs. Both of these are available on Microsoft's Web site ( As of the writing of this version of the HOWTO, Microsoft are reportedly requiring a subscription to the Microsoft Software Developers Network (MSDN) to download the TCP/IP-32 stack for Windows 3.x from their Web site. Since this software used to be free, many older copies are in existance and may be acquired from friends and user group contacts.

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