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Share folders via Samba without a password – easy! June 3, 2007

Posted by amazingrando in Linux Tips, Windows-Linux Transition.


Coming from the Windows world to Linux, one of the first things I wanted to do was to share directories on Ubuntu with my Windows laptop to easily transfer files. In Windows I can just right click a folder, go to sharing, and enable it. No users and passwords to set up. It goes without saying that this is not secure and you want to be careful doing it, but it’s a great way to share files between computers at home.

Sadly, it’s not yet that easy to do this in Ubuntu (let me know if there’s a simple way to do it with other distros). Ubuntu makes it easy to install the samba server. If it’s not already installed, you can right click on a directory and try to share it. It will ask you to install samba. You can also use sudo apt-get install samba or via the add/remove programs under the application menu.

Ubuntu, however, isn’t able to set it up for anyone to access without logging in, yet. It will only share with a login and password. So, to do this you’ll need to edit your /etc/samba/smb.conf file. Here’s how share a folder without a password or login:

  1. In a terminal type sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf (kubuntu users type kdesu kate /etc/samba/smb.conf)
  2. Find the ### Authentication ### section (might be called Administration in older versions of Samba), where it says security = user
  3. Change it to security = share and make sure the line does not start with a semicolon. If it does, remove it.
  4. A few lines down from that you’ll see ; guest account = nobody Remove the semicolon at the beginning of the line.
  5. Scroll to the very bottom of the file and put in the following, adjusted for your own system[Share name]
    writable = yes
    path = /path/to/directory
    public = yes
    guest ok = yes
    guest only = yes
    guest account = nobody
    browsable = yes
  6. Save the file and quit gedit
  7. In the terminal restart the samba server to reload the conf file sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

That should do it. If you want to try a more sophisticated way to configure shares, there is a GUI application called gsambad. I’ve found it overkill for just doing a simple share, but for others it might be quite useful. In Ubuntu you can download it from add/remove programs.