There is a new version of this tutorial available for Debian 9 (Stretch).

Samba Server Installation on Debian 8 (Jessie)

This tutorial explains the installation of a Samba fileserver on Debian 8 (Jessie) and how to configure it to share files over the SMB protocol as well as how to add users. Samba is configured as a standalone server, not as a domain controller. In the resulting setup, every user has his own home directory accessible via the SMB protocol and all users have a shared directory with read-/write access.


1 Preliminary Note

I'm using a Debian 8 system here with the hostname and the IP address

I will use the nano editor in this tutorial to edit config files on the shell. Nano can be installed with the command:

apt-get install nano

If you have a different favorite shell editor like joe or vi, then use that instead.

To make the Linux server accessible by name from my Windows workstation, I will add a line to the hosts file on Windows. Run this command as Administrator user on Windows:

notepad C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

and add a line like this:	debian

at the end of the file. Replace the IP address with the server IP and the hostname with the hostname that you have chosen for your server.

2 Installing Samba

Connect to your server on the shell as root user and install the Samba packages:

apt-get install libcups2 samba samba-common cups

Move the current smb.conf file to smb.conf.bak:

mv /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf.bak

And then create a new file smb.conf file:

nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

With the following content:

workgroup = WORKGROUP
server string = Samba Server %v
netbios name = debian
security = user
map to guest = bad user
dns proxy = no

Replace WORKGROUP with the workgroup name that is used on your Windows clients. If you don't know the name of the workgroup, run this command on the Windows client to get the workgroup name:

net config workstation

Then close the Samba configuration file on the server and restart Samba:

systemctl restart smbd.service


3 Adding Samba Shares

Now I will add a share that is accessible by all users.

Create the directory for sharing the files and change the group to the users group:

mkdir -p /home/shares/allusers
chown -R root:users /home/shares/allusers/
chmod -R ug+rwx,o+rx-w /home/shares/allusers/
mkdir -p /home/shares/anonymous
chown -R root:users /home/shares/anonymous/
chmod -R ug+rwx,o+rx-w /home/shares/anonymous/

At the end of the file /etc/samba/smb.conf add the following lines:

nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

3.1 Group share

This is a share that is accessible and writable for all members of our "users" group. Add the following config at the end of the smb.conf file.

  comment = All Users
  path = /home/shares/allusers
  valid users = @users
  force group = users
  create mask = 0660
  directory mask = 0771
  writable = yes

3.2 Home directories

If you want all users to be able to read and write to their home directories via Samba, add the following lines to /etc/samba/smb.conf (make sure you comment out or remove the existing [homes] section):

   comment = Home Directories
   browseable = no
   valid users = %S
   writable = yes
   create mask = 0700
   directory mask = 0700

3.3 Anonymous share

You like to have a share were all users in your network can write to? Be careful, this share is open to anyone in the network, so use this only in local networks. Add an anonymous share like this:

   path = /home/shares/anonymous
   force group = users
create mask = 0660
directory mask = 0771
browsable =yes writable = yes guest ok = yes

Now we restart Samba:

systemctl restart smbd.service


4 Adding and Managing Users

In this example, I will add a user named tom. You can add as many users as you need, in the same way, just replace the username tom with the desired username in the commands.

useradd tom -m -G users

Set a password for tom in the Linux system user database. If the user tom should not be able to log into the Linux system, skip this step.

passwd tom

-> Enter the password for the new user.

Now add the user to the Samba user database:

smbpasswd -a tom

-> Enter the password for the new user.

Now you should be able to log in from your Windows workstation with the file explorer (address is \\ or \\\tom for tom's home directory) using the username tom and the chosen password and store files on the Linux server either in tom's home directory or in the public shared directory.

5 Accessing Samba from Windows

Now you can access the samba shares from your Windows Desktop. Open the command prompt and enter "//debian" to open a file explorer:

That shows the shares of our samba server.


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22 Comment(s)

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By: Raphael

Perfect work here!!! tks a lot dude!!! 


By: jwr


perfect setup for a tutorial. i would lile to suggest to use sudo apt-get install samba-common-bin enabeling passwords et cetera.



By: Andrey

Good tutorial.

But whay you installed additional packages libcups2 and cups if you did't use printing ?

By: Ganesan

Thanks much for the tutorial.  Working fine.  Is there anyway to access samba shares from client web browsers.

By: Ivan Avery Frey

Isn't it redundant to add libcups2 and samba-common as arguments to the apt-get install command above? After all cups depends on libcups2 and samba depends on samba-common so they would installed automatically.

By: Shafee

wow its very helpfull thnks

By: Kyle

Great tutorial, helped me set up a public folder for my server, read/write works perfectly etc.

I have a problem with the allusers share, on windows it will ask for password, but accept neither my account and pass, nor root. i tried with both "\kyle" and "kyle" as user names (windows domain thing)

By: Marin

This worked perfectly for my virtual machines, unfortunately, I can't get an OS X to connect to the samba server :(

By: Royce

As Andrey said, why include cups if you don't use printing?

By: damien

Perfect basic tutorial.Simple, efficient and working great.Thank a lot

By: Jose Fazenda

Great !

I have very little experience with Linux and I got that working in about 2 hours (working very slowly to understand all the steps).

Thanks a lot !


By: Jose Fazenda

It all went very well and Samba was already working well until I may have made a mistake and spoilled everything.

Before I started the procedure in this tutorial I had created a directory "shares" in my home directory because I thought I would put the shared files there (bad influence from Win).

After I completed the installation and everything was working fine, I notoced that the anothe folder "shares" had been created in the root directory and saw a folder with the same name in my home directory, which I thought was not needed so i used root priveledges to remove it.

I suspect that was a bad mistake because after that I cannot access samba anymore. I guess that folder in my home directory was now some link to the share data folders allusers and anonymous in the root area.

How can I correct that, or delete evrything and do a new installation from scratch?

I will appreciate any help any one can give me.

By: Paul

I would like to setup samba on an AD domain. My network really doesnt have workgroups as described in the section refering to smb.conf

Any help here?

By: Speakeasys

Thank you a ton for this article. I read so many others but kept running into issues with the shares not being found when I tried to mount them on my mac. 

By: RallyJarnet


By: Sandra

Good!! Thanks a lot :)

By: Javier

Very  good. Excellent !!!!!


By: Tsungie

Thank you very much, finally worked after a looong struggle. Thanks to you.

By: fernando

Perfeito! Funcionou conforme tutorial ;) Thanks

By: Justin

lol writing english, but german screenshots XD

By: Tony


My question is, why there is no SWAT 2:4.2.14+dfsg-0+deb8u6 ? The SWAT 2: 3.6.6-6 + deb7u13 does not install, with samba 2: 4.2.14 + dfsg-0 + deb8u6.......WHY?


By: DGabor

I read dozens of pages for sharing folder on Debian via samba and access it from windows 10. Now finally I found the best and the perfect (and clearly) solution. Thank you! Really!