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Tips and Tricks

These are solutions to computer problems that we have worked out over the years. We are posting them online so that these solutions can benefit other people. Hopefully, there is something here for you...


After a lot of searching, we are using Oracle Enterprise Linux. It is a close copy of RedHat Enterprise Linux at half the price. In addition, it is guaranteed to work with Oracle, one of our preferred databases. These procedures are written with the Oracle Linux GUI in mind.

Creating private Samba shares for Windows users as a replacement for a Windows Server

The objective to use a Linux Server as a File Server for shared documents and as Backup Storage for personal files.

File Server: This is a public area where all shared documents are stored. The Samba program exposes selected directories to the Windows network.

Backup Storage: Every night, a backup program runs that copies selected local PC files to a private space on the Linux server. This space contains most of C:\Documents and Settings\UserName and other files that need to be backed up. The space must be private, to prevent other users from browsing personal emails and documents. The backups are run between 11:00 PM and 2:00 AM. They are scheduled at different time to reduce network congestion when copying to the server.

Once the PC backups are done, a script is run that compresses all the data and archives it to a removable USB drive. Each morning, the operator dismounts the USB drive and replaces it with another one. The USB drive can then be removed from the premises.

Note: Both the public File Server space and the private Backup Storage are in /usr/netshare . This was done to facilitate archiving and off-site copies. In Linux:

1) Create Linux users
Applications, System Settings, Users and Groups (You will need to supply the root password)
Add User: User Name: UserName ; Full Name: User Name ; Password: userpassword ; OK to create

2) Create private folder in /usr/netshare/users/UserName for each user
Applications, File Browser ; In /usr/netshare/users, right-click and create a folder ; Rename 'untitled folder' to the UserName
To Change ownership and only allow the owner to read/write/execute, use Applications, System Tools, Terminal
su superuser ; chown UserName /usr/netshare/users/UserName to change ownership, then chmod 700 /usr/netshare/users/UserName to restrict the rights.

3) Configure Samba and create personal share(s)
Applications, Server Settings, Samba (You will need to supply the root password)
Preferences, Server Settings, Security tab ; Authentication Mode: User ; Encrypt Passwords: Yes ; Guest Account: No guest account

to create a Samba user, use Preferences, Samba Users ; Add User ; Unix Username: UserName should be in pull-down menu ; Windows Username: WinUsername ; Samba Password: SambaUserPassword ; OK to create user ; OK to exit Samba Users
click Add to add a share ; Directory: /usr/netshare/users/UserName (which is the private folder that was just created) ; Share name: UserName (this will be the name visible in Windows) ; Description: Personal Share for UserName ; Basic Permissions: Read/Write
Access tab ; Only allow access to specific users: select Samba username

In Windows: the server should be displayed, with all the share names as entered. The UserName folder(s) should be visible but cannot be opened.
Typing 'NET USE' at the command prompt will display all current shares.
You can ONLY have one share per connection name. If you try to create multiple shares to the same server, you may get 'Credentials supplied conflict with an existing set of credentials'. Using the IP of the server is a way around that restriction.
Use 'NET USE \\ServerName\ShareName /delete' to delete any existing shares.
NET USE \\ServerName\public to check that the share works
NET USE U: \\\UserName /USER:UserName UserPassword
Example: NET USE U: \\\adamw /USER:adamw adamwpass

Once the NET USE is done, you will be able to access the shares without a problem (hopefully).
We will post the smb.conf file shortly...