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Thread: Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

    Hi, I've an old laptop with Ubuntu Mate 18.04 and I've installed an OpenVPN server to be able to connect to the laptop from a Windows 10 installation in other laptop.

    The VPN it's working (I've followed this tutorial and did all steps, even the optionals ), I've copied the .ovpn file on the config intallation folder of OpenVPN on Windows and when I start the program, it's shows the popup with the message that the connection was succesfull and the icon turns green.

    When I open the Windows Explorer, I don't see any machine on my LAN. If I put on the explorer bar address "\\" I get a blank screen, I've tried to put "\\\home" or "\\\myUserName" on the explorer bar address but I get a message " exists, but couldn't find home". After search on internet and on this forums, I've tried to configure Samba, following this guide: but I wasn't able to make it work, I did the "File Sharing (Basics)" option.

    I also have tried to do right click on the folder I want to share, "share options" and check all checkboxes, but nothing happens.

    I've tried other tutorials and guides but I don't know what I'm missing or doing wrong. Someone knows what I'm missing or doing wrong?


    My /etc/samba/smb.conf looks like this:

    # Sample configuration file for the Samba suite for Debian GNU/Linux.
    # This is the main Samba configuration file. You should read the
    # smb.conf(5) manual page in order to understand the options listed
    # here. Samba has a huge number of configurable options most of which 
    # are not shown in this example
    # Some options that are often worth tuning have been included as
    # commented-out examples in this file.
    #  - When such options are commented with ";", the proposed setting
    #    differs from the default Samba behaviour
    #  - When commented with "#", the proposed setting is the default
    #    behaviour of Samba but the option is considered important
    #    enough to be mentioned here
    # NOTE: Whenever you modify this file you should run the command
    # "testparm" to check that you have not made any basic syntactic 
    # errors. 
    #======================= Global Settings =======================
    ## Browsing/Identification ###
    # Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of
       workgroup = WORKGROUP
    # server string is the equivalent of the NT Description field
        server string = %h server (Samba, Ubuntu)
    # Windows Internet Name Serving Support Section:
    # WINS Support - Tells the NMBD component of Samba to enable its WINS Server
    ;        wins support = no
    # WINS Server - Tells the NMBD components of Samba to be a WINS Client
    # Note: Samba can be either a WINS Server, or a WINS Client, but NOT both
    ;   wins server = w.x.y.z
    # This will prevent nmbd to search for NetBIOS names through DNS.
       dns proxy = no
    #### Networking ####
    # The specific set of interfaces / networks to bind to
    # This can be either the interface name or an IP address/netmask;
    # interface names are normally preferred
    ;   interfaces = 10.*.*.*/24 wlp2s0 eth0
    # Only bind to the named interfaces and/or networks; you must use the
    # 'interfaces' option above to use this.
    # It is recommended that you enable this feature if your Samba machine is
    # not protected by a firewall or is a firewall itself.  However, this
    # option cannot handle dynamic or non-broadcast interfaces correctly.
    ;   bind interfaces only = yes
    #### Debugging/Accounting ####
    # This tells Samba to use a separate log file for each machine
    # that connects
       log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m
    # Cap the size of the individual log files (in KiB).
       max log size = 1000
    # If you want Samba to only log through syslog then set the following
    # parameter to 'yes'.
    #   syslog only = no
    # We want Samba to log a minimum amount of information to syslog. Everything
    # should go to /var/log/samba/log.{smbd,nmbd} instead. If you want to log
    # through syslog you should set the following parameter to something higher.
       syslog = 0
    # Do something sensible when Samba crashes: mail the admin a backtrace
       panic action = /usr/share/samba/panic-action %d
    ####### Authentication #######
    # Server role. Defines in which mode Samba will operate. Possible
    # values are "standalone server", "member server", "classic primary
    # domain controller", "classic backup domain controller", "active
    # directory domain controller". 
    # Most people will want "standalone sever" or "member server".
    # Running as "active directory domain controller" will require first
    # running "samba-tool domain provision" to wipe databases and create a
    # new domain.
       server role = standalone server
    # If you are using encrypted passwords, Samba will need to know what
    # password database type you are using.  
       passdb backend = tdbsam
       obey pam restrictions = yes
    # This boolean parameter controls whether Samba attempts to sync the Unix
    # password with the SMB password when the encrypted SMB password in the
    # passdb is changed.
       unix password sync = yes
    # For Unix password sync to work on a Debian GNU/Linux system, the following
    # parameters must be set (thanks to Ian Kahan <<> for
    # sending the correct chat script for the passwd program in Debian Sarge).
       passwd program = /usr/bin/passwd %u
       passwd chat = *Enter\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *Retype\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *password\supdated\ssuccessfully* .
    # This boolean controls whether PAM will be used for password changes
    # when requested by an SMB client instead of the program listed in
    # 'passwd program'. The default is 'no'.
       pam password change = yes
    # This option controls how unsuccessful authentication attempts are mapped
    # to anonymous connections
       map to guest = bad user
    ########## Domains ###########
    # The following settings only takes effect if 'server role = primary
    # classic domain controller', 'server role = backup domain controller'
    # or 'domain logons' is set 
    # It specifies the location of the user's
    # profile directory from the client point of view) The following
    # required a [profiles] share to be setup on the samba server (see
    # below)
    ;   logon path = \\%N\profiles\%U
    # Another common choice is storing the profile in the user's home directory
    # (this is Samba's default)
    #   logon path = \\%N\%U\profile
    # The following setting only takes effect if 'domain logons' is set
    # It specifies the location of a user's home directory (from the client
    # point of view)
    ;   logon drive = H:
    #   logon home = \\%N\%U
    # The following setting only takes effect if 'domain logons' is set
    # It specifies the script to run during logon. The script must be stored
    # in the [netlogon] share
    # NOTE: Must be store in 'DOS' file format convention
    ;   logon script = logon.cmd
    # This allows Unix users to be created on the domain controller via the SAMR
    # RPC pipe.  The example command creates a user account with a disabled Unix
    # password; please adapt to your needs
    ; add user script = /usr/sbin/adduser --quiet --disabled-password --gecos "" %u
    # This allows machine accounts to be created on the domain controller via the 
    # SAMR RPC pipe.  
    # The following assumes a "machines" group exists on the system
    ; add machine script  = /usr/sbin/useradd -g machines -c "%u machine account" -d /var/lib/samba -s /bin/false %u
    # This allows Unix groups to be created on the domain controller via the SAMR
    # RPC pipe.  
    ; add group script = /usr/sbin/addgroup --force-badname %g
    ############ Misc ############
    # Using the following line enables you to customise your configuration
    # on a per machine basis. The %m gets replaced with the netbios name
    # of the machine that is connecting
    ;   include = /home/samba/etc/smb.conf.%m
    # Some defaults for winbind (make sure you're not using the ranges
    # for something else.)
    ;   idmap uid = 10000-20000
    ;   idmap gid = 10000-20000
    ;   template shell = /bin/bash
    # Setup usershare options to enable non-root users to share folders
    # with the net usershare command.
    # Maximum number of usershare. 0 (default) means that usershare is disabled.
    ;   usershare max shares = 100
    # Allow users who've been granted usershare privileges to create
    # public shares, not just authenticated ones
       usershare allow guests = yes
    #======================= Share Definitions =======================
    # Un-comment the following (and tweak the other settings below to suit)
    # to enable the default home directory shares. This will share each
    # user's home directory as \\server\username
       comment = Home Directories
       browseable = yes
    # By default, the home directories are exported read-only. Change the
    # next parameter to 'no' if you want to be able to write to them.
       read only = no
    # File creation mask is set to 0700 for security reasons. If you want to
    # create files with group=rw permissions, set next parameter to 0775.
       create mask = 0775
    # Directory creation mask is set to 0700 for security reasons. If you want to
    # create dirs. with group=rw permissions, set next parameter to 0775.
       directory mask = 0775
    # By default, \\server\username shares can be connected to by anyone
    # with access to the samba server.
    # Un-comment the following parameter to make sure that only "username"
    # can connect to \\server\username
    # This might need tweaking when using external authentication schemes
    ;   valid users = %S
    # Un-comment the following and create the netlogon directory for Domain Logons
    # (you need to configure Samba to act as a domain controller too.)
    ;   comment = Network Logon Service
    ;   path = /home/samba/netlogon
    ;   guest ok = yes
    ;   read only = yes
    # Un-comment the following and create the profiles directory to store
    # users profiles (see the "logon path" option above)
    # (you need to configure Samba to act as a domain controller too.)
    # The path below should be writable by all users so that their
    # profile directory may be created the first time they log on
    ;   comment = Users profiles
    ;   path = /home/samba/profiles
    ;   guest ok = no
    ;   browseable = no
    ;   create mask = 0600
    ;   directory mask = 0700
       comment = All Printers
       browseable = no
       path = /var/spool/samba
       printable = yes
       guest ok = no
       read only = yes
       create mask = 0700
    # Windows clients look for this share name as a source of downloadable
    # printer drivers
       comment = Printer Drivers
       path = /var/lib/samba/printers
       browseable = yes
       read only = yes
       guest ok = no
    # Uncomment to allow remote administration of Windows print drivers.
    # You may need to replace 'lpadmin' with the name of the group your
    # admin users are members of.
    # Please note that you also need to set appropriate Unix permissions
    # to the drivers directory for these users to have write rights in it
    ;   write list = root, @lpadmin
    Last edited by Aker666; July 2nd, 2018 at 10:14 PM. Reason: Add samba config file

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

    Using CIFS over openVPN often has performance issues.
    Getting openvpn working properly is a non-trivial thing. There are thousands of options.

    Perhaps you'd consider using sftp to access/manage files instead? ssh/sftp is bonehead in comparison.
    a) you need ssh working anyways. Never allow passwords over the internet! Block brute force attempts too.
    b) sftp is included for free by the ssh-server.
    c) Pretty much all Linux file managers support sftp:// URLs ; the file managers honor ssh-keys and ssh-certs along with ~/.ssh/config files.
    d) WinSCP is the Windows drag-n-drop solution for sftp access.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

    Hi, thanks for the suggestions! But I want a shared folder to be able to reproduce any media file on it. If I use a ftp I have to tranfer the file first before can play it.

    My idea was that my sister could connect to my laptop (she is far from home) and download content on it (because her internet it's slow compared with my speed connection) and reproduce them in a kind of "streaming" over a VPN, as she would be connected if she was at home on the local network.

    But I don't know if this can be done, or I'm doing it in the wrong way.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

    CIFS is a bad solution for streaming media, even on a local network.

    You want something like Plex Server for that. You can use Plex with a VPN to avoid all paid apps or even having a plex account. Using a VPN is a good solution. Be certain to use UDP if you can. TCP has overhead that matter more on slow connections.

    Plex has a web interface on port 32400 ... so when I want to access either the media or admin setup stuff, http://plex-server-ip:32400/web is the URL. That is where you configure the different libraries. The VPN and plex server must be on the same subnet by default. Newer versions of Plex let you add netmasks other than /24. I think it allows listing a few subnets too, but if they are outside your LAN, always use a VPN.

    Why am I pushing Plex? Mainly because it can transcode video down to the level supported by the connection. If you have 1080p hidef content, but her connection can only handle DVD-quality (480p), then plex can transcode the video down to that resolution and bitrate. This is a big deal that is hard to explain. For audio files, it doesn't really matter. If her connection can't handle DVD quality, then plex can go lower. I've streamed from 5 continents using Plex.
    Plex knows how to transcode based on the renderer. Some playback devices only handle h.264 video and nothing else. If your media is in a different format, perhaps mpeg2 which is what broadcast TV uses here. Or if you have older xvid or divx media, then plex can transcode it to h.264.
    Any DLNA client can be used. VLC v3.x works, but so does kodi, OSMC, and a number of other DLNA programs.

    The bad things about plex are
    * it is NOT F/LOSS. It is free, but proprietary.
    * all the links for plex on their website push people to buy the paid clients. These aren't needed.
    * Plex implies that a plex account is necessary for things to work. This just isn't true. I don't have a plex account and have NEVER had a plex account. A plex account does allow some features - like remote streaming through plex clients anywhere. OTOH, you have to trust Plex with your data and all security.

    Definitely use a VPN. Never forget that if you aren't paying for a service, then your data and habits are the product.

    I don't know of any other solution that transcodes video based on the client and bandwidth. There are other streaming solutions, many are pretty cool for LAN needs with powerful playback devices. Transcoding down to lower bitrates is what you probably need.

    Or did I misread?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: Unable to configure shared folders over VPN

    Hi TheFu, no you didn't misread. I hand't thought about the transcoding phase, so maybe my approach it's not the best. I'm going to see if the Plex way fits my needs and dig a bit more.

    Thank you for your help and suggestions!

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