Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a network hard drive that I want to access from my Linux system as well as some other computers that run Windows, but I have no idea how to go about doing this. The desktop environment Gnome has a "Browse Network" option, but it doesn't do anything at the moment. I've heard of NFS and Samba, but I'm having difficulties understanding how I'm supposed to configure them.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If the drive is already accessible from Windows, then it most likely uses SMB, not NFS. To enable SMB (Samba) support in GNOME, make sure you have gvfs-smb, gvfs-backends or similar package installed. This should be enough to allow browsing the network.

If you know the drive's IP address, press Ctrl+L in the file manager, then enter smb://address next to Location.

To access it by name, you might need, which usually comes as part of samba or winbind packages. Once you have it, edit the "hosts:" line of /etc/nsswitch.conf; add "wins" as the last item. Some distributions will do it for you automatically.

share|improve this answer
Thank you. Is there a way I can just view all the available computers/devices instead of having to enter the address or name? – someguy Feb 12 '12 at 21:06
Sorry, I should have searched myself before asking. The trick is to install smbnetfs. The workgroup should be mounted under /mnt/smbnet after starting the daemon. – someguy Feb 12 '12 at 21:13
@someguy: I did say that installing the apropriate Gvfs backend should be enough to enable network browsing in GNOME. – grawity Feb 12 '12 at 21:17
There is no gvfs-backends package for my system (Arch) or anything similar that installs smbnetfs. – someguy Feb 12 '12 at 21:20
@someguy: There is gvfs-smb, though. (I don't recommend using smbnetfs, but you can dig into the AUR and hope the old package still works.) – grawity Feb 12 '12 at 21:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.