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Out of curiosity, is using standard built-in Microsoft Windows file and folder sharing services the only way of running a CIFS/SMB server on a Windows machine or are there alternatives (like open source Samba Win32 builds)?

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I have found the answer myself, so let me share it for further reference:

There are Win32 versions of Samba and smbclient available. This smbclient version works just fine on Windows 7 32-bit and lets you to access Windows shares from command line without mounting then as network drives. The only problem is it requires cygwin to be installed.

UPDATE: Another problem is that I am still fighting with codepages...

UPDATE2: I have managed to figure out (experimentally) the correct codepages configuration for international non-ASCII setup, this is my smb.conf file that makes it work perfectly:

[global]
workgroup = WORKGROUP
unix charset = UTF8
dos charset = UCS-2LE
display charset = UTF8
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Thanks for coming back a year later to provide an answer :) –  Jason Aug 21 at 16:48
    
I could find no answers googling it when I have posted this but now google "samba win32" gives some answers. –  Ivan Aug 21 at 16:52
    
Keep in mind that SMB is a Microsoft protocol, which is why it's so unorthodox to not use the Windows client. Microsoft does have a great article explaining how to change which version of the client you're using. –  Jason Aug 21 at 17:28
    
The page you have linked to says "Sorry, the page you requested is not available.", @Jason. –  Ivan Aug 22 at 12:07
    
I actually prefer to disable all protocols but TCP/IP for Windows network interfaces and block all (but critical like DNS) system-network interaction with a firewall to prevent viruses, exploits etc (I still remember viruses that used to infect machines through Windows CIFS implementation vulnerabilities). But I still need to access SAMBA shares on occasion. That's why I am trying to run the SAMBA client on Windows. I also plan to implement a GUI "commander" of my own or a Total Commander plug-in for this when I succeed (I am still fighting with codepage problems and cygwin dependance). –  Ivan Aug 22 at 12:13

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