Setup NAS4Free to Share with other Windows/Linux PCs

Most of the information posted on this page is available on the NAS4Free Wiki page available HERE.  I included some insight on my setup to make the Wiki instructions a little easier to follow for the common user.

We now have NAS4Free embedded in our NAS computer and we are ready set it up to start sharing data with other computers on the network (to see post about installing NAS4Free go HERE).  The easiest way to setup NAS4Free to share with other Windows/Linux PCs (or your Raspberry Pi) is to setup a “Common Internet File System” (CIFS/SMB).  The following instructions will be how to setup a CIF through the GUI, so you will need to access the GUI by entering the NAS IP address into your browser address bar (IP address configured on NAS4Free initial setup).

More Info: The Common Internet File System (CIFS/SMB) is the standard way in which files are accessed on a remote Windows® computer. Developed and maintained by Microsoft for use on their Windows® Platform, it has also been implemented on most major Operating Systems including OS X® and Linux using third party software, the most popular of which is Samba.

To setup a CIF first go to Services -> CIFS/SMB.

Work Shelf

Next you will see the following screen to setup your Common Internet File System

CIF Settings

The first option you see is the ‘Authentication’ drown down list.  This allows you setup how you want to authenticate users trying to access your files.  The options are listed in detail below (More info available at HERE)

Authentication: Choices are:

  • Anonymous – The server will not ask for credentials to access resources shared by this service. Users accessing resources shared by CIFS/SMB are using the credentials of the Guest Account. User Names and Passwords will not be required of any client accessing shared files that are owned or accessible by the Guest Account. Files not owned or inaccessible by the Guest Account will not be accessibleAnonymous is the default setting.
  • Local User – Credentials are required of all clients. User Names and Passwords are authenticated against the NAS4Free servers’ local users and groups database. A User Name and Password are necessary to access any shared resource. Clients needing access must use a previously created User account. See SUG Section 7.1-User Management on the NAS4Free Wiki page. Clients will have access only to files owned or accessible by the User account used to login.
  • Active Directory – Credentials are required of all clients. User Names and Passwords are authenticated against a Windows Active Directory® database maintained by a Windows Domain Server®. You must configure and enable Active Directory before selecting this setting, see SUG Section 7.2-Active Directory on the NAS4Free Wiki page. Prior to configuring Active Directory per Section 7.2 you must have an AD Domain and know how it is administered.

I chose ‘Local User’ due to the easy of setup and it much more secure than ‘Anonymous’ which has no user checks.

Here is more information provided on each option by the NAS4Free Wiki page.

  • NetBIOS Name: NetBIOS name is the name that the NAS4Free server will have on the Windows Network. When you want to access the CIFS Server you will use this name instead of the IP address.
  • Workgroup: All Windows machines belong to either a Workgroup (Homegroup in Windows 7®) or a Domain. You are responsible for knowing which you have and what it is called. You should enter your Workgroup or Domain Name here, clients and servers in different Workgroups or Domains will have difficulty seeing each other. The Default setting is “WORKGROUP”, which is commonly, though not always, the Default Windows® Workgroup.
  • Description: This is the server description. Including a description may be useful.
  • DOS Charset: The character set NAS4Free uses when communicating with Windows Clients. Default is CP437.
  • Unix Charset: The character set used internally by NAS4Free. Default is UTF-8.
  • Log Level: Sets the amount of log/debug messages that are sent to the log file. Default is “Minimum”, keep it this way for best performance unless more information is needed for troubleshooting.
  • Local Master Browser: Allows NAS4Free to try and become a local Master Browser. On most networks where you have a Windows Workgroup there should be 1 and only 1 Master Browser and it should be your server. An improper setting will result in erratic discovery of shared resources, i.e., your stuff will magically appear and disappear from the network from time to time making your head spin. If you have a large or complicated network, you built it, you ought to know how to properly set this.
  • Time Server: If your server has an accurate clock, you can instruct NAS4Free to advertise itself as an SMB time server to Windows Clients. You can then have the server update its clock using NTP over the Internet and have your clients update their clocks locally against the server. This reduces wasted bandwidth.

If you have never setup a network drive on a Window’s PC, the ‘Workgroup’ is an essential part of the setup.   If you setup a new ‘Workgroup’ for the CIF you will need to match it on the Window’s PC connecting to the NAS.

Next section will be the ‘Advanced Settings’.  Again you can see the definition of each option on the NAS4Free Wiki page HERE but I pulled the highlights below.

  • Guest Account: Use this option to change the Local Account whose credentials will be used by this service when “Authentication” is set to “Anonymous”. Default is ftp.
  • Create Mask: Use this option to override the file creation permissions. Default is 0666.
  • Directory Mask: Use this option to override the directory creation permissions. Default is 0777.
  • Send Buffer Size: Size of the send buffer. Default is 16384. For Win 98 use 8192.
  • Receive Buffer Size: Size of the receive buffer. Default is 16384. For Win 98 use 8192.
  • Large Read/Write: Use the new 64K streaming Read/Write variant SMB requests introduced with Windows 2000. Default is Enabled.
  • Use Sendfile: Activates SAMBA –with-sendfile-support switch, enhancing performance in most systems. Default is Enabled.
  • EA Support: Extended attribute support. Allows clients to attempt to store OS/2 style extended attributes on a share. Default is Disabled.
  • Store DOS Attributes: When enabled, SAMBA attempts to read DOS attributes from a filesystem extended attribute before mapping DOS attributes to UNIX permissions. Default is Enabled.
  • Null Passwords: Allow clients to access accounts that have null passwords. Default is Disabled.
  • Asynchronous I/O (AIO): Enables Asynchronous I/O (AIO) support enhancing performance.
  • Auxilary Parameters: Please see “SMB.conf Documentation” on Wiki page for details about parameters that may be used here.

Once everything is setup, select “Enable” to enable the CIF and then click “Save”.

Next we will setup “Shares” which will basically tell the NAS what files/folders/drives to share with other computers.  I will go over this on my next post.

2 thoughts on “Setup NAS4Free to Share with other Windows/Linux PCs

  1. Looking forward to the next post! This has been very helpful. I’m trying to create folders that are public and private. If I understand correctly, Anon will need to be set, and then alter the ownership of folders to create the private?

  2. Did you ever do a follow up to your Samba setup on N4F? I have the shares and user accounts working, but I am having issues with getting my machines to access the shares. I remember under linux that one had to setup permissions to allow the machine to access the work group, but I can’t remember the process.

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