How to connect to Linux Samba shares from Windows

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to connect Windows 10 or 11 to your data center Samba shares, Jack Wallen eases your concern with the simple steps to make this work.

Bangkok, Thailand - July 13, 2019 : Laptop user pressing Windows Key on Microsoft Windows keyboard.
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When Windows 10 was released, it seemingly broke the ability to easily connect to Linux Samba shares. It appeared one could not write to Linux share from Windows 10. Considering how many businesses rely on Samba for the sharing of folders, this was a bad move on the part of Microsoft. Fortunately, the ability to connect to Samba shares wasn’t actually removed from the Windows platform, it was merely tucked a bit out of sight.

I want to walk you through the process of making that connection between Windows 10/11 and your Linux shares.

For this tutorial, I will assume you have both Windows 10 or 11 installed on a machine (or multiple machines) and a Samba share at the ready from your data center. With that said: Let’s connect.

Connecting to your server

Open up File Explorer and then right-click on This PC (in the left pane). From the resulting context menu, select Add A Network Location (Figure A).

Figure A

A new wizard will open, one that will walk you through the process of creating a shortcut for a new network location within File Explorer. Click Next in the Welcome window. In the resulting screen (Figure B), click Choose A Custom Network Location (the only option) and then click Next.

Figure B

Next you must enter the IP address of your Samba server (Figure C) in the form of //SERVER_IP/SHARE, where SERVER_IP is the IP address of your Samba server and SHARE is the name of the share you want to add.

Figure C

Click Next to continue on. In the next window (Figure D), type a name for the network location. A default name will be picked up by the Samba server, you can either use that or enter a custom name that makes it easier for you to remember either where the share is or what is housed within the share.

Figure D

Click Next to reach the final screen of the wizard. Here (Figure E) click Finish and the share is now ready for you to use.

Figure E

And that is all there is to connecting a Windows 10 machine to a Samba share in your data center. It’s not quite as easy as it once was, but the feature is, in fact, still there.

How to connect from Windows 11

With Windows 11, it is much easier to make the connection. Simply open the file manager and in the address bar (Figure F) and type \\SERVER\SHARE, where SERVER is the IP address of the machine hosting the Samba share and SHARE is the name of the actual share.

Figure F

Connecting to a Samba share from Windows 11 is considerably easier than it was in Windows 10.

After hearing a number of people coming to me asking why they can not write to Linux share from Windows 10, I’m happy to tell you that it is not, in fact, broken. Although it’s a bit hidden away, you can still make that much needed desktop to data center connection.