Nov 2010 -  DRAFT v2


How to Integrate a (wired) Ubuntu 10.10 pc into a Windows Home Network


Objectives of this Guide


To have a Ubuntu PC fully integrated with a pre-existing home network of Windows pc's, & capable of two-way file transfers, and media streaming.


Who is this guide intended for?


It is intended to be a practical basic guide for interested PC users, as opposed to technically trained people.


The guide assumes a reasonable 'experienced user' knowledge of:


- Windows File & Folder usage


- Setting up a small home network of Windows pc's that can share files, an internet connection, & printer.


Some rudimentary user knowledge of Ubuntu: installation, files & folders.


Pre-conditions for Success using this guide


A pre-existing peer-to-peer home Windows network with a broadband modem/router that can already share files, connect to the internet, & print.


It is assumed that the Windows pc's 'Obtain their IP Addresses Automatically' from the modem/router.


The use of Ubuntu 10.10


Provenance of this Guide


This guide is distilled from my notes of around 50 installations of  various Ubuntu releases over 5 years on various pc's, as I learned how to 'transparently' integrate Ubuntu based pc's into my home network of 6 Windows pc's (& a couple of Mac's)


The notes & settings in this guide are the actual ones used to configure Ubuntu pc's that are fully integrated on my network right now, and doing useful work. I tested this guide by following it exactly as it is written on fresh installations.


I am certain that there is room for improvement in the process, but for now it is reasonably straightforward, repeatable, and lets me get on with using, learning about & evaluating Ubuntu Linux in a practical situation.



Overview of the Process


Step 1 - Install Ubuntu, update the installation, check basic functionality & internet connection


Step 2 - Create a folder in Ubuntu & prepare it for sharing on the network (which installs SAMBA...)


Step 3 - Access the Ubuntu pc from a Windows pc on your network


  NB - Although many of the following screenshots were taken from earlier versions of Ubuntu , they are still valid for version 10.10


Step 1 - Install Ubuntu 10.10


After a basic install while connected to your pre-existing Windows network, internet access from the Ubuntu PC should work straight away.


Internet access by the Ubuntu PC is essential to this process. Do not proceed unless it is working.


By default, a lot of networking capability on the Ubuntu machine is already working:


On the bar at the top of the Ubuntu desktop, in Places > Network,  you will see the 'Windows Network' icon.- see note 1 at the end of this guide


You will also see icons for each of the pc's on your network.


D/clicking on the icon of a pc will display it’s shared folders.


When you D/click on a shared folder, it's contents are displayed, and a shortcut to the Windows shared folder will appear on the Ubuntu desktop.

This shortcut will be removed automatically at the next reboot, or it can removed by right-clicking on it & selecting ‘Unmount Volume’


  So, by default,  from your Ubuntu PC, you can transfer files between the Ubuntu Desktop (and other folders) & Windows Shared folders


However, the Ubuntu pc cannot be seen from the Windows pc's.


The rest of this guide shows how to make the Ubuntu pc visible to & accessible by the Windows pc’s on your home network.




Step 2 - Create a folder in Ubuntu to become visible on the network & prepare it for Sharing.


You could think of this new folder becoming your Ubuntu equivalent of the 'Shared Documents' folder in Windows.


Right-click on the Ubuntu desktop & create the new folder called, say, 810 Shared

Right-click on the 810 Shared folder, and select Sharing Options

 A dialog saying Folder Sharing will appear. Select the Share this Folder’ box


After a short delay, a dialog saying' Sharing Service is not installed' will appear.



Click on Install Service     Ubuntu will ask for your login password


This will cause a program called Samba to be downloaded from the internet & installed


Wait for the installation to complete with the message Changes Applied, then close the dialog.


NOW REBOOT THE UBUNTU PC – I know you shouldn’t have to, but I have found this to be essential on some installations, so why not….


Right-click on the 810 Shared folder, and again select Sharing Options


The dialog saying Folder Sharing will re-appear, with more options now available:


Select all three option boxes


Click on Create Share.


A dialog ‘Nautilus needs to add some permissions…..’ appears. 

Click on ‘Add the permissions automatically’    



The icon for the shared folder will now change to indicate sharing by displaying a double arrow:

At this point, the Ubuntu PC will become visible to Windows PCs on the network:


Step 3 - Access the Ubuntu pc from a Windows PC.

Windows 7:

On a Windows 7 PC, go to 'Control Panel' >'Network & Internet' > 'Network & Sharing Center'


Click on the Network icon to show the PC's on your network:


In my case, the pc called SHADOW is running Ubuntu 10.10:


Double-clicking on the icon of the Ubuntu PC will reveal the shared folder you set up earlier:


Double-clicking on the icon of the folder will display the contents:




Windows XP:

On a Windows XP PC, go to 'My Network Places' > 'View Workgroup Computers'

The icon of the Ubuntu pc will be shown, and when clicking on it a password is requested.


Enter the login name & password of the Ubuntu PC you are connecting to:



You can then see & access the Ubuntu shared folder you created in step 2.   


Job done.....


Note 1

D/clicking on the 'Windows Network' icon will take you to [the name of your windows network], in my case workgroup

D/clicking on workgroup will display all the pc's currently on your network within the workgroup workgroup, ie the same pc's that are displayed alongside the 'Windows Network' icon in the first place.


I do not pretend to understand this apparent duplication....




NB: Depending on how your windows network is configured, you may want to make changes to the Windows workgroup names in use by the pc’s on the network, to keep the entire network in the same workgroup – see the ‘About Windows Workgroups’ guide via the home page…



Back to the Home Page