Tag Archives: Operating Systems

Mounting a drive as a directory

Many people may know Windows has a subst.exe command which allows you to temporarily substitute a folder on your computer for another drive letter.

Windows 7 (may be available on other operating systems too, it’s probably alway been there but I’ve not noticed it before!) has an additional interesting feature that lets you map a complete hard drive to a virtual folder on another drive. Assuming you have two drives in your computer, To enable this, first go to Control Panel > System and Security > Create and format Disk Partitions. This loads up the disk management console:

Disk Management Console

From here, right click on the drive you want to mount as a virtual directory, and select ‘Change Drive letter and paths”:

Right-Click menu

To mount a partition as a virtual directory first the existing drive assignment must be removed. Click on the existing drive letter and select the Remove button. Assuming you’ve read the warning about removing a drive letter assignment and clicked yes to remove, enter the drive letter assignment menu again, and this time select the ‘Add’ button. (Tip: you must create a directory first, click the New Folder button under the Browse for directory dialog to create one.)

Assigning a directory

Click ok and open Windows explorer. It is now possible to see this directory as a linked folder:

This is especially useful to extend the space on an existing machine while not requiring operating system upgrades, re-installs and so on.

Installing Samba – the most minimalist install possible!

Samba makes it easier to access your files from Windows and other operating systems. It can also be very complicated to install and configure! As with most things on Linux there are several ways of doing this. A Samba client is installed by default with Redhat. However to allow a Windows machine to connect to your Redhat shares a Samba Server is required.

A binary distribution for redhat is available that makes it much easier to install and configure. You can download this from http://www.enterprisesamba.com. A direct link for the redhat version is http://ftp.sernet.de/pub/samba/3.5/rhel/5/i386

Like most software on Linux, the piece of software you want to install (Samba Server) depends on some other modules that are not installed. To get Samba installed you must first install these other modules.
In this case, fortunately they are all available at the same location. Save the
required files to your desktop before double clicking on them in turn to
install the rpm. You can ignore warnings about unsigned RPM’s and install
anyway.

In this configuration, the modules you must download and install (in order) are:

            libwbclient0-3.5.11-44.el5.i386.rpm

libsmbclient0-3.5.11-44.el5.i386.rpm

samba3-client-3.5.11-44.el5.i386.rpm

samba3-3.5.11-44.el5.i386.rpm

This completes the installation of Samba. The next step is to configure it so that it can be used. Using a root user terminal window, navigate to /etc/samba.

Using gedit, modify the smb.conf file. This is the global configuration file for Samba. There are a bewildering number of options here that may or may not be relevant to a particular installation. Refer to the Samba documentation for more details. In this example a simple share will be created. Enter the data into the file listed in image smb.conf.

Contents of smb.conf

Save and close the editor.

The next step is to add a user to the samba database.
The login and samba user databases are different, and so alternative logins can
be used.  However, to keep things simple
the same username and password will be added into the Samba database.

Samba password entry

At this point Samba is installed and configured but is
still not running. It’s best to ensure that Samba is started on bootup – that
way you don’t have to start it every time you start the machine.

You can do this by running a command ‘chkconfig’ at the terminal prompt:

chkconfig configuration

Restarting the virtual machine will now start the Samba
service. However, if you want to start it immediately you can do this by issuing the command manually. You can also check that it’s running afterwards by using the ‘ps’ command:

Checking if a process is running with the 'ps' command

That’s it, Samba is installed configured and running!

You can check your installation is available by finding
your ip adress and connecting to it from your Windows machine. To do this, first find out your ip address by running the command /sbin/ifconfig

Now, open Windows explorer on your desktop and navigate to \\<ipaddress> e.g \\10.120.10.10. When prompted for username and password enter the same username and password as you entered when adding them to the Samba
database earlier.

Entering samba user password

Now connected, you can browse create and delete directories in your home directory.