Linux and Windows systems have major differences, with different file systems and protocols in use. Sharing files between them can be difficult, especially because they use two different sharing protocols.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to mount a Windows share folder on Linux, however. Follow along below to find out how.
Share Your Windows Folder
Before you do anything, you need to ensure that Windows has been correctly set up to allow for networking file sharing.
To enable this on Windows 10, right-click on the network icon in the notifications area of your Windows taskbar. From here, click “Open Network & Internet Settings.”
Under the “Status” category, click “Sharing options.”
In your Windows sharing options menu, make sure that “Turn on network discovery” and “Turn on file and printer sharing” are enabled.
Click the radio buttons next to both options to make sure this is the case.
Click “Save changes” to save your settings. Once this is done, open Windows File Explorer and locate the folder you’re looking to share with your Linux PC.
Right-click the folder and click “Properties.”
In your folder properties, click the “Sharing” tab, then click “Advanced Sharing.” Click to enable the “Share this folder” checkbox, then click “Permissions.”
Under the “Permissions” section, set the control rights for your folder. By default, Windows will grant read-only access to your files.
If you want to allow everyone to read or write to the folder, click “Allow” for the “Full Control” permissions set. Set these permissions to suit your own requirements.
Once you’re done, click “OK” three times to close each of the dialog boxes.
Your folder should now be shared on your network, ready for you to access from your Linux PC.
Depending on your Linux distribution, you may be able to mount your Windows-shared folder automatically in your distribution’s file explorer.
However, this may not work correctly. The safest way to mount Windows-shared folders on Linux is to use the CIFS-utils package and mount the folder using the Linux terminal.
This allows Linux machines to access SMB file shares used by Windows PCs.
To install CIFS-utils, open a new terminal window. For Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions, type:
For Arch users, type:
Once installed, you can then mount your Windows share folder from the Linux terminal.
Mount Windows SMB Share on Linux
You’ll need to create a mount directory before you can mount your Windows SMB-shared folder on Linux. This is where Linux will mirror the contents of your shared folder.
To do that, open a terminal window and type:
Once created, type the following:
Replace “Windows” with the IP address or hostname for your Windows PC and “SharedFolder” with your shared folder name. For the username, replace “account” with your Windows username or full Microsoft account email.
You’ll be asked to provide your Windows password before the mounting process is complete. Type this in, then click Enter. If you used the correct information, your Windows folder should now be mounted and accessible in the folder you created.
Sharing Files Between Linux and Windows
Mounting Windows and Linux shared folders gives you the freedom to access your most important files, no matter the operating system. The SMB protocol is well supported on Linux, so you shouldn’t find it difficult to continue accessing your Windows files and folders once you’ve installed the CIFS-utils package.
If you’d rather use a single system, here are five of the best Linux distros for Windows users you could use.