How to Access Windows 10 Files from Ubuntu 17.04

This post shows you how to access Windows 10 files and folders from Ubuntu machines via Samba. With Samba installed on Ubuntu systems and joined to the same workgroup as Windows, you’ll be able to access and share files and folders between the two systems, even though they’re different operating systems.

In order for this to happen, there are some requirements that must be met. First, Samba must be installed on Ubuntu, files and printer sharing enabled for the public network profile on Windows 10 computer and both systems must be on the same subnet (network).

This means both systems must be connected to the same switch/hub or router. They should share the same IP space or it might not be possible without some network routing in place.

So, follow the steps below to enable Ubuntu to access Windows 10 files.

Step 1: Enable File and Printer Sharing

When file and printer sharing is on, files and printers that you have shared from the Windows computer can be accessed from other on the network. By default, Windows 10 disables this feature. In order to allow others to access, you must turn it on.

To turn on file and printer sharing, click Start — > Settings

Then select Network & Internet settings group.

On the Network & Internet setting page, select Sharing options as shown in the image below.

Then for the Guest or Public network profile, Turn on network discovery and  file and printer sharing as shown in the image below, then save the changes. (this setting is not recommended in public spaces, like airports, library or other public settings.)

After saving your changes, close out.

Step 2: Joining Same Workgroup

The next step is to find out which workgroup the Windows 10 machine belongs. To find out, run the commands below to from command line terminal.

net config workstation

You should see the Workgroup for Windows machine is shown in the image below. If the workgroup name is WORKGROUP, then there’s nothing to change on the Ubuntu systems.

windows computer workgroup

Step 3: Installing Samba on Ubuntu

For Ubuntu to access Windows 10 files, you must install Samba and other supporting tools. To do that, open Ubuntu command line terminal and run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install samba samba-common python-glade2 system-config-samba

If the Windows machine is member of the WORKGROUP, there’s nothing to change on the Ubuntu setup. By default, Samba adds Ubuntu to the same workgroup name.

So all you have to do now is open Ubuntu File browser and browse to Other Locations, then open the WORKGROUP folder and you should see both the Windows and Ubuntu machines in the workgroup.

Open the WORKGROUP folder and you should see both machines.

Now with the correct Windows user accounts, you should be able to access as a registered user from Ubuntu.

You should see all content for the account you authenticated with.


This post shows students and new  users how to access Windows files and folders from Ubuntu machines. For this to work, you must enable file and printer sharing on the public network, be on the same network, and turn on network discovery.

You must also install Samba on the Ubuntu machine for this to work.


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9 Replies to “How to Access Windows 10 Files from Ubuntu 17.04”

  1. Did everything. See both machines in the workgroup. However get an error “unable to connect”. What’s wrong?

  2. I’ve done everything but in other location folder in ubuntu, it only shows Folder is Empty, I’ve spent a day to resolve this

  3. Install SAMBA as directed. 17 Aug 2019
    Opened “Other Locations” / under Networks, Windows Network was displayed and inside Windows Network were both two Icon’s One was Ubuntu Desktop the other the Windows Desktop. When I click on Windows Desktop i get the following Error notice: “Unable to access Location” “Failed to retrieve share list from server. Connection timed out”.
    Both are on the same network and both are on WORKGROUP. I can PING both ways.

  4. I did the steps and saw the Windows machines’ icons. But when clicked, got:
    “Unable to access location. Failed to retrieve share list from server: Connection refused”
    What needs to be done to enable access?d

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