Could you provide more information on the Microsoft Network, and what you want to connect to? Is it a home network? Is it a network at work or school? If you are dealing with a Microsoft domain, then a network admin needs to add your computer to the domain, and you may need to configure your client as well. Otherwise you won't have access to shares on the network. For a home network, you may only need a samba client, or to offer shares yourself to install samba.
Also indicate which linux distro you are dealing with.
Yours may make it easy through a wizard to configure user authentication via samba, ldap or AD, installing any needed packages and configuring PAM correctly.