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I've been running DebianEtch on my linux box for a while now, and when I first set it up, I didn't have any problems setting up Samba. I had a couple shared folders and all was fine. Then a power-outage turned off my box, and since then Samba refuses to behave.
Frist sign of problem was when I rebooted the box, and tried to access my shares via my windows box, sitting right beside it. After a long, long hourglass period, the access timed out with [//panyalinux/share is not accessible. You might not have permission to use that network resource. Contact the administrator ... The specified network name is no longer available.] There had been NO changes to the debian install other than restart.
I backed up all the data onto usb-portable hard drives, and reinstalled debian (in pursuit of another project which should not be relevant here); in doing so I reformatted the entire HDD I am using in that box (ext3 for / and /home partitions). Even though I allowed Debian to install the 'file server' packages, everytime I copied the files back to the /home/[user]/share directory and tried to share it, I got the same error. (I use security=share, and I triple checked that setting via SWAT.)
I tried creating a folder in /home/[user] (via Nautilus and via mkdir), and sharing that (via Nautilus and via SWAT). 75% of the time, especially if it was empty, I could access that folder via windows. The other 25% I got the same error. If I created the folder, and shared it, and could access it, and copied files into it from the usb backup, any folder that was copied in could not be accessed, with the same error.
I reinstalled four or five times, googled the error, and encountered five or six possible solutions. I tried them all, except the solution which spoke of adding the samba server to the windows domain, since we don't run a domain here. I tried with WINS settings on, and WINS settings off. I changed the computer access name. I changed the folder names. I chmod'd the files and folders, and chown'd them.
I installed UbuntuHeron, added samba, and encountered the same problem as before, with some additional Ubuntu errors regarding permissions to share folders.
I reinstalled Debian, copied the files from usb to another linux box, running debian, on the same network, which has not had any problems, and then copied the files from there into my linux box, and shared that folder -- and got the same error.