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lightcastle 05-17-2005 01:10 PM

Networking to a Windows PC
Hi. I'm an utter Linux newbie who just got Ubuntu installed and my pretty new machine. I am now trying to get files and such off of my 6-years old, beat up and finicky Win98 machine without having to burn lots of CDs.

I had hoped there was a simple way to just get the computers to talk to each other, but that seems unlikely.

I have a Netgear 104 something or other lying around, and a bunch of CAT cables.

I tried just plugging both computers into that and turning them on, but that didn't work.

(Incidentally, the stupidity of that approach should give you some idea of the techinical know how involved here. i.e. -- none.)

Some quick googling seems to imply I need something called Samba, which Synaptic says I already have, although the GNOME interface doesn't have any hint of it anywhere.

So. Any ideas of how I can do this? All help will be greatly appreciated.

Gibsonist 05-17-2005 04:07 PM

what you need first of all is a working network so that both machines can talk to each other
this includes network cards in both machines
both machines with a valid ip (i suggest and as network mask and should you be not using a hub/switch/router to connect both a crossover cable (not a normal CAT patch cable!!!!)

Should you be able to ping the other machine you are finished with the first step; now both machines can "talk" to each other.

On the windows box enable file sharing and share the directory or drives holding the data you want to transfer and give the computer a work group name like AtHome or OldIron.
On Linux make sure that the samba client is installed and if you are new to Linux I would advice for a tool called LinNeighbourhood (also installable over Synaptec).

In LinNeighbourhood you tell the machine to scan the network for the above mentioned group name. It should then display all the Computers in that group (your old machine)
you can then view the shares on it and if you want mount one (all) into your fs.

Now you can copy your files from those mounts to your system with out any hassle.

(Assume you got some knowledge of Win32 to set up a SOHO net)

If you got more questions about it ask.

lightcastle 05-17-2005 04:35 PM

I'll see if I can give this a try when I get home.

They both have network cards. I will take a second look at the cables. (I have a hub, so it's a moot point anyway)

I haven't the slightest idea how I would assign an IP to something.

Some googling found that LinNeighborhood could be an easy interface to Samba. I'll get on that.

(Assume you got some knowledge of Win32 to set up a SOHO net)

Nope. You should assume I think these are magic boxes that I sacrifice goats in front of in order to work. Or that I am a 90-year old grandmother who thinks the Victrola is the height of technology.


Really. Assume I don't know a thing. I usually seduce my pretty geek friends into doing this kind of thing for me.

Nonetheless, I'll see what I can do with what you've given me.

Thanks. :)

Gibsonist 05-17-2005 07:53 PM


Originally posted by lightcastle

...You should assume I think these are magic boxes that I sacrifice goats in front of in order to work.

Hey that was supposed to be a secret - well, they work on goat but virgins are better.

I know ubuntu is bit diffrent as soon as you want to su - as it does not have a root password set

to give you machine a ip try

sudo ifconfig eth0 netmask
Should this succeed

sudo ifconfig eth0
this should give you some informations (hwaddress rx tx ... and somewhere the above IP and netmask!!!)

For the windows machine - well I dont have a 98 box at hand but let me have a look might find something.

lightcastle 05-18-2005 12:52 PM

Stupid Goat's blood get on everything. :)

Actually, the first problem is that I have a cable issue. I need a new one. That I can fix tonight hopefully.

In poking around, it seems that I don't need Samba fully installed for what I want to do.

All i want is to pull files off the Win98 box. It seems Nautulis is sufficient to do this. IT will find the box for me. I suspect what needs to be done then is make sure sharing is on for the 98 machine, and perhaps I will also need to deal with the IP issue. (I suspect in going through the turning on of sharing, this might resolve itself.)

Hopefully, we will find out tonight (if I have any time.)

Then, once I've got my data safely dealt with, maybe I can figure out how to get Ubuntu to see I have a DSL connection and actually, you know... connect to the internet.

JimBass 05-18-2005 02:04 PM

There is no way to get the old windows box to show up unless you give it an IP address in the same subnet as your linux box.

As the advice given above is all good, I would do this command on linux:

sudo ifconfig eth0 netmask
Then on win98, right click on network neighborhood on the desktop (might not be there, or it might, I forget when it was introduced). Right click and go down to properties, click on that. Right click on the network card, and again go down to properties. Select TCP/IP from the list, and again hit properties. There you can assign a static address, give the windows box the IP address of, and the subnet of You can leave the gateway and DNS lines blank.

If that doesn't work, look online at and search for something like "assign static IP address Windows 98". Since this is and not, I'm not at all inclined to go through how to configure an IP address on a windows box.

You will have to configure the shared folder, at least put the things you want to share in it, and set it to be shared.

Good Luck,

Gibsonist 05-18-2005 02:12 PM

He can simply share his entire drive, makes it easier to fetch data.
As the box is LAN only there shouldn't be a sec issue at this point.

To the point of a full samba install you only need the client and I believe the sambafs or so, but Synaptec should deal with that once you tell it to install the samba client.

Haven't used Nautilus and Gnome in donkey's years so I can't help you on that one - as advised Linneighbourhood - as it is simple to use and very intuitive.

We can only show you the way, not stand behind you with a big stick and beat you till you walk down that rocky path.

Bout the goat's blood I hope you did it in a ground floor room withing a pentagram marked by black candles ;)

Thnx JimBass that you agree with my advice so far

lightcastle 05-19-2005 12:09 AM

Well, the result of that sudo command is this :

SIOCSIFADDR: No such device
eth0: ERROR while getting interface flags: No such device
SIOCSIFNETMASK: No such device

Don't know what any of that means.

As for assigning an IP address to the windows box, seem to have found the right option. That made the computer ask for a Win98 start up CD, then crash the machine and only reboot in safe mode.

So THAT wasn't very successful at all.

Time for more Goat's Blood.

Gibsonist 05-19-2005 09:42 AM

Hmmm ... that is interesting

Just found this site - if you scroll down you see the box "Configuring your computer" if you select your Network card (eth0) here and say properties you might be able to set up your network card without the command line - also how to connect to a windows machine's share is described rather nicely

TO your windows box - you actually don't need the win cd at that stage you only need to click cancel as windows would have reinstalled all the network components which already were there.
If you search for a file called winipconfig.exe (i believe) and run it what does it give you as output?

Hope it helps

lightcastle 05-19-2005 10:39 AM

I'll try this tonight when i get home. That's interesting, I had looked through the UbuntuWiki but didn't find that. Curious.

I do know that Ubuntu does see the ethernet card, so presumably this should work. I know the name of the workgroup the 98 machine thinks it is on, too. Hopefully the rest is obvious. (PArt of the problem here is that I go straight from work to rehearsal for a play and so by the time I get home it is midnight and I'm brain fried.)

The 98 machine seems to have recovered. Even clicking cancel, it ground a lot and got weird on me, though. I found it weird. Still, it seems to have accepted that IP address.

We shall see.

lightcastle 05-20-2005 12:37 AM

Well, that accomplished nothing.

In fact, despite that being an Ubuntu guide, there is no "enable windows sharing" button to click.

I'm thinking I'm just going to go and burn 20 gig worth of CDs. :(

Gibsonist 05-20-2005 01:29 AM

Am I missing something?

I installed Ubuntu on a old test system yesterday and for some reason it worked
But I believe you don't need that option anyhow.

Are you sure samba-client and sambafs are installed?

If you have used that interface to set the machines IP and netmask
hook both systems up over the network if you haven't done so already
and open the console and ping the other machine

ping <ip>
could be you need to add a "sudo" before, if you see answers after some time press "Ctrl+C"

If the answers were not - time out or host unreachable - you are done so far.
Click on "places" in the statusbar -> servers i believe and in it it should show you windows networks or so somewhere down that path there should be your windows machine visible.

Or start Linneighbourhood and brows that way after giving it some details (user name to scan network and what workgroup name)

I bet you are just missing a small point - I'll write more later and test some things only I got a small exam on DB coming up this afternoon so you have to excuse me.

aes canis 05-20-2005 02:48 AM

I would have taken the easy way out - and put the hardrive from the old PC into the new one - done a quick edit of fstab and just drag & dropped everything over to my /home folder...

Gibsonist 05-20-2005 02:57 AM

Well if you look at it like that the really easy way out would have been to simply mount the old HDD at lets say /windows or /old_hdd
and simply leave it there so you can pick the data you need graduatly

Or a even more ... interesting ... approach would have been to mount the old HDD in your fs and then copy your $HOME to it and then re-mount it as your $HOME

all possible

but on the otherside he has a nice learning curve now (hopefully) about his system.

Personally I enjoy fig. things like this out and setting them up.

lightcastle 05-20-2005 09:32 AM

Yeah, the HD option has occured to me. The physical side would be easy, as I have a lovely case for such things. I'm not sure about how to actually find anything in Linux though. I once would have assumed it would be smart enough to see the new drive and give it to me on the desktop so I could drag and drop it, but I no longer am making any such assumptions about the capability of Ubuntu to make anything that easy. For instance, a Linux save friend of mine told me to check the partitions of my drive with a command that I can't remember right now. Instead of a list of the partitions, my machine returned the answer "ASCII code". *shrug*

As for things like making sure samba is installed, or using linneighbourhood, since I can't get the machine to connect to the internet using my DSL, it's kind of moot. (This seems to be a problem with my ISP sympatico, which doesn't support Linux. I more than suspect that Linux has a program that will do this for me, without using their access manager.)

The learning curve wouldn't be so awful if I wasn't in the final week of rehearsal for my play. The result is I get up at 6:30 to go to work, get back from work, go straight into rehearsal, and get home at 11:30 pm or so. I don't have TIME for the goddamn learning curve right now. (That, at least, will be fixed after next weekend.)

To be honest, the fact I've had no time to actually dedicate to the thing has been the only reason I haven't abandoned it completely. If I could actually think about it and STILL make no progress, then I'd assume it was Ubuntu and not me.

Gibsonist: I don't think Samba is installed. Mind you, I don't know how to check. Interestingly, if I call up synaptic, it claims it is installed. But it is nowhere to be found in the GUI, and if I try anything resembling making the Linux box's files available to be shared, it gives me a message saying I need to install samba or NFS (? I forget the name, but that Linux-to-Linux one).

Interestingly, although when I try to do a command line ifconfig, I get that "device doesn't exist" thing, if I go directly into administration --> network --> and then go and configure the eth0 card, I can do that. So my eth0 card is Meanwhile, the Windows box is

If I ping that from the Linux box, it gives me a connection. (I don't remember the numbers now, I'm at work.)

Going into servers, it has an entry for "Windows machine", but there is nothing in there. I open it, it shows no shared files, nothing.

As for making the old hd HOME, I wouldn't do that. That drive is sketchy at best.

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