GNOME Boxes and Samba Shares

This is a followup to my earlier post about using GNOME Boxes to manage a Windows virtual machine. One of the comments I made was that I used Samba on the host (Arch Linux) to share the host file system with the Windows guest. I got a comment asking for further details about this as I mentioned it pretty superficially originally and thought it would make a good follow-up blog post.

This blog post is assuming Arch Linux as the host, if you are using a different variant of Linux check your distribution’s documentation on installing Samba. For Arch Linux, the Arch wiki does an excellent job of explaining how to install and configure Samba and this is what I followed with one exception.

That exception is that I opted to enable the smbd.socket service instead of smbd.service. Also, I didn’t bother enabling the nmbd.service which is used for Netbios since I only use the Samba service for my VM and not to share my local file system on the network at large.

Once you have followed the Arch install procedure, you need to create and modify smb.conf so that the host folders are available to the guest. As per the Arch wiki, this simply involves copying /etc/smb.default to /etc/smb.conf and adding an entry for each folder at the end of the file. Here is my entry for the Documents folder as an example:

comment = Documents
browseable = yes
writeable = yes
path = /home/[username]/Documents
valid users = [username]
public = no
read only = no
create mask = 0700
directory mask = 0700

Make sure to replace [username] in the above with the name of the user you login into Linux with. I keep things simple by using the same username/password in the host and the guest, if you don’t you may need to do some tinkering to a to enter credentials in the guest to access the shares.

Once this is done, run the Windows Guest and open the File Explorer. I believe the default IP for the host in QEMU when using the slirp network stack is so in Windows File Explorer, try accessing the network share using \\\Documents. If everything is configured correctly you should see the host’s folders and files under Documents appear. If it works, you can opt to create permanent shares by creating mapped drives (right click Computer in Windows File Explorer and select Map Network Drive…).

So that’s it in a nutshell, pretty straight forward and hopefully it helps.

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