Prerequisite Reading

Before you continue reading in this chapter, please make sure that you are comfortable with configuring basic files services in smb.conf and how to enable and administer password encryption in Samba. Theses two topics are covered in the smb.conf(5) manpage and the Encryption chapter of this HOWTO Collection.


Note: Author's Note: This document is a combination of David Bannon's "Samba 2.2 PDC HOWTO" and "Samba NT Domain FAQ". Both documents are superseded by this one.

Versions of Samba prior to release 2.2 had marginal capabilities to act as a Windows NT 4.0 Primary Domain Controller (PDC). With Samba 2.2.0, we are proud to announce official support for Windows NT 4.0-style domain logons from Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 clients. This article outlines the steps necessary for configuring Samba as a PDC. It is necessary to have a working Samba server prior to implementing the PDC functionality. If you have not followed the steps outlined in UNIX_INSTALL.html, please make sure that your server is configured correctly before proceeding. Another good resource in the smb.conf(5) man page. The following functionality should work in 2.2:

  • domain logons for Windows NT 4.0/2000 clients.

  • placing a Windows 9x client in user level security

  • retrieving a list of users and groups from a Samba PDC to Windows 9x/NT/2000 clients

  • roving (roaming) user profiles

  • Windows NT 4.0-style system policies

The following pieces of functionality are not included in the 2.2 release:

  • Windows NT 4 domain trusts

  • SAM replication with Windows NT 4.0 Domain Controllers (i.e. a Samba PDC and a Windows NT BDC or vice versa)

  • Adding users via the User Manager for Domains

  • Acting as a Windows 2000 Domain Controller (i.e. Kerberos and Active Directory)

Please note that Windows 9x clients are not true members of a domain for reasons outlined in this article. Therefore the protocol for support Windows 9x-style domain logons is completely different from NT4 domain logons and has been officially supported for some time.

Implementing a Samba PDC can basically be divided into 2 broad steps.

  1. Configuring the Samba PDC

  2. Creating machine trust accounts and joining clients to the domain

There are other minor details such as user profiles, system policies, etc... However, these are not necessarily specific to a Samba PDC as much as they are related to Windows NT networking concepts. They will be mentioned only briefly here.

Configuring the Samba Domain Controller

The first step in creating a working Samba PDC is to understand the parameters necessary in smb.conf. I will not attempt to re-explain the parameters here as they are more that adequately covered in the smb.conf man page. For convenience, the parameters have been linked with the actual smb.conf description.

Here is an example smb.conf for acting as a PDC:

    ; Basic server settings
    netbios name = POGO
    workgroup = NARNIA

    ; we should act as the domain and local master browser
    os level = 64
    preferred master = yes
    domain master = yes
    local master = yes
    ; security settings (must user security = user)
    security = user
    ; encrypted passwords are a requirement for a PDC
    encrypt passwords = yes
    ; support domain logons
    domain logons = yes
    ; where to store user profiles?
    logon path = \\%N\profiles\%u
    ; where is a user's home directory and where should it
    ; be mounted at?
    logon drive = H:
    logon home = \\homeserver\%u
    ; specify a generic logon script for all users
    ; this is a relative **DOS** path to the [netlogon] share
    logon script = logon.cmd

; necessary share for domain controller
    path = /usr/local/samba/lib/netlogon
    read only = yes
    write list = ntadmin
; share for storing user profiles
    path = /export/smb/ntprofile
    read only = no
    create mask = 0600
    directory mask = 0700

There are a couple of points to emphasize in the above configuration.

  • Encrypted passwords must be enabled. For more details on how to do this, refer to ENCRYPTION.html.

  • The server must support domain logons and a [netlogon] share

  • The server must be the domain master browser in order for Windows client to locate the server as a DC. Please refer to the various Network Browsing documentation included with this distribution for details.

As Samba 2.2 does not offer a complete implementation of group mapping between Windows NT groups and Unix groups (this is really quite complicated to explain in a short space), you should refer to the domain admin group smb.conf parameter for information of creating "Domain Admins" style accounts.

Creating Machine Trust Accounts and Joining Clients to the Domain

A machine trust account is a Samba account that is used to authenticate a client machine (rather than a user) to the Samba server. In Windows terminology, this is known as a "Computer Account."

The password of a machine trust account acts as the shared secret for secure communication with the Domain Controller. This is a security feature to prevent an unauthorized machine with the same NetBIOS name from joining the domain and gaining access to domain user/group accounts. Windows NT and 2000 clients use machine trust accounts, but Windows 9x clients do not. Hence, a Windows 9x client is never a true member of a domain because it does not possess a machine trust account, and thus has no shared secret with the domain controller.

A Windows PDC stores each machine trust account in the Windows Registry. A Samba PDC, however, stores each machine trust account in two parts, as follows:

  • A Samba account, stored in the same location as user LanMan and NT password hashes (currently smbpasswd). The Samba account possesses and uses only the NT password hash.

  • A corresponding Unix account, typically stored in /etc/passwd. (Future releases will alleviate the need to create /etc/passwd entries.)

There are two ways to create machine trust accounts:

  • Manual creation. Both the Samba and corresponding Unix account are created by hand.

  • "On-the-fly" creation. The Samba machine trust account is automatically created by Samba at the time the client is joined to the domain. (For security, this is the recommended method.) The corresponding Unix account may be created automatically or manually.

Manual Creation of Machine Trust Accounts

The first step in manually creating a machine trust account is to manually create the corresponding Unix account in /etc/passwd. This can be done using vipw or other 'add user' command that is normally used to create new Unix accounts. The following is an example for a Linux based Samba server:

root# /usr/sbin/useradd -g 100 -d /dev/null -c "machine nickname" -s /bin/false machine_name$

root# passwd -l machine_name$

The /etc/passwd entry will list the machine name with a "$" appended, won't have a password, will have a null shell and no home directory. For example a machine named 'doppy' would have an /etc/passwd entry like this:


Above, machine_nickname can be any descriptive name for the client, i.e., BasementComputer. machine_name absolutely must be the NetBIOS name of the client to be joined to the domain. The "$" must be appended to the NetBIOS name of the client or Samba will not recognize this as a machine trust account.

Now that the corresponding Unix account has been created, the next step is to create the Samba account for the client containing the well-known initial machine trust account password. This can be done using the smbpasswd(8) command as shown here:

root# smbpasswd -a -m machine_name

where machine_name is the machine's NetBIOS name. The RID of the new machine account is generated from the UID of the corresponding Unix account.

Join the client to the domain immediately

Manually creating a machine trust account using this method is the equivalent of creating a machine trust account on a Windows NT PDC using the "Server Manager". From the time at which the account is created to the time which the client joins the domain and changes the password, your domain is vulnerable to an intruder joining your domain using a a machine with the same NetBIOS name. A PDC inherently trusts members of the domain and will serve out a large degree of user information to such clients. You have been warned!

"On-the-Fly" Creation of Machine Trust Accounts

The second (and recommended) way of creating machine trust accounts is simply to allow the Samba server to create them as needed when the client is joined to the domain.

Since each Samba machine trust account requires a corresponding Unix account, a method for automatically creating the Unix account is usually supplied; this requires configuration of the add user script option in smb.conf. This method is not required, however; corresponding Unix accounts may also be created manually.

Below is an example for a RedHat 6.2 Linux system.

   # <...remainder of parameters...>
   add user script = /usr/sbin/useradd -d /dev/null -g 100 -s /bin/false -M %u 

Joining the Client to the Domain

The procedure for joining a client to the domain varies with the version of Windows.

  • Windows 2000

    When the user elects to join the client to a domain, Windows prompts for an account and password that is privileged to join the domain. A Samba administrative account (i.e., a Samba account that has root privileges on the Samba server) must be entered here; the operation will fail if an ordinary user account is given. The password for this account should be set to a different password than the associated /etc/passwd entry, for security reasons.

    The session key of the Samba administrative account acts as an encryption key for setting the password of the machine trust account. The machine trust account will be created on-the-fly, or updated if it already exists.

  • Windows NT

    If the machine trust account was created manually, on the Identification Changes menu enter the domain name, but do not check the box "Create a Computer Account in the Domain." In this case, the existing machine trust account is used to join the machine to the domain.

    If the machine trust account is to be created on-the-fly, on the Identification Changes menu enter the domain name, and check the box "Create a Computer Account in the Domain." In this case, joining the domain proceeds as above for Windows 2000 (i.e., you must supply a Samba administrative account when prompted).

Common Problems and Errors

  • I cannot include a '$' in a machine name.

    A 'machine name' in (typically) /etc/passwd of the machine name with a '$' appended. FreeBSD (and other BSD systems?) won't create a user with a '$' in their name.

    The problem is only in the program used to make the entry, once made, it works perfectly. So create a user without the '$' and use vipw to edit the entry, adding the '$'. Or create the whole entry with vipw if you like, make sure you use a unique User ID !

  • I get told "You already have a connection to the Domain...." or "Cannot join domain, the credentials supplied conflict with an existing set.." when creating a machine trust account.

    This happens if you try to create a machine trust account from the machine itself and already have a connection (e.g. mapped drive) to a share (or IPC$) on the Samba PDC. The following command will remove all network drive connections:

    C:\WINNT\> net use * /d

    Further, if the machine is a already a 'member of a workgroup' that is the same name as the domain you are joining (bad idea) you will get this message. Change the workgroup name to something else, it does not matter what, reboot, and try again.

  • The system can not log you on (C000019B)....

    I joined the domain successfully but after upgrading to a newer version of the Samba code I get the message, "The system can not log you on (C000019B), Please try a gain or consult your system administrator" when attempting to logon.

    This occurs when the domain SID stored in private/WORKGROUP.SID is changed. For example, you remove the file and smbd automatically creates a new one. Or you are swapping back and forth between versions 2.0.7, TNG and the HEAD branch code (not recommended). The only way to correct the problem is to restore the original domain SID or remove the domain client from the domain and rejoin.

  • The machine trust account for this computer either does not exist or is not accessible.

    When I try to join the domain I get the message "The machine account for this computer either does not exist or is not accessible". What's wrong?

    This problem is caused by the PDC not having a suitable machine trust account. If you are using the add user script method to create accounts then this would indicate that it has not worked. Ensure the domain admin user system is working.

    Alternatively if you are creating account entries manually then they have not been created correctly. Make sure that you have the entry correct for the machine trust account in smbpasswd file on the Samba PDC. If you added the account using an editor rather than using the smbpasswd utility, make sure that the account name is the machine NetBIOS name with a '$' appended to it ( i.e. computer_name$ ). There must be an entry in both /etc/passwd and the smbpasswd file. Some people have reported that inconsistent subnet masks between the Samba server and the NT client have caused this problem. Make sure that these are consistent for both client and server.

  • When I attempt to login to a Samba Domain from a NT4/W2K workstation, I get a message about my account being disabled.

    This problem is caused by a PAM related bug in Samba 2.2.0. This bug is fixed in 2.2.1. Other symptoms could be unaccessible shares on NT/W2K member servers in the domain or the following error in your smbd.log: passdb/pampass.c:pam_account(268) PAM: UNKNOWN ERROR for User: %user%

    At first be ensure to enable the useraccounts with smbpasswd -e %user%, this is normally done, when you create an account.

    In order to work around this problem in 2.2.0, configure the account control flag in /etc/pam.d/samba file as follows:

    	account required

    If you want to remain backward compatibility to samba 2.0.x use, it's also possible to use There are some bugs if you try to use, if you need this, be ensure to use the most recent version of this file.

System Policies and Profiles

Much of the information necessary to implement System Policies and Roving User Profiles in a Samba domain is the same as that for implementing these same items in a Windows NT 4.0 domain. You should read the white paper Implementing Profiles and Policies in Windows NT 4.0 available from Microsoft.

Here are some additional details:

  • What about Windows NT Policy Editor?

    To create or edit ntconfig.pol you must use the NT Server Policy Editor, poledit.exe which is included with NT Server but not NT Workstation. There is a Policy Editor on a NTws but it is not suitable for creating Domain Policies. Further, although the Windows 95 Policy Editor can be installed on an NT Workstation/Server, it will not work with NT policies because the registry key that are set by the policy templates. However, the files from the NT Server will run happily enough on an NTws. You need poledit.exe, common.adm and winnt.adm. It is convenient to put the two *.adm files in c:\winnt\inf which is where the binary will look for them unless told otherwise. Note also that that directory is 'hidden'.

    The Windows NT policy editor is also included with the Service Pack 3 (and later) for Windows NT 4.0. Extract the files using servicepackname /x, i.e. that's Nt4sp6ai.exe /x for service pack 6a. The policy editor, poledit.exe and the associated template files (*.adm) should be extracted as well. It is also possible to downloaded the policy template files for Office97 and get a copy of the policy editor. Another possible location is with the Zero Administration Kit available for download from Microsoft.

  • Can Win95 do Policies?

    Install the group policy handler for Win9x to pick up group policies. Look on the Win98 CD in \tools\reskit\netadmin\poledit. Install group policies on a Win9x client by double-clicking grouppol.inf. Log off and on again a couple of times and see if Win98 picks up group policies. Unfortunately this needs to be done on every Win9x machine that uses group policies....

    If group policies don't work one reports suggests getting the updated (read: working) grouppol.dll for Windows 9x. The group list is grabbed from /etc/group.

  • How do I get 'User Manager' and 'Server Manager'

    Since I don't need to buy an NT Server CD now, how do I get the 'User Manager for Domains', the 'Server Manager'?

    Microsoft distributes a version of these tools called nexus for installation on Windows 95 systems. The tools set includes

    • Server Manager

    • User Manager for Domains

    • Event Viewer

    Click here to download the archived file

    The Windows NT 4.0 version of the 'User Manager for Domains' and 'Server Manager' are available from Microsoft via ftp from

What other help can I get?

There are many sources of information available in the form of mailing lists, RFC's and documentation. The docs that come with the samba distribution contain very good explanations of general SMB topics such as browsing.

  • What are some diagnostics tools I can use to debug the domain logon process and where can I find them?

    One of the best diagnostic tools for debugging problems is Samba itself. You can use the -d option for both smbd and nmbd to specify what 'debug level' at which to run. See the man pages on smbd, nmbd and smb.conf for more information on debugging options. The debug level can range from 1 (the default) to 10 (100 for debugging passwords).

    Another helpful method of debugging is to compile samba using the gcc -g flag. This will include debug information in the binaries and allow you to attach gdb to the running smbd / nmbd process. In order to attach gdb to an smbd process for an NT workstation, first get the workstation to make the connection. Pressing ctrl-alt-delete and going down to the domain box is sufficient (at least, on the first time you join the domain) to generate a 'LsaEnumTrustedDomains'. Thereafter, the workstation maintains an open connection, and therefore there will be an smbd process running (assuming that you haven't set a really short smbd idle timeout) So, in between pressing ctrl alt delete, and actually typing in your password, you can gdb attach and continue.

    Some useful samba commands worth investigating:

    • testparam | more

    • smbclient -L //{netbios name of server}

    An SMB enabled version of tcpdump is available from Ethereal, another good packet sniffer for Unix and Win32 hosts, can be downloaded from

    For tracing things on the Microsoft Windows NT, Network Monitor (aka. netmon) is available on the Microsoft Developer Network CD's, the Windows NT Server install CD and the SMS CD's. The version of netmon that ships with SMS allows for dumping packets between any two computers (i.e. placing the network interface in promiscuous mode). The version on the NT Server install CD will only allow monitoring of network traffic directed to the local NT box and broadcasts on the local subnet. Be aware that Ethereal can read and write netmon formatted files.

  • How do I install 'Network Monitor' on an NT Workstation or a Windows 9x box?

    Installing netmon on an NT workstation requires a couple of steps. The following are for installing Netmon V4.00.349, which comes with Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, on Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The process should be similar for other version of Windows NT / Netmon. You will need both the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Install CD and the Workstation 4.0 Install CD.

    Initially you will need to install 'Network Monitor Tools and Agent' on the NT Server. To do this

    • Goto Start - Settings - Control Panel - Network - Services - Add

    • Select the 'Network Monitor Tools and Agent' and click on 'OK'.

    • Click 'OK' on the Network Control Panel.

    • Insert the Windows NT Server 4.0 install CD when prompted.

    At this point the Netmon files should exist in %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\netmon\*.*. Two subdirectories exist as well, parsers\ which contains the necessary DLL's for parsing the netmon packet dump, and captures\.

    In order to install the Netmon tools on an NT Workstation, you will first need to install the 'Network Monitor Agent' from the Workstation install CD.

    • Goto Start - Settings - Control Panel - Network - Services - Add

    • Select the 'Network Monitor Agent' and click on 'OK'.

    • Click 'OK' on the Network Control Panel.

    • Insert the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 install CD when prompted.

    Now copy the files from the NT Server in %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\netmon\*.* to %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\netmon\*.* on the Workstation and set permissions as you deem appropriate for your site. You will need administrative rights on the NT box to run netmon.

    To install Netmon on a Windows 9x box install the network monitor agent from the Windows 9x CD (\admin\nettools\netmon). There is a readme file located with the netmon driver files on the CD if you need information on how to do this. Copy the files from a working Netmon installation.

  • The following is a list if helpful URLs and other links:

  • How do I get help from the mailing lists?

    There are a number of Samba related mailing lists. Go to, click on your nearest mirror and then click on Support and then click on Samba related mailing lists.

    For questions relating to Samba TNG go to It has been requested that you don't post questions about Samba-TNG to the main stream Samba lists.

    If you post a message to one of the lists please observe the following guide lines :

    • Always remember that the developers are volunteers, they are not paid and they never guarantee to produce a particular feature at a particular time. Any time lines are 'best guess' and nothing more.

    • Always mention what version of samba you are using and what operating system its running under. You should probably list the relevant sections of your smb.conf file, at least the options in [global] that affect PDC support.

    • In addition to the version, if you obtained Samba via CVS mention the date when you last checked it out.

    • Try and make your question clear and brief, lots of long, convoluted questions get deleted before they are completely read ! Don't post html encoded messages (if you can select colour or font size its html).

    • If you run one of those nifty 'I'm on holidays' things when you are away, make sure its configured to not answer mailing lists.

    • Don't cross post. Work out which is the best list to post to and see what happens, i.e. don't post to both samba-ntdom and samba-technical. Many people active on the lists subscribe to more than one list and get annoyed to see the same message two or more times. Often someone will see a message and thinking it would be better dealt with on another, will forward it on for you.

    • You might include partial log files written at a debug level set to as much as 20. Please don't send the entire log but enough to give the context of the error messages.

    • (Possibly) If you have a complete netmon trace ( from the opening of the pipe to the error ) you can send the *.CAP file as well.

    • Please think carefully before attaching a document to an email. Consider pasting the relevant parts into the body of the message. The samba mailing lists go to a huge number of people, do they all need a copy of your smb.conf in their attach directory?

  • How do I get off the mailing lists?

    To have your name removed from a samba mailing list, go to the same place you went to to get on it. Go to, click on your nearest mirror and then click on Support and then click on Samba related mailing lists. Or perhaps see here

    Please don't post messages to the list asking to be removed, you will just be referred to the above address (unless that process failed in some way...)

Domain Control for Windows 9x/ME

Note: The following section contains much of the original DOMAIN.txt file previously included with Samba. Much of the material is based on what went into the book Special Edition, Using Samba, by Richard Sharpe.

A domain and a workgroup are exactly the same thing in terms of network browsing. The difference is that a distributable authentication database is associated with a domain, for secure login access to a network. Also, different access rights can be granted to users if they successfully authenticate against a domain logon server (NT server and other systems based on NT server support this, as does at least Samba TNG now).

The SMB client logging on to a domain has an expectation that every other server in the domain should accept the same authentication information. Network browsing functionality of domains and workgroups is identical and is explained in BROWSING.txt. It should be noted, that browsing is totally orthogonal to logon support.

Issues related to the single-logon network model are discussed in this section. Samba supports domain logons, network logon scripts, and user profiles for MS Windows for workgroups and MS Windows 9X/ME clients which will be the focus of this section.

When an SMB client in a domain wishes to logon it broadcast requests for a logon server. The first one to reply gets the job, and validates its password using whatever mechanism the Samba administrator has installed. It is possible (but very stupid) to create a domain where the user database is not shared between servers, i.e. they are effectively workgroup servers advertising themselves as participating in a domain. This demonstrates how authentication is quite different from but closely involved with domains.

Using these features you can make your clients verify their logon via the Samba server; make clients run a batch file when they logon to the network and download their preferences, desktop and start menu.

Before launching into the configuration instructions, it is worthwhile lookingat how a Windows 9x/ME client performs a logon:

  1. The client broadcasts (to the IP broadcast address of the subnet it is in) a NetLogon request. This is sent to the NetBIOS name DOMAIN<1c> at the NetBIOS layer. The client chooses the first response it receives, which contains the NetBIOS name of the logon server to use in the format of \\SERVER.

  2. The client then connects to that server, logs on (does an SMBsessetupX) and then connects to the IPC$ share (using an SMBtconX).

  3. The client then does a NetWkstaUserLogon request, which retrieves the name of the user's logon script.

  4. The client then connects to the NetLogon share and searches for this and if it is found and can be read, is retrieved and executed by the client. After this, the client disconnects from the NetLogon share.

  5. The client then sends a NetUserGetInfo request to the server, to retrieve the user's home share, which is used to search for profiles. Since the response to the NetUserGetInfo request does not contain much more the user's home share, profiles for Win9X clients MUST reside in the user home directory.

  6. The client then connects to the user's home share and searches for the user's profile. As it turns out, you can specify the user's home share as a sharename and path. For example, \\server\fred\.profile. If the profiles are found, they are implemented.

  7. The client then disconnects from the user's home share, and reconnects to the NetLogon share and looks for CONFIG.POL, the policies file. If this is found, it is read and implemented.

Configuration Instructions: Network Logons

The main difference between a PDC and a Windows 9x logon server configuration is that

  • Password encryption is not required for a Windows 9x logon server.

  • Windows 9x/ME clients do not possess machine trust accounts.

Therefore, a Samba PDC will also act as a Windows 9x logon server.

security mode and master browsers

There are a few comments to make in order to tie up some loose ends. There has been much debate over the issue of whether or not it is ok to configure Samba as a Domain Controller in security modes other than USER. The only security mode which will not work due to technical reasons is SHARE mode security. DOMAIN and SERVER mode security is really just a variation on SMB user level security.

Actually, this issue is also closely tied to the debate on whether or not Samba must be the domain master browser for its workgroup when operating as a DC. While it may technically be possible to configure a server as such (after all, browsing and domain logons are two distinctly different functions), it is not a good idea to so. You should remember that the DC must register the DOMAIN#1b NetBIOS name. This is the name used by Windows clients to locate the DC. Windows clients do not distinguish between the DC and the DMB. For this reason, it is very wise to configure the Samba DC as the DMB.

Now back to the issue of configuring a Samba DC to use a mode other than "security = user". If a Samba host is configured to use another SMB server or DC in order to validate user connection requests, then it is a fact that some other machine on the network (the "password server") knows more about user than the Samba host. 99% of the time, this other host is a domain controller. Now in order to operate in domain mode security, the "workgroup" parameter must be set to the name of the Windows NT domain (which already has a domain controller, right?)

Therefore configuring a Samba box as a DC for a domain that already by definition has a PDC is asking for trouble. Therefore, you should always configure the Samba DC to be the DMB for its domain.

Configuration Instructions: Setting up Roaming User Profiles


NOTE! Roaming profiles support is different for Win9X and WinNT.

Before discussing how to configure roaming profiles, it is useful to see how Win9X and WinNT clients implement these features.

Win9X clients send a NetUserGetInfo request to the server to get the user's profiles location. However, the response does not have room for a separate profiles location field, only the user's home share. This means that Win9X profiles are restricted to being in the user's home directory.

WinNT clients send a NetSAMLogon RPC request, which contains many fields, including a separate field for the location of the user's profiles. This means that support for profiles is different for Win9X and WinNT.

Windows NT Configuration

To support WinNT clients, in the [global] section of smb.conf set the following (for example):

logon path = \\profileserver\profileshare\profilepath\%U\moreprofilepath

The default for this option is \\%N\%U\profile, namely \\sambaserver\username\profile. The \\N%\%U service is created automatically by the [homes] service. If you are using a samba server for the profiles, you _must_ make the share specified in the logon path browseable.

Note: [lkcl 26aug96 - we have discovered a problem where Windows clients can maintain a connection to the [homes] share in between logins. The [homes] share must NOT therefore be used in a profile path.]

Windows 9X Configuration

To support Win9X clients, you must use the "logon home" parameter. Samba has now been fixed so that "net use/home" now works as well, and it, too, relies on the "logon home" parameter.

By using the logon home parameter, you are restricted to putting Win9X profiles in the user's home directory. But wait! There is a trick you can use. If you set the following in the [global] section of your smb.conf file:

logon home = \\%L\%U\.profiles

then your Win9X clients will dutifully put their clients in a subdirectory of your home directory called .profiles (thus making them hidden).

Not only that, but 'net use/home' will also work, because of a feature in Win9X. It removes any directory stuff off the end of the home directory area and only uses the server and share portion. That is, it looks like you specified \\%L\%U for "logon home".

Win9X and WinNT Configuration

You can support profiles for both Win9X and WinNT clients by setting both the "logon home" and "logon path" parameters. For example:

logon home = \\%L\%U\.profiles
logon path = \\%L\profiles\%U

Note: I have not checked what 'net use /home' does on NT when "logon home" is set as above.

Windows 9X Profile Setup

When a user first logs in on Windows 9X, the file user.DAT is created, as are folders "Start Menu", "Desktop", "Programs" and "Nethood". These directories and their contents will be merged with the local versions stored in c:\windows\profiles\username on subsequent logins, taking the most recent from each. You will need to use the [global] options "preserve case = yes", "short preserve case = yes" and "case sensitive = no" in order to maintain capital letters in shortcuts in any of the profile folders.

The user.DAT file contains all the user's preferences. If you wish to enforce a set of preferences, rename their user.DAT file to user.MAN, and deny them write access to this file.

  1. On the Windows 95 machine, go to Control Panel | Passwords and select the User Profiles tab. Select the required level of roaming preferences. Press OK, but do _not_ allow the computer to reboot.

  2. On the Windows 95 machine, go to Control Panel | Network | Client for Microsoft Networks | Preferences. Select 'Log on to NT Domain'. Then, ensure that the Primary Logon is 'Client for Microsoft Networks'. Press OK, and this time allow the computer to reboot.

Under Windows 95, Profiles are downloaded from the Primary Logon. If you have the Primary Logon as 'Client for Novell Networks', then the profiles and logon script will be downloaded from your Novell Server. If you have the Primary Logon as 'Windows Logon', then the profiles will be loaded from the local machine - a bit against the concept of roaming profiles, if you ask me.

You will now find that the Microsoft Networks Login box contains [user, password, domain] instead of just [user, password]. Type in the samba server's domain name (or any other domain known to exist, but bear in mind that the user will be authenticated against this domain and profiles downloaded from it, if that domain logon server supports it), user name and user's password.

Once the user has been successfully validated, the Windows 95 machine will inform you that 'The user has not logged on before' and asks you if you wish to save the user's preferences? Select 'yes'.

Once the Windows 95 client comes up with the desktop, you should be able to examine the contents of the directory specified in the "logon path" on the samba server and verify that the "Desktop", "Start Menu", "Programs" and "Nethood" folders have been created.

These folders will be cached locally on the client, and updated when the user logs off (if you haven't made them read-only by then :-). You will find that if the user creates further folders or short-cuts, that the client will merge the profile contents downloaded with the contents of the profile directory already on the local client, taking the newest folders and short-cuts from each set.

If you have made the folders / files read-only on the samba server, then you will get errors from the w95 machine on logon and logout, as it attempts to merge the local and the remote profile. Basically, if you have any errors reported by the w95 machine, check the Unix file permissions and ownership rights on the profile directory contents, on the samba server.

If you have problems creating user profiles, you can reset the user's local desktop cache, as shown below. When this user then next logs in, they will be told that they are logging in "for the first time".

  1. instead of logging in under the [user, password, domain] dialog, press escape.

  2. run the regedit.exe program, and look in:


    you will find an entry, for each user, of ProfilePath. Note the contents of this key (likely to be c:\windows\profiles\username), then delete the key ProfilePath for the required user.

    [Exit the registry editor].

  3. WARNING - before deleting the contents of the directory listed in the ProfilePath (this is likely to be c:\windows\profiles\username), ask them if they have any important files stored on their desktop or in their start menu. delete the contents of the directory ProfilePath (making a backup if any of the files are needed).

    This will have the effect of removing the local (read-only hidden system file) user.DAT in their profile directory, as well as the local "desktop", "nethood", "start menu" and "programs" folders.

  4. search for the user's .PWL password-caching file in the c:\windows directory, and delete it.

  5. log off the windows 95 client.

  6. check the contents of the profile path (see "logon path" described above), and delete the user.DAT or user.MAN file for the user, making a backup if required.

If all else fails, increase samba's debug log levels to between 3 and 10, and / or run a packet trace program such as tcpdump or netmon.exe, and look for any error reports.

If you have access to an NT server, then first set up roaming profiles and / or netlogons on the NT server. Make a packet trace, or examine the example packet traces provided with NT server, and see what the differences are with the equivalent samba trace.

Windows NT Workstation 4.0

When a user first logs in to a Windows NT Workstation, the profile NTuser.DAT is created. The profile location can be now specified through the "logon path" parameter.

Note: [lkcl 10aug97 - i tried setting the path to \\samba-server\homes\profile, and discovered that this fails because a background process maintains the connection to the [homes] share which does _not_ close down in between user logins. you have to have \\samba-server\%L\profile, where user is the username created from the [homes] share].

There is a parameter that is now available for use with NT Profiles: "logon drive". This should be set to "h:" or any other drive, and should be used in conjunction with the new "logon home" parameter.

The entry for the NT 4.0 profile is a _directory_ not a file. The NT help on profiles mentions that a directory is also created with a .PDS extension. The user, while logging in, must have write permission to create the full profile path (and the folder with the .PDS extension) [lkcl 10aug97 - i found that the creation of the .PDS directory failed, and had to create these manually for each user, with a shell script. also, i presume, but have not tested, that the full profile path must be browseable just as it is for w95, due to the manner in which they attempt to create the full profile path: test existence of each path component; create path component].

In the profile directory, NT creates more folders than 95. It creates "Application Data" and others, as well as "Desktop", "Nethood", "Start Menu" and "Programs". The profile itself is stored in a file NTuser.DAT. Nothing appears to be stored in the .PDS directory, and its purpose is currently unknown.

You can use the System Control Panel to copy a local profile onto a samba server (see NT Help on profiles: it is also capable of firing up the correct location in the System Control Panel for you). The NT Help file also mentions that renaming NTuser.DAT to NTuser.MAN turns a profile into a mandatory one.

Note: [lkcl 10aug97 - i notice that NT Workstation tells me that it is downloading a profile from a slow link. whether this is actually the case, or whether there is some configuration issue, as yet unknown, that makes NT Workstation _think_ that the link is a slow one is a matter to be resolved].

[lkcl 20aug97 - after samba digest correspondence, one user found, and another confirmed, that profiles cannot be loaded from a samba server unless "security = user" and "encrypt passwords = yes" (see the file ENCRYPTION.txt) or "security = server" and "password server = ip.address. of.yourNTserver" are used. Either of these options will allow the NT workstation to access the samba server using LAN manager encrypted passwords, without the user intervention normally required by NT workstation for clear-text passwords].

[lkcl 25aug97 - more comments received about NT profiles: the case of the profile _matters_. the file _must_ be called NTuser.DAT or, for a mandatory profile, NTuser.MAN].

Windows NT Server

There is nothing to stop you specifying any path that you like for the location of users' profiles. Therefore, you could specify that the profile be stored on a samba server, or any other SMB server, as long as that SMB server supports encrypted passwords.

Sharing Profiles between W95 and NT Workstation 4.0

Potentially outdated or incorrect material follows

I think this is all bogus, but have not deleted it. (Richard Sharpe)

The default logon path is \\%N\%U. NT Workstation will attempt to create a directory "\\samba-server\username.PDS" if you specify the logon path as "\\samba-server\username" with the NT User Manager. Therefore, you will need to specify (for example) "\\samba-server\username\profile". NT 4.0 will attempt to create "\\samba-server\username\profile.PDS", which is more likely to succeed.

If you then want to share the same Start Menu / Desktop with W95, you will need to specify "logon path = \\samba-server\username\profile" [lkcl 10aug97 this has its drawbacks: i created a shortcut to telnet.exe, which attempts to run from the c:\winnt\system32 directory. this directory is obviously unlikely to exist on a Win95-only host].

If you have this set up correctly, you will find separate user.DAT and NTuser.DAT files in the same profile directory.

Note: [lkcl 25aug97 - there are some issues to resolve with downloading of NT profiles, probably to do with time/date stamps. i have found that NTuser.DAT is never updated on the workstation after the first time that it is copied to the local workstation profile directory. this is in contrast to w95, where it _does_ transfer / update profiles correctly].

DOMAIN_CONTROL.txt : Windows NT Domain Control & Samba

Possibly Outdated Material

This appendix was originally authored by John H Terpstra of the Samba Team and is included here for posterity.

NOTE : The term "Domain Controller" and those related to it refer to one specific method of authentication that can underly an SMB domain. Domain Controllers prior to Windows NT Server 3.1 were sold by various companies and based on private extensions to the LAN Manager 2.1 protocol. Windows NT introduced Microsoft-specific ways of distributing the user authentication database. See DOMAIN.txt for examples of how Samba can participate in or create SMB domains based on shared authentication database schemes other than the Windows NT SAM.

Windows NT Server can be installed as either a plain file and print server (WORKGROUP workstation or server) or as a server that participates in Domain Control (DOMAIN member, Primary Domain controller or Backup Domain controller). The same is true for OS/2 Warp Server, Digital Pathworks and other similar products, all of which can participate in Domain Control along with Windows NT.

To many people these terms can be confusing, so let's try to clear the air.

Every Windows NT system (workstation or server) has a registry database. The registry contains entries that describe the initialization information for all services (the equivalent of Unix Daemons) that run within the Windows NT environment. The registry also contains entries that tell application software where to find dynamically loadable libraries that they depend upon. In fact, the registry contains entries that describes everything that anything may need to know to interact with the rest of the system.

The registry files can be located on any Windows NT machine by opening a command prompt and typing:

C:\WINNT\> dir %SystemRoot%\System32\config

The environment variable %SystemRoot% value can be obtained by typing:

C:\WINNT>echo %SystemRoot%

The active parts of the registry that you may want to be familiar with are the files called: default, system, software, sam and security.

In a domain environment, Microsoft Windows NT domain controllers participate in replication of the SAM and SECURITY files so that all controllers within the domain have an exactly identical copy of each.

The Microsoft Windows NT system is structured within a security model that says that all applications and services must authenticate themselves before they can obtain permission from the security manager to do what they set out to do.

The Windows NT User database also resides within the registry. This part of the registry contains the user's security identifier, home directory, group memberships, desktop profile, and so on.

Every Windows NT system (workstation as well as server) will have its own registry. Windows NT Servers that participate in Domain Security control have a database that they share in common - thus they do NOT own an independent full registry database of their own, as do Workstations and plain Servers.

The User database is called the SAM (Security Access Manager) database and is used for all user authentication as well as for authentication of inter- process authentication (i.e. to ensure that the service action a user has requested is permitted within the limits of that user's privileges).

The Samba team have produced a utility that can dump the Windows NT SAM into smbpasswd format: see ENCRYPTION.txt for information on smbpasswd and /pub/samba/pwdump on your nearest Samba mirror for the utility. This facility is useful but cannot be easily used to implement SAM replication to Samba systems.

Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, and Windows NT Workstations and Servers can participate in a Domain security system that is controlled by Windows NT servers that have been correctly configured. Almost every domain will have ONE Primary Domain Controller (PDC). It is desirable that each domain will have at least one Backup Domain Controller (BDC).

The PDC and BDCs then participate in replication of the SAM database so that each Domain Controlling participant will have an up to date SAM component within its registry.