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Automatically mounting and unmounting Samba/Windows shares with CIFS

by Sander Marechal

Last updated on 2007-12-03@23:55. At my work the employees are in the fortunate position that they are free to choose whatever OS they want to work with. At the moment the default is still Windows XP but you are free to wipe the drive and install whatever you feel—as long as you can do your job properly. And there is work underway to roll our own distribution for internal use. You're even free to bring in your Mac (but we won't supply you with one). The only thing that's banned (unofficially) so far is Windows Vista. Server-side we run a mixture of Linux and Windows, and the thend is to replace broken Windows machines by Linux machines if possible. In such a heterogeneous environment it makes sense to share our files through Samba. It's one of the few protocols that any OS can speak.

If you're running Windows Server 2003 then you can't use the smbfs driver that most Linux distributions ship by default. Sorry, no "Places » Connect to server" for you GNOME folk. You'll need to use the CIFS filesystem driver and you'll need to edit /etc/fstab. Adding the required fstab entries is actually quite easy as I will show below, but on Debian and it's derivative distributions you get a nasty error when you subsequently try to reboot or shutdown your machine, which hangs for about 30 seconds waiting for a timeout:

CIFS VFS: No Response for Cmd <number> mid <number>

It took me quite a bit of time to properly solve that one, but in the end it turned out to be quite simple. I will show you later in the article, but let's start mounting first.