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I don't seem to be able to share between my Ubuntu (fresh install) and any of my Windows machines. I tried using this guide: How to Share Folders in Ubuntu & Access them from Windows 7. The problems is that I cannot see the Ubuntu machine in my network pane on the Windows machine.

Any Ideas of what I should check?

Ultimately what I am looking to do is make mobile media server that I can put in the Van, attach a WiFi router, and stream to an iPad, tablet, laptop, etc. Any advice on setting this up would be appreciated.

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Because they are different file systems (Ubuntu 12.04 defaults to ext4), you need to be careful about Unix writing to any Windows partition.

Additionally, Windows 7 doesn't share easily even with other Windows machines because 7 started using the homegroup instead of the typical windows network workgroup. Per Microsoft, "Computers must be running Windows 7 to be part of a homegroup. With Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a homegroup, but you can't create one."

In the tutorial link that you provided, there was an option to specify the workgroup - but perhaps this only exists in Windows 7 Ultimate edition. In any case, I'm running Windows 7 and do not have that feature.

Use Samba

The first solution that comes to mind is to install Samba. I'd recommend using the Ubuntu Software Center and searching for "system-config-samba." This search will yield the GUI option to configure your Samba server. For command-line, this step-by-step guide will help you install and configure Samba.

You mentioned hooking up your Ubuntu to a wireless router. Make sure that you assign your machine a static IP address/lease using your router configuration utility. Even if your router operates DHCP, you should be able to designate a fixed LAN address by either 1)MAC address or 2)computer name (depending upon your router type/model).

Once configured, Samba should pretty much be ideal for you.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

My network had an Xbox360 that I wanted to be able to browse and play content from. I purchased a separate NAS (network attached storage). This provided the benefit of also being able to share media globally even with a dynamic IP from my ISP (the device updates a sort of proprietary DNS server with its current IP address). Then the NAS storage handles incoming requests from the WAN through UPnP configuration of my router.

All of my machines, including Ubuntu 12.04 can discover and use the NAS device. Also tested and works on 14.04 lts.

Upgrade your Router

While the OPs original question was about Ubuntu configuration, I thought I would add this section for thoroughness. Now many brands of routers have built-in file sharing and printer sharing abilities. One example of an entry-level model lets you attach either an external drive OR a printer via USB is the Netgear N300 Router. But for more advanced customization, be on the lookout for models proven compatible with Open Source firmware initiatives and Linux derivatives. By way of firmware upgrade, users can install a

embedded operating system....OpenWrt can be run on CPE routers, residential gateways, smartphones (e.g. Neo FreeRunner), pocket computers (e.g. Ben NanoNote), and laptops (e.g. One Laptop per Child (OLPC)). Also, it is possible to run OpenWrt on ordinary computers (e.g. x86 architecture). Many patches from the OpenWrt source base have been included upstream in the Linux kernel mainline. -excerpt from the OpenWrt wiki page

OpenWrt is just one example. Some software packages even allow SAMBA to be run from the device itself! Other features may include Dynamic DNS services to DLNA media streaming.

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My answer hasn't been voted accepted, but neither have you told me that you had any issues with installing Samba. If you have additional concerns, please comment below or edit your original question. – Clayton Sep 18 '12 at 17:45
Updated answer to make it more current and thorough. – Clayton Apr 28 '14 at 21:09

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