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I’m new to Ubuntu and am seeking help with a media server I have built.

I have a couple of HTPCs in my house running XBMC. I wanted to build one for the family room working double duty as a HTPC, and media server to share movies, TV shows, music, etc. on my Windows network. So using some spare old parts I had lying around I decided to go CRAZY and build my first Linux box. I used Ubuntu because it seemed to be the most user friendly variant, especially for people that are new to Linux. I had to do a few things to get the media files shared properly on my network:

  • Made sure my two media drives auto-mount every time I boot the computer by editing the “fstab” file – “sudo nano /etc/fstab”
  • Installed Samba - “sudo apt-get install samba”
  • Set a password for Samba - “sudo smbpasswd –a USERNAME”
  • Edited the Samba configuration file to make sure the computer was in my networks workgroup – “sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf”
  • In the file manager (not sure if that’s the right name for it), I right-clicked my media folders and set the sharing and permissions. The sharing was done without guest access, and permissions were set to; Owner, Group, and Others - Access: Create and Delete Files.
  • Adjusted the Power Management settings to never put the system into sleep mode.

I checked to see if I had access to the files from a Windows 7 machine and I did (Woo Hoo!). But when I tried to play any of my video files from the Windows machine (using VLC media player), they would only play for about 2-5 minutes and then they would stop with an error message saying that the file could not be accessed (Booo...). I tried playing some files through XBMC running in Windows and they worked for a bit longer (about 10-15mins), but they also stopped playing. I installed the Linux version of XBMC on the server and played the files locally with no problems. It doesn’t seem to be an issue with the files themselves, it seems to be a sharing problem on my network.

So my question to the Ubuntu gurus out there is:

  1. Did I miss adding/editing something in the Samba configuration file?
  2. Did I use the right method to share my media files (file manager vs. using the terminal)?
  3. Is it possible for the computer to still go to sleep without the screen going black (does that even make sense?).
  4. Are there any special settings in Ubuntu that I should be using since this computer as a media server (is there a media server mode?...!...?).

Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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