Need to share a folder on your Ubuntu PC to someone else on the network? Unsure about how to accomplish this task, as you’re new to Ubuntu? We can help! Follow along as we show you how to use one of Ubuntu’s best features: folder sharing.
Please note that in this guide, we will be covering Ubuntu’s default desktop environment: Gnome. If you are using Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or any other flavor, these instructions will not work.
Sharing folders with the file manager
Sharing a folder over the network on Ubuntu Linux is done within the file manager. So, before attempting to do anything, you must first open up the Ubuntu file manager. To do that, press Win on the keyboard. Pressing Win will bring up the search box.
Note: Ubuntu requires a network connection for sharing with the network. Ensure you have your Ubuntu desktop or laptop computer connected to the router, interacting with other computers on the network. Without a network connection, other computers will not be able to see or interact with the network shares you create on Ubuntu.
Inside the search box, type out “Files.” After typing out “File” in the search box, you will start to see search results appear. Click on the search result that has the label “Files” to open up the Ubuntu file manager.
Once the Ubuntu file manager is open up on your Linux PC, follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below to learn how to share files with the Ubuntu file manager.
Step 1: Look through your home directory on your Ubuntu PC. This directory holds all files and folders on your user account for this Ubuntu installation. Everything you’ll want to share is in this directory.
Step 2: Once you’ve found a folder you would like to share over the network with Ubuntu, right-click on it with the mouse to bring up the right-click menu.
Step 3: Inside of the right-click menu, there are quite a lot of options available. Look through all of the different menu options for the “Local Network Share” one. Then, select it with the mouse.
Step 4: Upon clicking on the “Local Network Share” button, the Ubuntu file manager will bring up a new window. This new window is the “Folder Sharing” window, and you’ll need to configure it to share the folder you’ve selected with other users on the local network.
In the “Local Network Sharing” window, check the box next to “Share this folder.” By checking this box, you will tell Ubuntu that you want to enable the sharing feature for this folder.
Step 5: After selecting the “Share this folder” button, you will see a prompt appear. This prompt says, “Sharing service is not installed. You need to install the Windows networks sharing service in order to share your folders.”
Find the “Install service” button, and click on it with the mouse to install the service to your Ubuntu PC. Be sure to enter the password associated with your user account during the installation process.
Step 6: Once you’ve selected the “Install service” button, Ubuntu will ask you if you want to “Install additional software”. Select the “Install” button with your mouse to tell Ubuntu to go out and download the required files to enable sharing on your PC.
Step 7: After selecting the “Install” button, Ubuntu will go out and download everything required to share folders using the file manager on your system. Keep in mind that this download may take a couple of minutes, especially if you have an internet connection that isn’t very speedy.
Step 8: When Ubuntu finishes installing the tools requires to share folders, you will be returned back to the “Folder Sharing” window. From here, locate the “Share name” text box and change the default name that the sharing window has to something more identifiable!
For example, if you are sharing documents, it might make sense to make the share’s name “document share”. Or, if it is a music share, consider “songs” or “albums.” Be creative! Especially if you’re sharing a folder with someone who doesn’t understand computers very well!
Step 9: After changing the name of your share, locate the “Comment” text box. In this area, describe what you are sharing. By adding a good comment in the “Comment” section, other users will know exactly what’s in the share if the share name alone doesn’t tell them.
Step 10: Check the box next to “Allow others to create and delete files in this folder” if you wish to make it possible for others on the network to create/delete files. If you want the share to be read-only, do not check the box.
Step 11: Check the box next to “Guest access.” Selecting this option will allow anyone to easily access the share even if they don’t have a user account set up on your Ubuntu system. This option prevents many headaches!
Step 12: Lastly, locate the “Create Share” button, and click on it with the mouse to create your new share.
Upon clicking on the “Create Share” button, you may see a message that says, “Nautilus needs to add some permissions to your folder. If this message appears, select the “Add the permissions automatically” button to continue.
Once everything is set up, your network share will be visible to others on the network via Windows, and other operating systems provided they have support for Samba.