How to connect Ubuntu Linux to a Microsoft Network

After much fear and trepidation not only did I get our Microsoft Network to sit down and talk with Ubuntu Linux, but it was unexpectedly easy.

I stumbled across this article by Tom Chance on (based on Ubuntu Gusty) and it prepped me for what I thought would be bloody battle as I really am a Linux noob and don’t know much about terminal windows, command lines and a host of technical terminology rife when working with Linux.

Nevertheless, I really wanted to prove that I could use Ubuntu Linux at work (and, eventually, hopefully everybody else), so I persisted. I read a few other articles, but there didn’t seem to be one clear way to connect Ubuntu Linux to Microsoft Networks – certainly not in a language that I, weened on Windows since DOS, could understand.

Armed with my Windows technical abilities and what I could gather from the many Ubuntu Linux articles, I went through the following few steps.

1. Installing Ubuntu

First, I co-installed Ubuntu Linux (7.10) with Windows XP on my work computer. I have two physical drives and shrunk the d-drive by 13GiB, partitioned 10GiB of that as root (/) and the rest as Swap and installed Ubuntu on there. This was done as a step in the Ubuntu installation process and was effortless and without risk to my current installation (which is on the c-drive).

At this point I had no Internet access from Ubuntu as I couldn’t yet connect to the Microsoft Network. I needed Internet access to figure out how to modify the Grub Boot Loader (to make it a more amicable boot-up), so I rebooted to Windows XP, found the info and went back into Ubuntu. I modified the Grub Boot Loader to be hidden (access by pressing ESC) and to boot Windows by default if nothing else was chosen.

2. Get the Information from Windows

Whist in Windows XP, I jotted down the following information, which I knew I would need for connecting to the Microsoft Network from within Ubuntu. I got it by right-clicking the network icon (in Windows XP) next to the clock and selecting Support, and from going into the My Network icon and looking at Properties for my network, as well as the Internet Protocal Properties.

  • IP Address of my computer (static on the network);
  • Subnet Mask;
  • Default Gateway;
  • Primary DNS;
  • Alternate DNS;
  • Domain that my computer belongs to on the network;

3. Feed the Information to Ubuntu

Back in Ubuntu, which starts up fabulously quickly (Sabayon took forever to start up and shut down), I utilised the morsels of knowledge I gleaned up from various articles.

From the menu on the top bar choose System – Administration – Network, which will launch the Network Settings dialog. On my computer, Ubuntu has already recognised my wired connection (and the built it 56k modem, hardware that came with my office computer, the purpose of which I can’t explain) without me having done anything.

Highlighting wired connection and clicking Properties brings up the connection settings for this device. My configuration choice was Static IP and the three remaining fields, Static IP, Subnet Mask and Gateway Address was filled in with the info I got from Windows XP as mentioned above.

After pressing OK on that box, I moved to the next tab, General. The first field, Host Name, is, as far as I can tell, my computer name and the domain is the network group to which my computer belongs. I filled them in accordingly.

In the DNS tab I filled in the Primary and Alternate DNS information.

And that’s it.

I clicked close on the Network Settings dialog, launched Firefox and poof, Google loaded. To double check, from the menu on the top-bar, I went to Places – Network and the Network – File Browser opened and showed the Windows Network icon. Clicking on that brought up the various network domains, and clicking on my domain showed the computer in that domain.

And that’s how I got Ubuntu Linux to work with Microsoft Networks.

I also, just as easily, managed to configure Evolution to work with our Microsoft Exchange 2003 server and pull my data from there, so that Evolution works just like Microsoft Outlook does. But I’ll update about that a little later.


  • aslam

    11 June 2010 at 07:15

    thanks but it cant work…..


  • BigLinuxB00b

    5 March 2012 at 07:45

    I have done all of that and it did not work for me either. The windows network icon shows, but the only computer that shows up is my Linux box.

  • 1Earth

    21 April 2012 at 12:45

    Sorry BigLinuxBoob, this article is quite dated now and I'm not surprised that it doesn't work like this anymore. Ubuntu has come a long way and has gone through many changes in the 4 years since I wrote this, so perhaps with the latest version things are much different now. Hope you manage.

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