Setting up Samba as a Domain Member

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Revision as of 01:07, 18 October 2015 by Mmuehlfeld (talk | contribs) (New documentation about how to setup Samba to join as a Domain Member (prerequisite for file-/printservers))
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In the context of Samba, you usually hear only about servers (AD DCs, NT4 PDCs, file servers, etc.). You mostly not hear very much about a Samba workstation as a Domain Member, like in the Windows world about hosts running e. g. Windows 10 Pro or some other workstation edition. What if you want to join a Linux workstation to the domain, to authenticate user logins against your Domain Controller(s)?

Generally speaking, a Samba workstation is a Samba server that provides neither file shares nor print services. The other way around - and this is how we will structure our documentation here - being a Domain Member is the prerequisite for configuring a Samba file and/or print server.

See the server information used in documentation page for paths used, hostnames, etc.


You have the following options to install Samba:

Preparing the host for the domain join

AD DNS zone resolution

Many things in an Active Directory, like Kerberos, rely on DNS. Therefore it is required that the host is able to resolve AD DNS zones. If you're having multiple DCs acting as a DNS server, it's recommended to setup multiple nameserver entries for fail over reasons.

On Linux and Unixes, you usually configure DNS settings in /etc/resolv.conf:


Some tools like NetworkManager may overwrite manual changes in that file. Please consult your distributions documentation for configuring name resolution.

To verify a correct name resolution, try resolving the hostname of one of your Domain Controllers:

# host -t A has address


In an Active Directory, an accurate time synchronization is necessary for Kerberos to prevent replay attacks and for resolving directory replication conflicts. For that reasons, your host won't be able to access AD servers or be accessed by others if providing shares, if the time differs to your AD. See Time syncronisation for further information and configuration examples.

Local hostname resolution

During the Domain join, Samba tries to register/update the hosts name and IP in your AD DNS. This requires, that "net" can resolve both either via DNS or /etc/hosts. To verify, run

# getent hosts M1    M1

The commands output must show the correct LAN interface IP (not 127.*.*.*!) and the hostname including the AD DNS zone. Additional alias names are optional. If you're getting a different output, fix it in your DNS or by adding/changing the /etc/hosts entry:    M1

Setup a Domain Member smb.conf file

Before joining a domain, it's necessary to create Sambas configuration file "smb.conf". The following command shows, where the file is located in your installation:

# smbd  -b | grep CONFIGFILE
  CONFIGFILE: /usr/local/samba/etc/smb.conf

In the following you see an smb.conf example, that is sufficient to join a domain, if you add an "idmap config" part, fitting to your environment:


       netbios name = M1
       security = ADS
       workgroup = SAMDOM
       realm = SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM

       log file = /var/log/samba/%m.log
       log level = 1

       dedicated keytab file = /etc/krb5.keytab
       kerberos method = secrets and keytab
       winbind refresh tickets = yes

       winbind trusted domains only = no
       winbind use default domain = yes
       winbind enum users  = yes
       winbind enum groups = yes
       # Default idmap config used for BUILTIN and local accounts/groups
       idmap config *:backend = tdb
       idmap config *:range = 2000-9999

       # idmap config used for your domain.
       # Choose one of the following backends fitting to your
       # requirements and add the corresponding configuration. 
       #  - idmap config ad
       #  - idmap config rid
       #  - idmap config autorid

See the manpage of "smb.conf" for detailed information about the parameters and options used.

The domain join

A note on provisioning: A Domain Member must not be provisioned via "samba-tool"! This process isn't implented yet.

The following command will join the host to the domain and automatically register/update its DNS record:

# net ads join -U administrator
Enter administrator's password: Passw0rd
Using short domain name -- SAMDOM
Joined 'M1' to dns domain ''

If you encounter any error message(s), see Troubleshooting error messages during Domain Member join.


Domain domain users and groups are made available to your local system through libnss_winbind. The smb.conf configuration was already done in a previous step. Next is to tell your system to retrieve that information from winbindd by adding "winbind" to the following two lines of your /etc/nsswitch.conf:

passwd: files winbind
group:  files winbind

Keep the existing database "files" (sometimes you may find "compat" instead of "files"). It defines that accounts and groups are first looked up in local files (/etc/passwd and /etc/group), then via Winbindd.

Important: If you have compiled Samba, you may need to add two symbolic links. See libnss_winbind links for OS specific information, where to place them. Samba package installations usually place the file directly in the OSs library path or have the links included.

Start daemons

Depending on how you use your Domain Member, you have to start different daemons:

For a pure Domain Member (domain logons only):

# winbindd

For Domain Members sharing directories (file server) and/or printers (print server):

# smbd
# nmbd
# winbindd

If you installed Samba via packages, you usually have init scripts or systemd/upstart support included. If you have compiled Samba, you need to do write your own scripts. See the init script page for examples. For automatic startup of the service(s) at boot time, please consult you distributions documentation.

Testing Winbindd user/group retrieval


The first check is, if Winbindd in general is able, to retrieve domain users and groups. On a successful setup, the commands will print all users/groups in your domain:

# wbinfo -u
# wbinfo -g
enterprise admins
domain computers
domain admins

Using domain accounts/groups in OS commands

If you have correctly included libnss_winbind in your system, the following commands should print all local users/groups and then the ones from the domain (see /etc/nsswitch.conf order):

# getent passwd
# getent group
domain admins:x:10001:
domain users:x:10000:

Note: If you're not getting domain accounts/groups in that output, verify that

  • libnss_winbind configuration is correct - expecially if "ldconfig" is able to find "" and ""
  • if using idmap config ad, accounts/groups have RFC2307 attributes set
  • "winbind enum users" and "winbind enum groups" are set to "yes" in your smb.conf

If you're seeing domain accounts/groups, you can use them in OS, like

# id administrator
uid=10000(administrator) gid=10000(domain users) Gruppen=10000(domain users),10001(domain admins),2001(BUILTIN\users),2000(BUILTIN\administrators)
# chown administrator:"domain users" file.txt
# ls -s file.txt
-rw-------. 1 administrator domain users 992  18. Oct 2015  file.txt

Authenticating Domain users via PAM

If you had setup this Domain Member as a server providing file shares or print services, you may want to skip this part, to prevent domain users logging on local to the hosts console.

General information

Important note: Before you start changing your PAM configuration:

  • make sure you know what you're doing!
  • login within a second terminal, before you start and keep it open until everything works like expected. Otherwise you may lockout yourself and won't be able to login again!

If you have compiled Samba, you need to add a symbolic links. See pam_winbind link for OS specific information, where to place it. Samba package installations usually place the file directly in the right folder or have a link included.

Configure PAM

Note: Whenever your distribution ship tools to configure PAM, it's recommended to use them, instead of manually editing the configuration files!

  • Red Hat based OS: authconfig/authconfig-tui
  • Debian based OS: pam-auth-update
  • SUSE based OS: yast

For manual changes: Typically the PAM configuration files are located in /etc/pam.d/ Depending on your distribution, the filename(s) may differ. E. g. on RHEL, you configure system login authentication in /etc/pam.d/password-auth-ac:

auth        required
auth        sufficient nullok try_first_pass
auth        requisite uid >= 1000 quiet_success
auth        sufficient use_first_pass                                  # <-- add this line
auth        required

account     required broken_shadow
account     sufficient
account     sufficient uid < 1000 quiet
account     [default=bad success=ok user_unknown=ignore]                  # <-- add this line
account     required

password    requisite try_first_pass retry=3 type=
password    sufficient sha512 shadow nullok try_first_pass use_authtok
password    sufficient use_authtok                                     # <-- add this line
password    required

session     optional revoke
session     required
session     [success=1 default=ignore] service in crond quiet use_uid
session     required

For additional information about PAM configuration and used settings in the above example, please consult the PAM documentation and the manpages of pam.conf and pam_winbind.

Verify domain user login

Try to login on the local console with a domain user account:

CentOS Linux 7 (Core)
Kernel 3.10.0-229.11.1.el.7.x86_64 on an x86_64

M1 login: demo01
Password: Passw0rd

[demo01@M1 ~]$ _

Setting up additional services

After you now have successfully made your host to a Domain Member, you can, likewise on an Windows OS, additonally share directories (file server) or act as an print server.