Joining the EEE PC to a Windows Workgroup

If your Eee PC is already running Windows, joining a workgroup is a trivial task and so there is no point in writing a blog entry dedicated to it.  I am writing to describe the task of joining a workgroup from a Linux based PC like my EEE PC 900.

The distribution of Linux chosen by ASUS for their Eee PC line is Xandros which was developed with Windows interoperability in mind.  In fact, Xandros has entered into a collaboration agreement with Microsoft to enhance Windows interoperability.  If this is the case, it should be a pice of cake to join a Windows workgroup wouldn’t you think?  Well it is only if your workgroup is called “WORKGROUP”.

 I imagine that some of you are asking why you would need to join a workgroup in the first place.  The reason is to share files, folders or printers over your home network .  In my case, I wanted my Eee PC to use a printer connected to another workstation running Windows XP.  To do so, the Eee PC had to be in the same workgroup as the workstation hosting the printer.  Being in the same workgroup as the other computers on your network is also handy when sharing files

It turns out that the Eee PC defaults to the Workgroup named, “WORKGROUP”.  Other versions of Windows also have the default workgroup name of WORKGROUP but no all.  For example, Windows XP has the default workgroup name of “MSHOME”.  In my case, I had already set the workgroup name on my home network to “DENKIGAI”.  I spent a lot of time looking for a GUI that allowed me to change the Workgroup but I struck out.  In this case, it seems the best way to change the default Windows workgroup name is to edit the associated conf file by hand.

Windows Network support under Linux is provided by a module called SAMBA.  Again, I used xedit to edit the configuration file.  In the terminal window type:  sudo xedit /etc/samba/smb.conf   The smb.conf file will open in a xedit window.  Look for the line that says: workgroup = WORKGROUP and change it to reflect your workgroup name.  In my case I changed this line to workgroup = DENKIGAI.  Click the save button twice to save the changes, exit and reboot.

When your computer comes up the next time, it will appear in the new workgroup.  To explore your Windows network, select the Work tab on the home page (start page if you prefer) and then click on the File Manager icon.  Expand the Windows Networksection and your workgroup name should appear.  Click on your workgroup name to view the computers on your network.  At this point, your network view is equivalent to that of Network Neighborhood in Windows.

All this is pretty cool don’t you think; Sharing printers and files with other Linux and Windows PCs?  The only problem I have noticed is that my Eee PC cannot always find all the workgroup computers.  I haven’t been able to explore the reasons why.  Could it have something to do with packet loss over my wireless network.  I will run some experiments when I have more time. 

The Denki-Guy

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2 Responses to “Joining the EEE PC to a Windows Workgroup”

  1. JimmyBean Says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  2. denkigai Says:

    Jim, thanks for the good word. So far I have been writing about real world problems I have encountered with my Linux based Eee PC. I figure if I am seeing a problem, dozens of other Eee PC owners are seeing the same problem too. I hope the info in this blog is a help.

    The Denki-Guy

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