Samba as a WINS/NetBIOS Server

General Information

This guide explains how to setup Samba to be the network WINS/NetBIOS server and win every network browser election (for when two or more XP machines are on the same network and access is denied constantly comes up while trying to browse the network). This guide assumes you already have Samba installed from the ports tree.


  1. Samba installed and running.
  2. Local root access on the box or be able to su to root.
  3. Your favorite text editor (I like nano).
  4. A SSH client like puTTy or SecureCRT (only if not logging on locally).


Since you already have Samba installed there’s no need to install anything else.


This is where the fun begins.

# nano -w /usr/local/etc/smb.conf

Either scroll down or search (ctrl+w in nano) for the line “local master”. Uncomment this if it’s commented out and change the no to a yes.

Change the “os level” value to something high so it’ll be sure to win every election, like 100. 64 is the value of NT and the highest is 255.

Find “preferred master“, uncomment, and change to yes.

Scroll down a bit more until you come across the line “wins support“. Again, uncomment and change this value to yes.

Save, exit, and restart the samba daemons.

Configure the rest of the computers on the network accordingly.

Now you should have no trouble browsing the network and no more election battles/denied access with XP machines.

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