How to Fix ‘Failed to Retrieve Share List from Server’ in Ubuntu 12.04 / 11.10 when File Sharing with Windows

Recently, many have told me that they followed my tutorials on file sharing between Windows and Ubuntu and they still couldn’t get Ubuntu to access Windows shares. Even though they followed the tutorial to the letter, they still got ‘Failed to retrieve share list from server’ every time. This brief tutorial will show you how to fix the issue when you come across it in Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin).

To read our recent tutorial on file sharing between Windows and Ubuntu, click here.


  • Fix the error ‘failed to retrieve share list from server’ in Ubuntu 12.04 / 11.10
  • Enjoy!

To get started, press Ctrl – Alt – T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the commands below to open samba configuration file.

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sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf




Finally, scroll down a bit in the file and find :  WORKGROUP = Workgroup_Name.   Right below that, type the line shown below and save the file.

name resolve order = bcast host




Restart your computer and try again. I hope it works for you.



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68 thoughts on “How to Fix ‘Failed to Retrieve Share List from Server’ in Ubuntu 12.04 / 11.10 when File Sharing with Windows”

  1. Thank you thank you thank you! This tutorial and the one on setting up Windows shares in Linux Mint totally got my networking, umm, working. I was tearing my hair out slogging through dry, wordy Wikis and ridiculous”[SOLVED]” forum postings with enough lines of code to launch the space shuttle, and getting NOWHERE. I was ready to give up on Linux as crowdsourced chaos. THIS is what Linux tutorials should be like! Who knew a Liberian Geek could do it better than all those American geeks out there? Gotta love the connected world! BTW I’m making a donation by PAYPAL ASAP to support your awesome work!

  2. A million trillion thanks !!! Worked great for LinuxMint 14. Average speeds of 5 MB/s plus, what a relief! Now I can access my NAS drive better.

  3. I got that same error but found an easier solution (I think).
    I logged in to the router as admin, refreshed “attached devices” and while logged in tried to access the network share.

    After doing it that way once, the problem was gone forever.
    How that worked? No idea.

  4. Wow. Over a year I tried and given up many times.
    First instruction to allow my Ubuntu and Linux Mint 12 to connect to my Windows XP Pro compaq notebook.
    Didn’t even need to reboot my Linux Mint workstation after the smb.conf edit.
    Changed the workgroup name on XP and rebooted and voila, the external 3tb usb drive with shared folder shows up and can videos and all files play across the wifi lan.

    Kudos to you!

  5. Thankyou! After a lot of searching for a solution this enabled my Ubuntu system to access a USB drive attached to a Homehub V1. Genius!

  6. Thank you for the short tutorial. This did not work for me.
    The error shows up intermittently.

    Ubuntu 12.04LTS – up-to-date

  7. IMHO, you should use gksudo (not sudo) with a GUI application like gedit … so you don’t risk to blow any configuration. (At least that’s what I repeatedly read in a lot of posts.)

  8. Thanks much. I spent hours of frustration yesterday trying to solve this glitch on a new install of Maya that runs in a VM.

    Today I was determined to crack the problem & had even got out my copy of O’Reilly’s Second Edition of “Using Samba”. Then I decided to do a quick web search & your post came up. I edited my smb.conf per your advice, restarted smbd & nmbd & all of a sudden I could browse all my network shares.

    Do you have any idea why this change to name resolve order works? I can only assume there are some defect(s) in the wins or lmhosts resolution processes that muck up everything. Previously I was using:
    name resolve order = wins lmhosts hosts bcast

    If wins &/or lmhosts simply failed, you’d think samba would just fall back on hosts or bcast & still work.

    Again, my thanks.

  9. Excellent, I had the same issue, changed smb.conf according to the site and restarted samba with sudo stop smbd and sudo start smbd and now I can access my shares!


  10. So simple. Why does any update screw samba when it installs properly. More to the point every body who use Samba should have this simple line in the con-fig file

    Well Done

  11. Finally! After days of trying to gain access – it works. Thank you! Now if I can just figure out why it wants me to enter a password when no password has been set for this share…

  12. Yes, this worked! Once again, LiberianGeek has rescued me from my Linux/Windows interfacing troubles. I have finally made a donation/contribution to those who have saved me countless hours of frustration. “A worker is worthy of his wage.” Thanks!

  13. This worked great for me. I went to the /etc/samba/smb.conf file, and found that there was already a line for name resolve order, but it was commented out by default:

    ; name resolve order = lmhosts host wins bcast

    I changed it to what you recommended, but did not need to restart the whole system, just the services

    sudo service nmbd restart
    sudo service smbd restart

  14. Thanks, Just a newb here trying out linux. Been at it for about 2 weeks wrestling with different issues like the one above, ( Thanks, it worked like a charm ), to the intricacies of making wireless with a broadcom chips work.
    Your help is greately appreciated, thanks.

  15. Thank you very much. That’s an excellent workaround!!! My Linux machine used to be able to browse to resources for quite sometime. Then one day it simply quits and threw the error ‘Failed to Retrieve Share List from Server’ Your remedy works great! keep it up ;)

  16. A million THANKS, Richard!!! After a recent update to Mint 13 Mate, I could no longer connect to my MS XP shares. I followed your instructions exactly, and my problem was solved. And it was such an easy easy process! Why can’t every Linux solution be so simple? Thanks so very much!

  17. you are a genius. thank you.
    linux has been going to hell lately and good folks like you help straighten out the wrinkles.

  18. Hi

    Thanks for this – this is about the third time you have helped me over the last month – I am a novice linux – trying to get into !

    Many thanks

  19. Worked well for me– but I didn’t have to restart my computers, just restarted samba by doing:
    sudo service restart smbd
    –on both server and client machines

  20. Richard! Your the man dude! Thank you so much! This networking with linux and new ubuntu editions has been gradually getting harder and harder to sort out. This time when installing 14.04 – I could not get the stupid thing to open any of the windows computers on my network. I got it as far as being able to find the network name and list the computers but it wouldn’t access them. And windows was able to access ubuntu no problem. This drove me nuts for 2 days, searching for a solution. Only now at nine in the evening have I found your brilliant and just so bloody simple solution – and when I saw it work, well I just had to dance a jig. Chuffin brilliant dude. Thank you. I can now get on with living my life again. :)

  21. It worked! Many blessings. I have no idea what it means, but it worked slick as snot. For those who follow me, here’s how I got here. Just updated from Ubuntu 12 to 14. All the samba file sharing was working just fine under Ubuntu 12. When during the update it asked should it overwrite a config file, each time I would say no. (I assumed there were settings I had made that I would want to keep.) My Ubuntu 12 config did not have this line (name resolve order = bcast host) and worked fine. Adding this line for Ubuntu 14 has produced the windows PC directories again. Now I need to figure out what password to put in to access a PC file. It is presently rejecting the password I thought it should be.

  22. You will be remebered in my next prayers.

    Thankyou so much. Added “name resolve order = bcast host” to line under the workgroup one, logged ot and in again and Bobs your uncle.

    Been stuck at this off and on for over a year.

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  24. I wanted to throw my two cents in. I’ve had problem after problem with MINT Linux and Windows Shares. Seems like I finally nailed it down with adding the following line to the smb.conf file in the [global] area:

    name resolve order = lmhosts host wins bcast

    But, every once in a while I am unable to access the Windows Shares from my MINT laptop. I love Linux, and MINT is my favorite flavor. But I keep banging my head with this at least once a month. But?? For me at least, the problem was actually my router, not my Linux SAMBA configuration. Try if you’ve already modified your smb.conf file and had it working, then suddenly it stopped? Do a simple UNPLUGGING of your Router before you make any major changes.. Sounds almost too simple, but time and time again, this has been my problem.

    Linux is solid.. It’s logical.. And MINT is awesome, especially for an out-of-the-box experience. I just don’t want people giving up on the Windows alternative (Linux) with stuff that is ridiculously frustrating, but yet so simple…

    email me if you want my smb.conf file.

  25. This does not works on Ubuntu 14.04.
    Instead I done below steps & they worked for me.
    $sudo vi /etc/hosts

    ———Done host entry——-
    for ex. Share-PC
    & saved the file.

  26. Just about to go mental after adding a Beelink R89 with Ubuntu 14 to desktop – with no connection to my old Dell pc with Ubuntu 14.
    Added the magic line – and away she goes ?!

  27. After I installed VMWare Workstation Player under CentOS 7, I saw this error because it changed my network interfaces. Samba started listening on the wrong interface. The actual error is recorded in /var/log/samba/log.smbd:

    STATUS=daemon ‘smbd’ finished starting up and ready to serve connectionsFailed to delete pidfile /run/
    . Error was No such file or directory

    Enabling both the nmb and smb daemons got rid of the error message in the log, but still didn’t fix the problem:

    sudo systemctl enable smb
    sudo systemctl enable nmb

    Next, look at /var/log/samba/log.nmbd and see if it has something like:

    Samba name server CENTOS is now a local master browser for workgroup MYGROUP on subnet

    That subnet was for VMWare’s NAT and the workgroup name is wrong. The workgroup name needs to match the other Windows computer’s workgroup name. The interface needs to match your actual ethernet interface, which VMWare also renames.

    To find the right interface name, enter ifconfig and look for something other than ‘lo’ that doesn’t start with ‘vir’ or ‘vm’ (and likely has a inet address starting with 192 or 10). In my case, eth0 became enp6s0. If you look at Gnome’s Network Settings, you’ll likely find it under PCI Ethernet.

    The fix is to edit /etc/samba/smb.conf, go down a few pages, and change:
    workgroup = MYGROUP

    ; interfaces = lo eth0

    workgroup = WORKGROUP

    interfaces = enp6s0

    Then restart smb:

    systemctl restart smb

    After I did *both* of these, it started working again.

    I also changed:
    netbios name = CENTOS
    max protocol = SMB2
    but I’m not sure what effect that had.

  28. I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!
    I HAD 1 Windows machine and 4 Linux machines, different flavors.
    I never was able to see a windows machine on the network, but was not to big of a deal. If I needed to move a file, I would put it on a thumb drive and take it to the windows server that I was using for file storage. “storage spaces”. But for work, I had to start doing that every day. I looked on the web for help, and it all seamed like you had to have a degree in “command line” to get It to work :( Not haveing the patience to type and edit and roll etc. I just went and bought 2 OEM’s of windows:((
    Today, I thought I would look again and found your help. I saw it was more “command line” stuff. You made it look easy enough for me to do it. And it worked.. I have been using Linux since there was a GUI. I did not want to learn “command line” And any time that I had to do command line, I would just go back to windows.
    I have Never seen shared folders from a Linux machine before.
    I know that some Linux hard core’s are saying “but command line is
    I just don’t under stand why that line cant be put into the thing that I edited. (please don’t try to explain :).
    Now this is the FIRST Linux machine that I have been able to use for 100% of everything that I do on a computer. (Games (steam), Internet cruising, Video’s,music, and now work).
    I will put this link on my Google Drive so when I do an upgrade and the file gets “upgraded” back to not working, I can fix it again.
    Sorry for the Rant:)

    Thanks again for the fix.

  29. Does not work. I tried applying this in all four possible combinations with the /etc/hosts solution noted elsewhere, and no dice.

    What’s worse is that I have two Ubuntu 12.04 boxes next to each other; one works, the other doesn’t. I’ve yet to identify the difference, as the one that works has neither of these solutions applied.

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