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.

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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  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. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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 ;)

  9. 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!

  10. 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. :)

  11. 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.

  12. 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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  14. 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.

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