Setting Up Samba Primary Domain Controller On CentOS 7

In our previous tutorial, we have shown you how to setup a Samba Standalone server. This tutorial describes how to setup Samba Primary Domain Controller in CentOS 7. This setup was tested in CentOS 7 minimal server, although the same steps should work on RHEL 7 and Scientific Linux 7 as well.


I will be using two systems as mentioned below for the purpose of this article.

Samba PDC:

  • OS: CentOS 7 Minimal server
  • Hostname: server.unixmen.local
  • IP Address:
  • Samba Domain: UNIXMEN


  • OS: Windows 7 32 bit
  • Hostname: mywindesktop
  • IP Address:

Well, now let us dive into the Samba PDC setup.


Run the following command to install samba packages.

yum install samba* -y

To verify the version of Samba, enter the following commands:

smbd -V
smbclient -V

The output will be as below:

Version 4.1.1

Samba Configuration

Edit samba default configuration file;

vi /etc/samba/smb.conf

Find the following lines, and make the changes as shown below. Replace UNIXMEN with your own domain name.

  workgroup = UNIXMEN
  security = user
  domain master = yes
  domain logons = yes
  local master = yes
  preferred master = yes
  passdb backend = tdbsam
  logon path = \\%L\Profiles\%U
  logon script = logon.bat
  add machine script = /usr/sbin/useradd -d /dev/null -g 200 -s /sbin/nologin -M %u

  comment = Home Directories
  browseable = yes
  writable = yes

  comment = All Printers
  path = /var/spool/samba
  printable = Yes
  print ok = Yes
  browseable = No

  comment = Network Logon Service
  path = /var/lib/samba/netlogon
  browseable = No
  writable = No

  path = /var/lib/samba/profiles
  create mask = 0755
  directory mask = 0755
  writable = Yes

To make this much simple, move your old smb.conf file to a safe location.

mv /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf.bak

Create a new smb.conf file under /etc/samba/ directory;

vi /etc/samba/smb.conf

and copy/paste the above lines. Don’t forget to change the Domain name with your own.

Save and close the file

Test Samba configuration file syntax errors using the following command:


Your output might look like below.

Load smb config files from /etc/samba/smb.conf
rlimit_max: increasing rlimit_max (1024) to minimum Windows limit (16384)
Processing section "[homes]"
Processing section "[printers]"
Processing section "[netlogon]"
Processing section "[Profiles]"
Loaded services file OK.
Server role: ROLE_DOMAIN_PDC
Press enter to see a dump of your service definitions

    workgroup = UNIXMEN
    add machine script = /usr/sbin/useradd -d /dev/null -g 200 -s /sbin/nologin -M %u
    logon script = logon.bat
    logon path = \\%L\Profiles\%U
    domain logons = Yes
    preferred master = Yes
    domain master = Yes
    idmap config * : backend = tdb

    comment = Home Directories
    read only = No

    comment = All Printers
    path = /var/spool/samba
    printable = Yes
    print ok = Yes
    browseable = No

    comment = Network Logon Service
    path = /var/lib/samba/netlogon
    browseable = No

    path = /var/lib/samba/profiles
    read only = No
    create mask = 0755

Create the shares with proper permissions which we have mentioned in the smb.conf file

mkdir -m 1777 /var/lib/samba/netlogon
mkdir -m 1777 /var/lib/samba/profiles
Now, create the users whom you want to login to the domain.
useradd user1
useradd user2

Create Machine accounts:

You need to create machine account for every machine in order to allow domain login from Windows machines. The machine account are special accounts with $ at the end, i.e. machine$. The system accounts for machines do not need login shell neither home directory.

Add a new group named “machine” with group id “200”.

groupadd -g 200 machine

To add a Samba machine account, run the following command:

smbpasswd -m -a machine1$

Here, smbpasswd -m …. – tells that account will be used as NT primary domain controller (Machine account).

For more details about, smbpasswd command, refer this link.

Create Samba user accounts:

smbpasswd -a root
smbpasswd -a user1
smbpasswd -a user2

Here, ‘root’ user is the administrator that can be used to join the Windows NT/2000/XP/7 systems to be part of the domain.  In this case, do not provide smbpasswd with the same password as the actual root account on the server. Create a different password to be used solely for creating computer accounts. This will reduce the possibility of compromising the root password.

Start Samba services:

Finally start samba services and enable them to start automatically on every boot.

systemctl start smb
systemctl start nmb
systemctl enable smb
systemctl enable nmb

Firewall Configuration:

Samba uses the following Ports when runs as an Active Directory Domain Controller:

Service Port protocol
DNS 53 tcp/udp
Kerberos 88 tcp/udp
End Point Mapper (DCE/RPC Locator Service) 135 tcp
NetBIOS Name Service 137 udp
NetBIOS Datagram 138 udp
NetBIOS Session 139 tcp
LDAP 389 tcp/udp
SMB over TCP 445 tcp
Kerberos kpasswd 464 tcp/udp
LDAPS (only if “tls enabled = yes”) 636 tcp
Dynamic RPC Ports* 1024-5000 tcp
Global Cataloge 3268 tcp
Global Cataloge SSL (only if “tls enabled = yes”) 3269 tcp
Multicast DNS 5353 tcp/udp

Run the following commands one by one to allow Samba ports through firewall.

firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=53/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=53/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=88/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=88/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=135/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=137/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=137/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=138/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=139/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=389/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=389/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=445/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=464/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=464/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=636/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=1024-5000/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=1024-5000/udp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=3268/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=3269/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=5353/tcp
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=5353/udp

Finally restart firewall service.

firewall-cmd --reload

SELinux Configuration:

Apply the proper SELinux policies to Samba domain controller.

setsebool -P samba_domain_controller on
setsebool -P samba_enable_home_dirs on

Also to the Samab shares which we have defined in the smb.conf file.

chcon -t samba_share_t /var/lib/samba/netlogon
chcon -t samba_share_t /var/lib/samba/profiles

If you don’t want to mess up with Firewall and SELinux, simply disable them. Restart your server once you completed all above steps.

Joining Windows Clients To Samba PDC

Now try to join the samba domain from Windows OS client using the newly created user.

Right click on My Computer, go to Properties ->Advanced system settings.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_002

In the Computer Name tab, Click on the Change button.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_003

In the Domain field, enter your Domain name. In my case, it’s unixmen.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_004

Enter the Samba administrator, which is root in our case, and it’s password. Not the actual root user password. Enter the root password which we created earlier using smbpasswd command.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_006You may get an error like as shown below.

"The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted" 

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_007

Don’t worry. We can easily fix this error by doing the following tricks.

To get rid of this error, open the windows registry. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE  -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Services -> LanmanWorkstation -> Parameters.

Create new two DWORD values called “DomainCompatibilityMode” and “DNSNameResolutionRequired”. And set values for “DomainCompatibilityMode” as 1(one) and “DNSNameResolutionRequired” as 0(zero). Refer the below screenshot.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_008

Now, you’ll be able to join your windows client to domain.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_009

Click Ok to continue.

Opps! Again error!!

Changing the Primary Domain DNS name of this computer to "" failed. The name will remain "UNIXMEN".
 The error was:

The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_010

Simply click Ok to ignore this message. Don’t restart now.

Download and install a hotfix from the following link to prevent this error in future.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_011

After installing the fix, restart the Windows OS machine and you will able to login to Samba domain now.

Press CTRL+ALT+Del keys, Click Switch user, and select Other user option.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_012

Enter the user name and password. Remember we already have created two users namely user1 and user2 in our previous steps.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_013

That’s it. The new user will be able to login to the domain now.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_014

Please note that, a network drive will be automatically created for the each user. The users can store their personal files/folders in that network folder if they want.

Windows 7 [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_015

You access the samba users roaming profiles in the following location in the Samba server.

ls /var/lib/samba/profiles

Sample output:

user1.V2  user2.V2

Viewing individual users profiles:

ls /var/lib/samba/profiles/user1.V2/

Sample output:

AppData   Desktop    Downloads  Links  NTUSER.DAT  Pictures     Searches
Contacts  Documents  Favorites  Music  ntuser.ini  Saved Games  Videos

At this stage you have a fully operational Samba Domain Controller on CentOS 7. That’s it. Start using your Samba PDC. Good luck!


For more details, refer the official Samba documentation.

Reference Links: