Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

Free and Easy To Use Data Backup

05 Sep

So you have important documents, precious family photos, and your music library sitting on your computer’s hard drive and you don’t have any of it backed up? Sound familiar? Well for many computer users it is, and it’s not a problem until your computer has a virus, it doesn’t boot up, or even worst yet….. the hard drive fails.

Most computer users I talk to don’t back up their data because it appears to be difficult, time consuming, or they just don’t want to spend any money on a back up solution.

Enter Dropbox.

Dropbox is easy to install,`it’s really easy to use and you can get 2gb’s of storage for free. Dropbox also makes it possible to access your data from any computer that is connected to the internet. All you have to do is sign up and install the software. No strings attached, and no nagging advertisements. If you have more than 2gb of data they can help with that too, but you will have to pay for it. For $9.99 month/$99.00 year you can upgade your account and get 50gb of storage, or for you file hoarders, you can get 100gb for $19.99 month/$199.00 year.

So what are you waiting for? Why not take 15-30 minutes of your life and start backing up your data. My experience tells me that one day you will be happy you did.

Download Dropbox here.


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OpenSSH Server Installation Instructions.

15 Jun

Without boring you to death with a bunch of technical information about OpenSSH, I will do my best to explain how you can install and use OpenSSH to remotely connect and configure your Debian server with a Windows computer. It’s all pretty simple, but there are a few things you need to have and do.


One of the things that you need to have is a router. If you don’t already have a router go a buy one. A good cheap router with wireless can be found for under $75. More on why you need a router and what you need to do with it later.

The other item you need is a free software application called PuTTY. PuTTY will be used from your Windows computer to connect to your Debian server. You can download PuTTY here.

OpenSSH Installation:

From your Debian server terminal and logged in as root.

 Step 1. Update Debian. Run the following command:

apt-get update

Step 2. Intall OpenSSH Server. Run the following command:

apt-get install openssh-server

Step 3. Backup OpenSSH config file. Run the following command:

backup sshd_config: cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config-backup

Step 4. Change the default port. Run the following command:

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Now that you are in OpenSSH’s config file, scroll down to the third line in where is reads Port 22. Change this to something other than 22, I suggest you change it to something random, but make sure it has 4 numbers instead of just two. There is a small (very small) that you could pick a port that another program uses. If you happen to do this, go and buy a lottery ticket too because you have either really good luck or really bad luck.

Step 4. Save and exit Nano. Run the following command:

ctrl x, y, enter

You should have successfully changed the port that you will be connecting to your Debian server through PuTTY. Now it’s time to give your Debian server a static ip address.

Change Network Interfaces:

This will change your Debian server so it has a static ip address instead of a dynamic ip address.

Step 1. Backup interfaces file. Run the following command:

cp /etc/network/interfaces /etc/network/interfaces-backup

Step 2. Edit interfaces file. Run the following command:

nano /etc/network/interfaces

The interfaces config file should look like shown below. It’s default settings are dhcp, meaning your server will get it’s ip address from your router using Dynamic Host Control Protocol or DHCP.

auto eth0

iface eth0 inet dhcp

We going to change the interfaces config file from dhcp to static. Change the interfaces config file so it looks like what is shown below. Your router might be different so it’s important that you know what your router is set to use. For example some routers use and some use Also, the address number I used in this example is, I picked 200 because it’s more thank likely not being used. You can use anything between 2-253, but keep in mind that if you have more than one computer on your network you could have a conflict because no two network devices can have the same ip address number.

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

Step 3. Save and exit Nano. Run the following command:

ctrl x, y, enter

Step 4. Reboot your Debian server. Run the following command:


Rebooting your server will reset the ip address you changed to the new static ip address and it will reset the OpenSSH port number you changed earlier.

Step 5. From you Windows computer open your command line interface. Do the following steps:

Start, Run, type CMD and hit enter on your keyboard.

Your Windows command line interface should be open. Now it’s time to ping your Debian server. (This step assumes your Debian server and Windows computer are hooked up to your router.)

Step 6. Run the following command and then hit enter on your keyboard:


(As mentioned earlier you may have selected a different number and your router might be using

If you see reply four times with response times you have successfully configured your Debian server and your Windows computer will be able to connect to it using PuTTY. If you see reply four times Destination Host Unreachable, then you will need to check your connections to your router or check your interfaces file again.

Step 7. You should have downloaded PuTTY and saved it to your Windows computer. The download link was mentioned earlier in this post. I recommend that you save PuTTY on your C:\Program Files\PuTTY. You will need to create the PuTTY folder inside the Programs Files folder. Once this folder has been created and you placed the putty.exe file in it, make a shortcut to PuTTY on your Windows computer’s desktop.

Step 8. Launch PuTTY and then type in your Debian server ip address and port number you changed earlier. If successful you should get a message that you need to install a certificate. Accept the certificate by saying Yes. After that is done you should be able to login to your Debian server just like you would through the Terminal.

Using PuTTY to connect to your Debian server remotely will save you space and time. The space you can save is you will no longer need a keyboard, monitor or mouse connected to your server. You can place your server anywhere you have power and a cable that will reach your router. The time you will save is configuring your server. You can copy commands from your Windows computer and paste them into PuTTY. For example all the commands I ask you to run from my posts can easily be copied from my blog into PuTTY and then run.




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Samba Installation

01 Jun

Installing Samba on a Debian server isn’t all that hard, and you shouldn’t have any trouble accessing your files from a Windows or Linux computer. Just be sure to follow the step by step instructions I have provided in this post. If you you need help building a Debian Server check out my other post Debian Linux Installation.

A couple of things need to be clarified. First, I am assuming your Debian server has a command line interface (CLI) and not a graphical user interface (GUI). A GUI means you have a desktop user environment. If you have a GUI then you will need to open the Terminal program, and switch to the root user, and then do all of the work in the Terminal. To switch to the root user in the Terminal, you just need to type su (su means switch user) followed by your root password. You have officially been warned. If you are using the CLI then you will only need to login as the root user.

The other thing I need to mention is, you will need to use a text editor to change the Samba configuration file (smb.conf) and you need to know a few basic Linux commands. I use Nano as my text editor and I don’t use a ton of commands. The commands for Nano are listed at the bottom of the Nano text editor. A couple of examples are, the control key is used along with a few letters like w and x. It’s pretty easy so stick with me.

As far as the Linux commands, here’s what you need to know:

cd – Change Directory

cp – Copy Command

mkdir – Make Directory

chown – Change Owner

chgrp – Change Group

Optional useful Linux commands:

ls – List Directory

cls – Clear Screen

Ok enough of the gibberish let’s get going. Make sure you are logged in to your Debian server as root and you have access to the internet. You also might need the cd that you installed Debian with.

Step 1. Update Debian. Run the following command:

apt-get update

Anytime you install packages in Debian you should run apt-get update, this prepares the Debian operating system to get new packages by updating it.

Step 2. Install Samba. Run the following command:

apt-get install libcupsys2 samba samba-common

Step 3. When prompted for the workgroup type Workgroup or your workgroup in the box. On the next question, when prompted, answer NO.

Before moving on, I want to give you little infomation about workgroups. Windows workgroups are loaded when you bought your computer. If you are running Windows XP Home it’s typically MSHOME if you are running Windows XP Professional it’s typically WORKGROUP. To locate your workgroup, look in the system information section of your Windows computer. Ok moving on….

Step 4. Make a backup copy of the Samba configuration file. Run the following command:

cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf-backup

The Samba configuration file is located in /etc/samba directory and the name of the file is smb.conf

Now that you made a backup copy of your Samba configuration file it is safe to edit it. Your backup file is called smb.conf-backup. If you mess up the original configuration file called smb.conf, all you need to do is copy the smb.conf-backup back by doing the following command.

cp /etc/samba/smb.conf-backup /etc/samba/smb.conf

Step 5. Edit the Samba configuration file smb.conf by using Nano text editor, Run the following command:

nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Step 6. You will now be in the Samba configuration file and will need to uncomment and edit a few things. This might be a little tricky so stick with me. When you need to uncomment a line all you need to do is remove the # from the beginning of the line, and to edit you just need to change the line to match what I show you. An easy way to find the area you need to uncomment or edit is by using the Where Is (Search) command in Nano. While you have the Nano text editor open you will simply use the ctrl,w command. ctrl is your control key on your keyboard and w is your w key on your keyboard. All you need to do is hold down your control key (ctrl) and then hit the (w) key and Nano will open up the Where Is search command. Now type in what you want to search for and Nano will find it for you. This will save you a ton of time scrolling through the configuration file, and a good thing to remember for future use.

Here’s the lines you need to uncomment by removing the # and what they should look like when you are done:




socket options = TCP_NODELAY


socket options = TCP_NODELAY

Notice there is no # in front of the two lines I asked you to uncomment.

Next you need to edit a few things in the Samba configuration file. In the [Homes] section of the same smb.conf file, change the writable line in the from no to yes and change the create mask and directory mask from 0700 to 0775.


create mask = 0775

directory mask = 0775

Step 7. You’re done making changes to the smb.conf file, so it’s time to save and exit Nano. While you are in Nano use the following key strokes on your keyboard:

ctrl, x


ctrl, x exits the program Nano and it will prompt you to save modified to buffer. y is for yes, you want to save this file. Your smb.conf file has been configured and you should be back to your the command prompt now and out of Nano.

I need to explain some things about Debian (Linux) user accounts and Samba user accounts. In Linux you need to have both a Linux user name and password and a Samba user name and password. They are not one and the same but you should keep them the same by creating the exact account name for both. This might be a little confusing let me explain. When you built your Debian Server you had to create a user name and password as well as a root password. This new Debian (Linux) user already has a Debian user account and a home directory in /home, but it doesn’t have a Samba user account. If you are using the same user name that you created when you built the Debian server then you will not need to create another Debian (Linux) user account and home directory in the /home. I hope I didn’t lose any of you but it needs to be understood.

Step 8. Add a Samba User. To add a Samba user use the following command:

smbpasswd username -a

your password

your password

Make sure you substitute the new user you want to create for the “username” and substitute the password you want for your new user for “your password”. I have to say these things or some of you obedient types will do exactly what I tell you.

Step 9. Add new Debian (Linux) user.

(Remember this is Not needed if you are using the same Debian user when you built your Debian server)

If you want to create a new Debian and Samba user you will need to make another directory for that user. To make a home directory for your new Debian user use the following steps.

Change directories to the /home directory:

cd /home

Make directory for your new user:

mkdir username

Again, substitute your new user name for “username”.

To add Debian user use the following command:

adduser username



You will also need to change the owner and group for the newly created user home directory. To do this use the chown and chgrp commands as follows:

chown username username

chgrp username username

Remember: The Debian server will have a user name and password, Samba will have a user name and password and if you use a Windows computer, it should have a user name and password. I would recommend (actually I’m demanding) that all three of the user names and passwords are exactly the same. This means your Debian (Linux), Samba and Windows user name and password are exactly the same.

Step 10. Test your Samba share:

In a Windows computer go to start and then run and type in the following UNC path.

//Server/Samba Share

Example: My Debian server name is Debian and my Samba user name is John so it should look like this:


If you configured everything right, you will be connected to /home/john on your Debian server.


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Debian Server Installation

20 May

I’m sure I will take some heat by saying Debian is the best distribution for a newbie who wants to build a Linux server. Linux distributions are plentiful, and once you find one you like it’s hard to use something else, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

It has been over ten years now since I built my first Linux server, and it wasn’t exactly Debian or a server. My first Linux creation was a MythTV PVR.  A buddy from work was building his MythTV PVR project using Fedora Linux and suggested I build one too. I purchased the hardware, downloaded the manual, and then my project came to a screaching halt. The instructions and commands were way beyond my comprehension and ability. I attempted to make a go of the project but ended up moving on to another solution.

Enter KnoppMyth, based on Debian Linux, the KnoppMyth project did most of the work. I was able to follow their instructions and run a few of the Debian commands from the terminal and walla, I had my first Linux creation a MythTV PVR.  Why am I telling you all of this? Because that project gave me the experience I needed to learn several more things that Linux and OpenSource software has to offer.

You can do the same thing and it’s not as complicated as it seems. If you are a newbie in the Linux world, I think you just might find that Debian will work for you too. Debian, as I have been told, is really the grand daddy of all Linux distributions. While Debian might not be the most popular distribution now, it’s still the backbone of many other distros including Ubuntu. So if you learn how to install and configure software, (better known as packages) in Debian you will be able to work with Ubuntu and many other distros.

How can you get started? Well, the first thing you need to do is download the Debian Server software. This isn’t too tough, I reccommend downloading the Debian Server Net Install ISO found here.

I use the I386 ISO and that should be good for most PC based computers. After you download the ISO file you will need to burn the ISO file to a CD.  A good free CD burning software is CDBurnerXP which can be found here.

CDBurnerXP requires Dotnet framework in order to run. If you run the .exe file that you downloaded it will force you to install Dotnet first. It has a link built right into the installer and it’s pretty easy to follow. If you want to just download and intall it seperately you can find dotnet 3.5 here.

Now that you have your CD with Debian Server net install you will need to prepare a PC based computer to be your server. Debian will run on old hardware and run pretty well. I have a Debian sever running on a Dell Optiplex GX150 with 512mb of ram and a 4gb Compaq Flash card as the hard drive. If you want to do something similar swing on over to Amazon and pickup a IDE to CF adapter and 4gb Compaq Flash card, both for about $20 including shipping.

Below is a very good installation guide  for Debian Etch you can follow. If you are lazy like me just follow the screenshots.



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Posted in Linux