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I currently manage a few more than a hundred computers for students in a University. The current setup is roughly as follows: all these computers dual boot Windows XP and Ubuntu 10.04. On Ubuntu, login works as follows:

  • The authentication is made through a central LDAP server, which allows users to use the same login/password pair as for all the other online services at the university.
  • The user's home directory is mounted from a central file server through the Samba (cifs) protocol.

Is there a way to setup the Windows installation so that it behaves similarly to the Linux one? The caveat is that I do not have any access to the central servers; all the information I have about them is the configuration files on the Ubuntu partition.

Currently Windows XP is installed for historical reasons, but the University does have volume licenses for Vista and Seven, so I could switch over if it would help making the above work.

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Windows side:

  1. Join them to the appropriate Windows domain. If there's not an appropriate Windows domain, there should be. I can't imagine a university environment of any size that doesn't have Active Directory and Group Policy implemented at some level.
  2. Make sure their domain accounts map their home directory as a drive letter pointing to the central file server's home share.

Linux side:

  1. Join the Linux system to the same domain as Windows uses. Make sure you use a different machine account name such as "computername-linux" if the Windows side's computer name is "computername".
  2. As for mounting their CIFS share into Linux as their home directory, I've tried that in the past with not much success, but things may have changed, or I could have missed a critical step. Regardless, pam_mount will almost definitely be part of the solution.
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The Linux part already does work, the user's home being automatically mounted to /u/username upon login and unmounted upon logout. I do not have access to the central server's home share, so it cannot be "pre-mounted" on a drive letter; each user has to mount his own folder. As for the Domain, I will ask around; provided that I do find one, how do I join it? – Gary Verhaegen May 16 '11 at 16:21
To join the domain, it's in "My Computer"'s properties, "Computer Name" tab, "Change" button. But it won't work without coordination from whoever runs the domain. You definitely need to find them, and when you do, you may find out that the students' home directories are already auto-mounted in that domain. – Mike Renfro May 16 '11 at 18:09

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