I was going to attempt Samba over SSH, any better ideas?

Edit: My mom has been bugging me to do some offsite backing up of her files. She currently uses Norton Ghost. I have a VPS that I use for some other stuff and I figured that I could just setup a FTP server and let Norton connect to that for some offsite backing up action. But for some unknown reason, Norton doesn't handle SFTP or FTPS, so I have to figure out how to automatically mount a Linux drive on Windows or get Norton working with SFTP.

Edit: Thanks for all your help guys (girls?)!

  • Have a look at sshfs - not sure what tools are available for that on windows though.
    – khosrow
    Jun 3, 2009 at 0:21
  • you should open a question in Serverfault.com and then put a link to it in here. then close the question.
    – zonkflut
    Jun 3, 2009 at 0:34
  • Sorry, no sshfs for Windows... FUSE is *nix only
    – gWaldo
    Oct 4, 2010 at 13:42

15 Answers 15


This doesn't really answer the question but I'm a fan of Mozy for off-site backup.

  • Unlike Dropbox (which I do like too for sharing/syncing files), your files can be in any combination of directories.
  • Backups happens automatically in the background so you don't need to think about it
  • Backups are incremental - only changed files need to get sent
  • Like Dropbox, Mozy stores previous versions (up to a month?) so you're not in trouble even if you "backed up" files after they went wonky.
  • Your data will be encrypted with your own key (generated within Mozy client upon install) before it is sent over the wire, and you can optionally store this key with Mozy for safekeeping if you trust them enough and are afraid of losing your key.
  • And unlike the homebrew approach of copying files to another machine at home, your backups are truly off-site.
  • 1
    I actually ended up doing this, so far the only thing that I've had to get my mom to do is not turn the computer off while the first large upload happens. Jun 3, 2009 at 19:35

I just tested WinSCP for you, it works with nothing but an open SSH port on the server--was very straight-forward.

It doesn't allow a true mount from looks of things, it gives you one of those left/right copy things instead.

I bet there is an SSHFS client for windows out there somewhere though if you really need that.

Edit: There is an old program from Novel that will do this, it's apparently free, but I haven't tested it. You might give it a try: http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/qna/999.html


If you prefer a commercial version (because of the suppport) to Dokan-SSH, you can try ExpanDrive for Windows ExpanDrive for Windows website


(note: is this a serverfault.com question?)

I use a VPN for this. The file server runs poptop. Windows machines connect to it via the built in VPN client. SAMBA to share the folder, and voila.

Use WINS for naming for extra credit so the Windows machines don't need shortcuts to things like \192.168.0.x\sharename on the desktop.

  • yes, it should be on servervault.com (or perhaps superuser.com, were it available)
    – Jonathan Fingland
    Jun 3, 2009 at 0:08

Your approach might work but WebDAV might fit the bill as well.


An alternate suggestion that might help - It seems as though you might be over complicating the issue. There are multiple simple backup utilities for Windows, not withstanding your Norton solution.

Admittedly it's a little low-tech, but it seriously fulfills the "offsite" requirement AND removes the network from the equation, to protect against timeouts, lags, dropped VPN connections, etc. while you're backing up.

Using two like-sized external drives, label one "Week 1" and the other "Week 2".

Connect the "Week 1" drive to the computer, configure it to perform a weekly full followed by incrementals, silently in the background. Have your mum remove the drive and set it aside.

On Thursday or whaetver, stop by to raid the fridge, do a little laundry and connect up the drive labeled "Week 2". Doublecheck, make sure that the drive has assumed the same drive letter and your backup software sees it.

Grab and toss the "Week 1" drive on top of the clean shirts and socks in the laundry basket, on your way out the door. Keep it aside, safe and away from danger. This is your mum's `offline storage'.

Rinse, repeat. You've just created a smaller version of what most businesses do every week with their data.

If you've got space to spare or your mum's HD isn't that big and a lot of files don't change that often, feel free to juggle and tweak the times/config a bit if a.) you don't do laundry at home all that much and/or you're comfortable storing more than a week's worth of data on a drive like that.

  • I don't live with her anymore, and she is the computer illiterate, It would work for other people but not for me. I went with Mozy, 5 bucks a month, does what I needed. Jun 3, 2009 at 19:37
  • Sweet, no worries.. Glad you found a solution. I'll have to check Mozy out.. Jun 3, 2009 at 19:53

It looks like there is a package that supports sshfs on Windows, it's called Dokan:


EDIT: in light of your recent edit you may find PSCP sufficient. PSCP is a command-line scp program from PuTTY: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

You could dump all files to be backed up to a certain directory on your Windows machine, then have a script scp those files to your VPS.

  • Thanks for that, too complicated for mom, but great for me. Jun 3, 2009 at 19:37

I use a VPN for this. The file server runs poptop. Windows machines connect to it via the built in VPN client. SAMBA to share the folder, and voila.

Use WINS for naming for extra credit so the Windows machines don't need shortcuts to things like \192.168.0.x\sharename on the desktop.


Seems like a sensible idea to me. I've done this before.

There is a slight snag in that your local windows machine is probably already running it's own file sharing server (so you can't bind to localhost:139 when forwarding) and I you can't specify which port to connect to for file sharing.

Really simple solution is to disable file sharing on your windows machine, or Samba over SSH without disabling local file sharing


This doesn't directly answer your question, but perhaps an alternative solution for your offline backup setup.

Have you looked at JungleDisk and DropBox?

These are fairly inexpensive "cloud" solutions that mount as if they were network drives in Windows/Linux/Mac.

I have been pretty pleased with JungleDisk. I think I have about 20GB backed up and it costs me about $4.50/month with Amazon S3 as the backend.

  • I ended up just going the easy way with mozy, any reason to use JungleDisk instead? Jun 3, 2009 at 19:39
  • I don't see that Mozy supports a native Linux client right now whereas JungleDisk and DropBox do. I just inferred from your question that you would be interested in a Linux-friendly solution even if your immediate needs are Windows. If not, then you'll probably do well with Mozy, though I've never used it personally. I was already an Amazon S3 customer when I found JungleDisk, so that's what I prefer. If you pay JD $1/month you can take advantage of their Pro service which allows incremental rsync-like backups. Jun 4, 2009 at 19:34

rsync does not actually mount a filesystem but nonetheless lets you list contents of directories and transfer files to and from a Linux machine.

rsync for Windows can be found, for example, in rsync.zip archive there


Use rsync for Windows to backup data on your Windows machine

  • That's how I backup my computer, too much for my mom to understand. Jun 3, 2009 at 19:39

scp (in PuTTY's PSCP or WinSCP), WebDAV, or rsync are probably your best options.

Set (as a scheduled task) and forget!

+1 for a Mom who's nagging you about providing you with an offsite-backup!


You could look at webdav over https. Apache and mod_webdav should work fairly easily. You might have file permission problems though with everything being owned by the webserver user.


You can also install Windows Services for UNIX on your Windows machine and access your Linux box via NFS

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