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Wednesday April 16, 2014

smb.conf Can Trigger Windows 7 BSOD


This week I was troubleshooting a Windows 7 issue I was having: on a fresh install, it seemed I was unable to install new software from my network, though installing from a DVD or file downloaded and saved on the local machine was working just fine. After the requisite amount of cursing flung in the direction of Redmond, I eventually found a message thread that described a problem very close to what I was seeing, with a resolution. The poster’s PC was crashing randomly, mine was only when executing a file from a Samba share — I could copy files to or from the Samba share, but not execute a file (e.g., execute the Firefox or install programs).

Turns out that if you set “security = share” in your smb.conf, you will cause Windows 7 to crash most ungracefully with a BSOD memory dump that disappears quite quickly on you. Change the line in smb.conf to “security = user” and Windows 7 starts behaving again.

Kinda sad that a single setting on a remote machine would so easily cause a BSOD in Windows 7. Worst part is that it’s not an unusual setting (it was the default until not too long ago). One would expect at least a “normal” Windows error message rather than a full system crash.