How to access windows files in ubuntu

Sharing files between multiple computers is a breeze with the easy sharing option available on Windows computers. But, when it comes to Linux computers, there is a handful of ways you can do that. But when it comes to sharing files between a Windows computer and a Linux machine, SSH is one of the best ways. But, if you want, you can also get access to the shared folders on a Windows computer right from your Linux system. That isn’t complicated at all. Even if you have a Network Attached Storage device or some other device that supports the SMB protocol, it is going to be useful there, as well.

There is no doubt, Ubuntu is the Linux distribution of choice for most users out there, and I will discus, how you can access the shared folders on a Windows computer from a Linux system. As far as Ubuntu is concerned, you will not need to install any additional program or app to access the shared folders on a Windows computer or send or receive files using the SMB protocol. You just need to use the default Files app that comes pre-installed with your Ubuntu computer. So, if you have movies, documents, or other files on a remote computer, you can access them on your Ubuntu computer using the tutorial.

How to access shared folders of Windows computer using SMB protocol on a computer running Ubuntu

Before you proceed with this tutorial, you will first need to know the IP address of your Windows computer or any other device that you want to access.

You can either get it from your router control panel webpage or by using the ‘ipconfig’ command on the Command Prompt. Note the IP address down.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

Check Ip address on Windows 10/7

Accessing Windows shared folders on Ubuntu

Step 1: Open the default Files application or File Manager on your computer running Ubuntu, and click on ‘ Other Locations ’.

Open Ubuntu File manager and access Other Locations

Step 2: Just below the ‘Files’ application, enter the IP address of the remote computer, which is a Windows computer here, in the following format, and hit the enter key or click on ‘Connect‘.

In our case:

Enter the IP address of Windows machine

Step 3: Now, you can get access to the shared folders. The path is optional, however. Depending upon the security and privacy of the remote computer, you might have to enter the username and password of the remote Windows computer, and click on ‘Connect’ .

How to access windows files in ubuntu

username and password of the remote Windows computer

Now, you can copy and paste files between your computer, and the remote computer, open or delete the files, or carry out other tasks depending upon the privileges that you have.

Access Windows files on a Linux Ubuntu

After you have added one or more Windows computers this way, you can even get one-click access to them on the left panel of the Files application. If you have FTP, NFS or other servers too, you can access all of them from the left. You can even unmount them with just a single click, using the up arrow. The only thing that you should remember, is the IP address of the Windows or the remote computer, without which, you won’t be able to access the remote computer.

So, it is really simple to get access to the shared folders on Windows from a Linux computer. The connections are stable, as well, and you will not find any problems at all to send or receive files or execute programs. This can be very useful if you want to access a NAS or any other storage device on the network from your Linux system.

So, that was all about how you can access shared folders on Windows from a computer running Ubuntu. Do you have anything to say? Feel free to comment on the same below.

The connection between Linux and Windows is getting closer and closer. Now that Microsoft has supported Linux with the WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), it is doing what users have asked it to do: The Windows 10 April 2019 update allows access to Linux files from Windows.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

Version 1903 of Windows 10 not only gives you the ability to open Linux files in the Explorer, but also the ability to edit Linux files on Windows.

One of the most surprising things about Windows 10 is that you can activate a Windows subsystem for Linux, install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, and then run Linux commands in a Bash shell.

What is a Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL)?

The Windows for Linux Subsystem (WSL) is a new feature of Windows 10 that allows you to run native Linux command line tools directly on Windows in addition to your traditional Windows desktop applications and modern shop applications.

This feature has been available in one form or another since early 2016, but Microsoft is constantly working to improve the way Windows and Linux can be shared.

For example, you couldn’t start Windows applications from a Linux terminal at an early stage. Now you can. And although you have been able to access Windows files from a Linux terminal for some time now, it is not the opposite that happens. But it will be soon.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

How to access Ubuntu files (Windows subsystem) from Windows 10

Although we show this tutorial for the Ubuntu subsystem, the process will be the same for other systems installed on the WSL, such as OpenSUSE, Kali, and others.

The address at which Windows 10 WSL stores the Linux environment file: %user profile%AppDataLocal packages

To access Linux WSL files on Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Enable the WSL function.
  2. Install Distro, for example Ubuntu, and start it.
  3. If you are in a directory under Linux FS, type explorer.
  4. This will open a File Explorer window located inside your Linux distribution.

October 2021 Update:

You can now prevent PC problems by using this tool, such as protecting you against file loss and malware. Additionally it is a great way to optimize your computer for maximum performance. The program fixes common errors that might occur on Windows systems with ease – no need for hours of troubleshooting when you have the perfect solution at your fingertips:

  • Step 1 : Download PC Repair & Optimizer Tool (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista – Microsoft Gold Certified).
  • Step 2 : Click “Start Scan” to find Windows registry issues that could be causing PC problems.
  • Step 3 : Click “Repair All” to fix all issues.

From there, you can access all Linux files, just like any other file in the File Explorer. This includes operations such as: Drag and drop files in both directions, copy and paste, and even use custom context menu items added by Notepad++, VSCode, and other software.

The File Explorer displays the distribution files as a virtual network share under the path wsl$.

Accessing Linux files from running WSL Distro in PowerShell

1. open a PowerShell or a raised PowerShell.

2. copy and paste the wsl –list – which works in PowerShell, then press Enter to display the current WSL distortions. Note the name of the WSL distribution (for example, Ubuntu) for which you want to access the files. (see screenshot below)

How to access windows files in ubuntu

Type the following command in PowerShell and press Enter to go to the WSL distribution directory.

Replace in the above command with the real name of the WSL distribution (e. g. “Ubuntu”) you want in step 2.

For example: cd wsl$Ubuntu

Enter them at the command prompt and press Enter to display the above directory.

You can now access your Linux files as usual in PowerShell.

Start the root from the file explorer

It is a relatively simple method.

  1. Start the File Explorer.
  2. Type Linux and press Enter in the address bar of the file explorer.
  3. It will mount the memory for the Linux distributions installed on your computer.
  4. The files are visible in the File Explorer.

After accessing these files in the File Explorer, you can run them normally with the programs installed on your computer. And all the changes you make will be visible in the Terminal window.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

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Windows 10 version 1903 “April 2019 Update” comes with a number of interesting changes and improvements made to the WSL feature. These include additional distros in the Store, the ability to browse WSL files from File Exporer, and more.

The ability to run Linux natively in Windows 10 is provided by the WSL feature. WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux, which initially, was limited to Ubuntu only. Modern versions of WSL allow installing and running multiple Linux distros from Microsoft Store.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

After enabling WSL, you can install various Linux versions from the Store. You can use the following links:

  1. Ubuntu
  2. openSUSE Leap
  3. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
  4. Kali Linux for WSL
  5. Debian GNU/Linux

With Windows 10 version 1903 “April 2019 Update” you can easily access all the files in your Linux distros from Windows. As of this writing, this feature is implemented in Windows 10 build 18836. It is on its way to the 19h1 branch, so we will see it with the next build. Here is how it can be done.

To access WSL Linux Files from Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Enable the WSL feature.
  2. Install some distro, e.g. Ubuntu, and start it.
  3. While in a directory on a Linux FS, type explorer . .
  4. This will open a File Explorer window, located inside of your Linux distro.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

From there you can access whatever Linux files you like, just like you would any other file through File explorer. This includes operations such as: dragging files back and forth to other locations, copy and paste, and even using custom context menu entries added by Notepad++, VSCode, and other software.

File Explorer shows the distro files as a virtual network share under the path wsl$.

The WSL team is actively investigating ways to improve the discoverability of Linux files inside of File Explorer. The progress of their work can already be seen in Windows 10 Build 18836 that shows WSL/Linux File System in File Explorer.

In a previous tutorial I have shown how to enable the sharing service in Ubuntu and change the Workgroup so that it is the same with all the other computers in your network, thus making networking between Ubuntu and Windows 7 easier. In this tutorial I will show how to share folders in Ubuntu and how to access them from Windows 7 computers.

NOTE: Article updated to work on Ubuntu v10.10 & 11.04.

Enable File Sharing & Configure the Workgroup

In order for Ubuntu and Windows 7 to share files, they have to be configured to be part of the same Workgroup. Also, file sharing needs to be enabled in Ubuntu.

Once these items are set up correctly, proceed with this tutorial.

How to Share Folders in Ubuntu

First, open the Home Folder in Ubuntu, found in the Places menu.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

Browse to the folder you want to share. Right-click on it to open the contextual menu and click on Sharing Options.

How to access windows files in ubuntu

The Folder Sharing window will open. Check the box next to ‘Share this folder’. Then, in the Share name field, type the share name you want to use. In the Comment field type anything you want or just leave it empty – there’s no need to complete it. If you want to allow others to create and delete files in the folder you are sharing, check the box next to ‘Allow others to create and delete files in this folder’. Also, if you want to allow Guest access, check the box next to ‘Guest access (for people without a user account)’. When done, click on Create Share to actually share the folder.

If you have selected the option ‘Allow others to create and delete files in this folder’ a pop-up shows up, asking if you want to add some permissions to the folder you are sharing. Click on the ‘Add the permissions automatically’ button. Now, the folder is shared with the rest of the network.

Note: We recommend that you only share folders found or created in the Home Folder because those are folders on which your username has ownership. If you try to share a folder outside the Home Folder, you will receive the following error message: “net usershare returned error 255: net usershare add: cannot share path as we are restricted to only sharing directories we own.” This error appears because you don’t have ownership on those folders. In order to share any of them you have to go through a complicated procedure that has the potential to add security risks to your Ubuntu computer.

Access Ubuntu Shared Folders from Windows 7

After you shared a folder in Ubuntu, let’s see how to access that folder from a Windows 7 computer.

Open Windows Explorer. Click on Network to view a list with all computers available (turned on at that time) in the network.

Double click the Ubuntu computer you want to access. A list with all the shared folders and devices from that computer opens.

Double click the folder that you want to access. If you haven’t setup the shared folder to allow Guest access, you are asked to introduce a username and password.

In the first input field, type the name of the Ubuntu computer followed by a backslash (“”) and the name of the user account with access to the shared folder. In the second input field type the password. If you want Windows to remember your username and password, check the box next to ‘Remember my credentials’. When done, click on OK.

Now the content of the shared folder is shown.


On a network with Windows 7 and Ubuntu computers, you can configure Ubuntu to share files and folders which are easily accessible from a Windows PC. If you want to know more about setting up other PCs on a local network, or how to further utilize the networking features between Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7, check out the articles listed below.