[Samba] Vista over VPN loses connection with workgroup

Rubin Bennett rbennett at thatitguy.com
Fri Nov 30 22:21:32 GMT 2007

On Fri, 2007-11-30 at 13:55 -0800, Florin Andrei wrote:
> I've a server running CentOS 5, Samba 3.0.23c and OpenVPN-2.1beta4
> A laptop running Vista connects to the server over VPN. The CentOS 
> server is local, domain and preferred master, and also WINS server.
> It looks like every once in a while the Vista laptop drops the VPN 
> connection, which gets re-established soon after that. But the problem 
> is, it appears that after the dropout the Vista laptop doesn't see the 
> Samba workgroup anymore - there's nothing in the Network window, and 
> printing to a printer shared by Samba on CentOS fails.
> Rebooting Vista fixes the problem.
> If I specify a computer name like this \\computer I can access it from 
> Vista even when the workgroup is "invisible".
> My question is - how to make the connection to the workgroup more 
> robust? Fixing VPN is another task, but I wonder if something can be 
> done with Samba and/or Vista until then.
I'd hazard that the issues are related, and that there are tweaks you
can do to the VPN that will make this more stable.  Short of sending you
to the OpenVPN lists, I'll share a couple tweaks I've found useful in
the exact same situation:
On the VPN server, add the lines:
# Insert your WINS server IP here
push "dhcp-option WINS"
# Insert your DNS server IP here
push "dhcp-option DNS"
# Insert your second (if you have one) DNS server IP here
push "dhcp-option DNS"
# Replace with your search domain
push "dhcp-option DOMAIN domain.tld"

This will force the Vista client to re-establish these options on VPN
reconnect, which it will only do on a reboot if you put the WINS server
in the Windows general network config.  I think the issue is that if the
Windows machine is unable to connect to the WINS server specified, it
simply stops trying, thus making the workgroup inaccessible.

I stand ready to be corrected on all of this of course, but my
experience is that the options above work very consistently for my own
setup and those of my clients as well.

Hope that helps!

Rubin Bennett
rbennett at thatitguy.com

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
        -Ben Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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