Samba shares are easy enough to browse to, with the gui, but it's a lot more convenient having it mounted in a local folder. Also, I've found many programs that aren't able to see samba shares, even though the OS can.
First, let's test and see if it will do a temporary mount with this command....
mount -t smbfs //servername_or_IP/file_store /home/user/Desktop/file_storage
Use sudo above, if you're using Ubuntu, or other distros that don't have root active by default.
This will prompt for username and password. Enter one if necessary, or leave blank if you have anonymous access. Once you enter credentials, you should be able to browse to your local folder and see all your files.
To mount it permanently, you will have to add a line to your file /etc/fstab.
This file is what tells Linux what drives you want mounted on bootup. Use gedit, nano, or similar program of your preference to open and edit fstab. You need to add a line similar to these, depending on your exact setup......
For anonymous access, add a line like this. Your Samba share has to be setup to allow anyone to access it. (I'll provide that config at the end) This allows you to mount the share without providing credentials.
//servername_or_IP/file_store /home/user/Desktop/file_storage smbfs guest
To mount a samba share with credentials, you just need to provide the username and password like so.
//servername_or_IP/file_store /home/user/Desktop/file_storage smbfs username=username, password=password
If you're a security nut, or just plain paranoid, you may want to provide your credentials in a separate file.
//servername_or_IP/file_store /home/user/Desktop/file_storage smbfs credentials=/root/.smbcredentials
You can also place dmask=777, fmask=777 at the end of the fstab line to alter the credentials it mounts the folders and files with.
Here's how a typical samba share configuration should look to access it anonymously. This is typically stored in the file /etc/samba/smb.conf
workgroup = workgroup_name
local master = yes
preferred master = yes
netbios name = storage
server string = storage
security = SHARE
max log size = 1000
dns proxy = No
wins support = Yes
wins server = localhost
comment = file-storage
path = /mnt/hda/share/file_storage/
read only = No
writeable = Yes
create mask = 0777
directory mask = 0777
guest ok = Yes
In the global section, "security = SHARE" is the main key to anonymous browsing.
The other line that's key is in the individual share cofiguration of File_Storage.
"guest ok = Yes"
Without those two lines, you'll be banging your head against the wall for hours trying make your share work for anyone, without requiring credentials.
Note: This really isn't the best way to do things as far as security goes. But in my case, convenience wins over security. I have a firewall. My wife wants quick easy access to a large storage drive, as do I. I don't feel the data we're storing on there is of high value to anyone else. But, you'll have to evaluate these things for yourself.