Finally. Someone has created a free add on that allows the Chromebook to connect to SMB/CIFS/Windows shares without having to jump through a bunch of hoops. This means those Chromebooks can now better exist in a work environment.
How easy is this add on to use? Let me show you.
From your Chromebook, open Chrome and visit the File System for SMB/CIFS page. Once there, click the ADD TO CHROME. When prompted, click Add app. That's it for the installation. You are now ready to connect to SMB shares.
When you run the addon, you will be required to enter the hostname or IP address that houses the share as well as the port, username, password, domain name (if NTLMv2 authentication is required), and a shared resource name (the name of a folder you wish to access on the share). Once you've added that information, click the KEEP button (Figure A) to save the connection.
Connecting to a local SMB share from an Acer C720 Chromebook.
Once you've mounted the share, you'll get a quick popup alert saying the mount was successfully mounted. If you now open up the Files tool, you'll see it listed in the left navigation (Figure B).
A shared folder listed by IP address in Files.
Click on the share in the left navigation and the folder will open to show all of the shared resources. What exactly you can do with that resource (copy, add, delete, etc) will depend upon how the share was set up.
You will also notice, in the Files app, an entry (in the left navigation) called Add new services. If you expand that you will now see a listing for File System for SMB/CIFS and Windows(R). You can click on that entry to quickly access the add on and add new shares.
To unmount the share from Files, simply right-click (two finger tap) and select Close. This will unmount the share and remove the entry from Files. To re-mount the share, go back to the add on, select the entry from the left nav (if you've saved the entry), and click MOUNT.
Until the developers of Chrome OS finally bake this feature into the platform, this is, without a doubt, the best means of connecting your Chromebook to an SMB share.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.