Could not access PID file for smbd Andrew Mallett | Posted March 2016

A hell of a thing happened to my Linix Mint gateway today. Samba stopped working. I couldn't map from my workstation, tablet or smart phone, but I could connect to the web through its gateway function. This suggested an error in the Samba server itself.

On examination, running the service samba status command showed up an error with smbd..

* nmbd is running
* could not access PID file for smbd 

I spent a while trying to fix it, including rechecking config files and log files and reinstalling Samba. Nothing helped. What I should have done is stick to my own advice when troubleshooting, specifically "What has changed?" and "CFC" (Check The F***ing Cable!). As usual it would have saved a lot of time and arse-scratching..

Andy's LAN to NBN

I didn't check the network cable - even though I considered it - because the gateway box was pingable and connect-throughable from all devices on my home LAN. The one change had been swapping the network cable (eth1) for a newer one. The old one had fallen out of the back of my NBN router due to a broken tab, as they do, and momentarily killed the gateway's connection to the router, and thus the NBN Network Termination Device box. Internet access had been returned, yay! (hmmm..better cancel that rude message to iiNet - just kidding..)

Back to the Samba problem, whilst doing the usual trawl through the forums, I noted that smbd can fall over and fail during boot if the network card hasn't yet initialised. I checked the replacement cable and f-me if it wasn't a crossover! Reinserting the old network cable into eth1 and rebooting the server immediately brought Samba back up. It would seem that the NBN router circuitry was able to deal with the crossover, but I'm guessing that the negotiation with the gateway's network card took up time, during which Samba was trying to load its daemons.

So there you go - who would have thought? Another random fix to be filed away and a pointed reminder to stick to first principles, however unlikely the cause might seem. Overthinking it can be a bad thing sometimes. Oh, and watch out for arcane and spurious error messages..