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I experienced the following error while running

sudo mount -t cifs //xx.xx.x.xx/shares /xxx -o guest

in Windows Subsystem for Linux.

mount error: cifs filesystem not supported by the system
mount error(19): No such device
Refer to the mount.cifs(8) manual page (e.g. man mount.cifs)

Here, it has been suggested to try

sudo modprobe cifs

but this returns

modprobe: FATAL: Module cifs not found in directory /lib/modules/4.4.0-19041-Microsoft

Suggestions on how to fix this issue will be really helpful.

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    Downvoter kindly explain why the question is downvoted. This will help me improve my post
    – Natasha
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 9:30

1 Answer 1

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There are two variants of the Windows Subsystem for Linux: WSL1 and WSL2. You haven't stated which one you're using, so I'll explain the situation for both.

WSL1 emulates Linux system calls and special files in the Windows kernel. As a result, unless the emulated mount(2) system call supports CIFS, WSL1 will not support it.

WSL2 uses a real Linux kernel provided by Microsoft. While this kernel does support modules, all of the drivers are shipped compiled in and no modules are shipped, so if the cifs module is not already built into the kernel, then it won't work. The distro you're using doesn't ship the kernel or any modules for it (since Microsoft is responsible for that), so the decision on what's included is up to Microsoft.

If you're using WSL1, you can try using WSL2, in which case the driver might be present, and things might just work. Note that this requires your system have have support for the relevant virtualization extensions in the processor and enabled in the firmware.

You may also wish to try mounting the file system in Windows and assigning a drive letter. In that case, the file system will be available under /mnt. For example, if you assigned the drive X: to your CIFS share, then it would be available under /mnt/x.

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    Thanks a lot for the details. I'm using WSL 1. Would it help if I update WS1 to WS2?
    – Natasha
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 9:40
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    It may, since it's more likely that the real Linux kernel has CIFS support.
    – bk2204
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:46
  • Great info, thanks. Re mapped drives on the Windows side showing up under /mnt/ - that applies to WSL2 only, correct?
    – mklement0
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 22:58
  • I believe the /mnt/x location mapping to X: is for both WSL1 and WSL2. I don't know of any reason why mounting a CIFS share as a drive shouldn't work for both.
    – bk2204
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 23:11

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