If you are able to get LMDE back in working order you might want to post what desktop environment ( DE ) you are using - Cinnamon? XFCE? .....
*** LMDE because of it's Debian roots has an smb.conf file that needs to be fixed because it ships without guest access enabled: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=23169&p=315218#p315218
*** Remember that Samba is already installed by default in all Mint products.
*** If you use Cinnamon as your DE you create a samba share exactly the same way you create an SMB share on WInXP:
Open your file manager
Right click a folder you own
Select "Sharing Options"
Check all the boxes
You just created a guest accessible samba share of that folder.
*** If you use MATE the backend process is completely different but it too can create a samba share from the file manager.
Then make sure you go through the Checklist
if network discovery by name is important to you ( versus accessing it directly by ip address ).