I ended up deleting my install. It was pretty broken because of the way I'm used to troubleshooting (trying things people have attempted in forums, seeing if that fixes the issue or at least helps me understand it better), and I keep forgetting that linux isn't anything like windows, and I can't just easily backtrack to get everything the same. In fact, I tried installing the package 'samba4' (because the terminal said I should when I tried to open samba through the terminal, thinking that might work), and when that didn't seem to do what I was trying to do so I removed it (using apt-get), but the removal said it was going to be freeing up LESS space than the install did, which means some files would not have been uninstalled, and I had no idea where I would have found them to get back to where I was before I started the process.
More importantly than getting samba up and running now is trying to understand linux better in general -- trying to get a handle on how it actually works, and also asking whether or not there is something along the lines of a system restore -- something I could set before I start tinkering around with apt-get so that if I do something wrong I can go back and try something else.
I always do this... I try to dive in too far, my head gets stuck underwater, and I have to get out and try the dive again. Yay metaphors for a scared windows user trying to move to linux!
I shall let everyone know when I get things back up and running, though I have no idea when that might be, as I need to shift things around in order to get it reinstalled (I had a dual-boot setup with windows, but when I formatted the linux hard drive I decided to make it just a backup hard drive and moved a bunch of stuff from my windows hard drive to it). In the meantime I'll be checking this thread now and again and giving updates.
If anyone knows of the system restore thing I was talking about and could help me with that, it would certainly get things back up and running. At least now I know how to make a stable install and get it updated without worrying that I'm going to break it -- but I'm starting to get deeper into it and wish I had my own linux guru to show me bit by bit (and explain what the commands and things they show me actually do), then I wouldn't be so scared to tinker. I've already had to reinstall about 10 times because I don't know about any system restore or whatever.