TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MacEnterprise: Understanding SMB in OS X

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: Networks

Understanding SMB in OS X

There are many more pieces than you may realize

By Philip Rinehart, Yale University

SAMBA

This month, the MacEnterprise community has been talking about Samba, and how OS X uses it, both on Server and Client. It's a bit of an interesting topic, as both use a version of Samba, 3.0.10, that is slightly out of date, as the current version of Samba shipping is 3.0.25a. It is interesting to note that the Finder does not primarily use the underlying samba framework, but instead uses mount_smbfs, a command from the FreeBSD project instead. First let's look at this particular command.

Mount_SambaFS

Mount_smbfs is a bit of an oddity. It appears to have been included in OS X to take advantage of OS X frameworks. It is linked heavily to the CoreFoundation framework in particular. It also allows for Kerberos authentication, which has only recently appeared in Samba 3.0 or higher. Its usage is pretty simple, and follows the same syntax, both in the Finder and from the command line. In fact, when connecting via the Finder to a share, the command appears in the process list when initiating the connection. Here is the command as it appears in the process list.

/sbin/mount_smbfs -o noautomounted -o browse //user:**************@sambashare /Volumes/sambashare

Let's look at this command a bit further; note the two options used with the -o switch. Neither of these options appear in the manual page for the command. Omit the two options, and the command appears as invoked from the command line. Why is that important to know? It is important, because often many users use smbclient to connect to the Samba share and assume that smbclient behaves in the same way. Now that you know that the Finder uses mount_smbfs, it may or may not be an effective way to test Samba connectivity. If testing the connection via the Finder, use mount_smbfs. Unfortunately, it does not provide as much debugging information as smbclient does.

Another source of frustration for some users is OS X, by default, uses encrypted passwords when connecting to a Samba share. In fact, an Apple knowledge base article, 301580, exists that describes the creation of a configuration file, nsmb.conf, which allows clear text authentication. It should be noted that a file can be created per user as well, .nsmbrc. Let's look at a short example:

[default]
workgroup=WORKGROUP
# this is the server name and ip
[WINDOWS]
address=192.168.1.130
[WINDOWS:USERNAME]
password=my_password

By putting this file in a user's home directory the Samba share will be mounted automatically using the stored password. Note that the password should be stored in encrypted format. To generate the encrypted password, use smbutil. Here's how:

smbutil crypt my_password

Include this in the nsmbrc file, and the Finder will no longer ask for authentication. That pretty much sums up the way that OS X client connects to Samba shares. The Server side is the source of most other common problems.

WINDOWS File Shares

Now that we understand how a client connects to file shares, are there any particular hints for dealing with Windows file shares? Sure, here are some that should be considered:

OS X client cannot connect to a Windows 2003 server if the server has the "digitally sign communication" option enabled. Disable this option to allow a successful connection. The Finder usually will show an Error -5000. It is commonly known as "SMB Signing". For more information on this option, refer to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/887429.

Shares created on a Windows file share generally work most successfully when the user connects with "Full permissions" on the file share. Without full permissions, the Finder may not display any file or folder in the share point.

SAMBA

Let's move to a frequently discussed topic, the use of Samba as implemented on OS X. One of the commonly discussed issues is the use of an older version of Samba, version 3.0.10, in OS X. Samba is also compiled in a particular way, and may not include modules that are required. Recently, a method for recompiling certain modules appeared on the MacEnterprise list. If this is of interest, search the list archives, as the procedure is fairly complex.

Another oddity with Samba is that it does not respect the use of ctime. Why is this relevant? Consider the possibility of controlling backups of files, if the ctime is being used to control whether the file is backed up or not, the inability of Samba to set the ctime could become a problem.

Next, when using Samba in conjunction with Active Directory, check the smb.conf file for the following entries:

Use spnego=yes
Realm=Ad.realm.name
Security=ads

Though generally not an issue any more in Tiger server, when joining a machine to Active Directory and hosting Samba file services via OS X in earlier versions, these options were not consistently set.

Lastly, when using Samba, on server or client, the log level can be tuned. The following entry can be added to the /etc/smb.conf file:

   
log level = [1-10]

Turning up the log level can be very useful when debugging a troublesome connection. At a level of 10, the logging can be quite a handful to parse through, but it may better point to the source of the connection problem.

Windows PRINTING

The last issue that is somewhat common is connecting to a shared Windows printer from OS X. Usually the printer is shared as a "Guest" printer by the Windows machine. However, when printing, an "NT_STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED" error message is returned. OS X does not work without credentials when printing to a Windows shared printer. The most successful method of connecting works by adding the printer using the URI formatted this way:

smb://user:password@DOMAIN/1.2.3.4/Printername

Sometimes adding this via the Printer Setup Utility will work, sometimes not. If it does not work, using the CUPS web interface at http://localhost:631 will allow the printer to be added. It has the additional benefit of being able to print a test page!

In a heterogeneous world, understanding Samba and Windows file and print sharing is a complex and sometimes difficult operation. Often, the configuration or the tools that we have talked about may provide a solution. Until next month, see you on the lists!


Philip Rinehart is co-chair of the steering committee leading the Mac OS X Enterprise Project (macenterprise.org) and is the Lead Mac Analyst at Yale University. He has been using Macintosh Computers since the days of the Macintosh SE, and Mac OS X since its Developer Preview Release. Before coming to Yale, he worked as a Unix system administrator for a dot-com company. He can be reached at: philip.rinehart@yale.edu. The MacEnterprise project is a community of IT professionals sharing information and solutions to support Macs in an enterprise. We collaborate on the deployment, management, and integration of Mac OS X client and server computers into multi-platform computing environments.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Spotify 1.0.44.100. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
Microsoft OneNote 15.29 - Free digital n...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
WALTR 2 2.0.8 - $39.95
WALTR 2 helps you wirelessly drag-and-drop any music, ringtones, videos, PDF, and ePub files onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without iTunes. It is the second major version of Softorino's critically-... Read more
Dropbox 16.3.27 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
EtreCheck 3.1.5 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.12 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
VueScan 9.5.62 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.27 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
Fantastical 2.3.2 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
PCalc 4.4.4 - Full-featured scientific c...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Track Santa with these three festive app...
Christmas is fast approaching and that means it's time to prepare for Santa's yearly pilgrimage around the globe. Christmas Eve is an exciting time as parents help their kids get ready to welcome Santa. You've got the cookies and milk all planned... | Read more »
Galaxy on Fire 3 and four other fantasti...
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore brings the series back for another round of daring space battles. It's familiar territory for folks who are familiar with the franchise. If you've beaten the game and are looking to broaden your horizons, might we... | Read more »
The best apps for your holiday gift exch...
What's that, you say? You still haven't started your holiday shopping? Don't beat yourself up over it -- a lot of people have been putting it off, too. It's become easier and easier to procrastinate gift shopping thanks to a number of apps that... | Read more »
Toca Hair Salon 3 (Education)
Toca Hair Salon 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Winter comes to Darkwood as Seekers Note...
MyTona, based in the chilly Siberian city of Yakutsk, has brought a little festive fun to its hidden object game Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery. The Christmas update introduces some new inhabitants to players, and with them a chance to win plenty of... | Read more »
Bully: Anniversary Edition (Games)
Bully: Anniversary Edition 1.03.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.03.1 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: This game is officially supported on the following devices: iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch... | Read more »
PINE GROVE (Games)
PINE GROVE 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A pine grove where there are no footsteps of people due to continuous missing cases. The case is still unsolved and nothing has... | Read more »
Niantic teases new Pokémon announcement...
After rumors started swirling yesterday, it turns out there is an official Pokémon GO update on its way. We’ll find out what’s in store for us and our growing Pokémon collections tomorrow during the Starbucks event, but Niantic will be revealing... | Read more »
3 reasons why Nicki Minaj: The Empire is...
Nicki Minaj is as business-savvy as she is musically talented and she’s proved that by launching her own game. Designed by Glu, purveyors of other fine celebrity games like cult favorite Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Nicki Minaj: The Empire launched... | Read more »
Clash of Clans is getting its own animat...
Riding on its unending wave of fame and success, Clash of Clans is getting an animated web series based on its Clash-A-Rama animated shorts.As opposed to the current shorts' 60 second run time, the new and improved Clash-A-Rama will be comprised of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Never Settle for Low Performing Wifi With iOS...
AppYogi Software has announced the release of WiFi Signal Strength Status App 1.0, the company’s new utility developed exclusively for macOS. WiFi Signal Strength Status App features a unique, single... Read more
New 2016 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros in st...
B&H Photo has stock of new 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $1999 - 13″ 2.... Read more
New 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2799 - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
DietSensor App Targeting Diabetes and Obesity...
DietSensor, Inc., a developer of smart food and nutrition applications designed to fight diabetes and obesity and help improve overall fitness, has announced the launch of its DietSensor app for... Read more
Holiday 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sales...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple TVs for $51-$40 off MSRP,...
Best Buy has dropped their price on the 64GB Apple TV to $159.99 including free shipping. That’s $40 off MSRP. 32GB Apple TVs are on sale right now for $98 on Sams Club’s online store. That’s $51 off... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbished, n...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, now available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Refurbished 2015 models are available starting at $929. Apple will include a... Read more
Holiday sale: 12-inch Retina MacBook for $100...
B&H has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Trumbul...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.