SMB Problems Run Rampant in Snow Leopard

SMB Problems Run Rampant in Snow Leopard

Dancey-Wood_Snow_Leopard_CubWith all the fervour surrounding the build up to Snow Leopards release, I have to admit I found myself getting excited too.

The update held quite a bit of promise in my battle seasoned eyes, specifically the Exchange support.

Sadly, this anticipation melted into disappointment as I discovered the Exchange support was purely 2007 – my little Exchange 2003 server was left out in the cold. So I shrugged my shoulders, breathed a heavy sigh and accepted that yes, my server is very old now. I don’t have the resources to buy server 2008 and Exchange 2007, so this feature will have to remain tantalisingly out of reach for now.

At least I’d have the other features to perk me up – 7GB of extra space, native screen recording (tho I would have loved to capture the audio of the apps too *hint*) and possibly improved video export times. Now to mention how it wasn’t that expensive; had I forked out £90 for it, I’d be decidedly grumpier!

However, one unexpected feature has been thoroughly unwelcome…

What on Earth has happened to the Active Directory support and why is SMB browsing to windows machines suddenly a nightmare?

Ever since upgrading, the smooth experience of clicking on the machine name in finder, automatically picking up my windows 2003 Active Directory user account from the keychain, authenticating and sprightly returning the list of shares has descended into an act of sheer frustration.

Instead, I click… and wait… and wait… get annoyed, click “connect as”, wait some more… eventually get a “log on using” dialogue that already has my AD details from the keychain populating the fields. As I’ve discovered, I now have to change the username from “username@domain.tld” to “domain\username” and forget ticking “add to keychain” as this seems to do nothing now. Wait a bit more and finally see my list of shares.

I don’t have this pain whenever I connect to my linux NAS box packing samba, and I never had this problem in just plain Leopard, so why now? What has changed or is it my network that is set up in a way that displeases the almighty Jobs?

A snoop through my server logs sheds no divine light on the problem, though the success after changing the username hints at the issue being a change in how Snow Leopard authenticates to windows machines.

Of course, the netadmin inside me performs a quick search on the net to see if anyone else suffers the same as I do. Lo and behold, I find some interesting info from the guys at macwindows.

They detail problems with Active Directory single sign-ons as well as SMB issues similar to mine plus a few other ones I’ve not encountered.

At least it’s not just me.

I also noticed there was a 10.6.1 update available this week – Installing this update returns the initial promptness, even if it is to inform me that my connection failed and I still have to switch from active directory format to the old NT username format before I am allowed to see my shares. However, clicking away from and returning to the server sees a return of the wait time before displaying the shares using the cached authentication info.

There’s nothing “just working” here and instead reminds me of Vista with its (in)famous “long goodbye” and my experiences of waiting as the green colouring of the address bar in explorer painfully inches across the screen after having the audacity of wishing to browse network shares.

This really is poor form and certainly casts doubts on their ambitions of getting Apple PC’s intermingled with the Windows corporate world if a problem accessing network shares (a massive part of the corporate Windows toolkit) is left unresolved weeks after the latest version of their OS hit the market.

With any luck, this issue will be resolved soon because I loathe having my repressed Vista memories return to haunt me!

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