Fixing slow SMB shares in Finder

Hmm.  That’s quite a geeky title.  Maybe I should expound a little bit…

SMB stands for Server Message Block, which is a networking protocol used for accessing files and stuff on a Windows server.  It’s proprietary to Microsoft, so the rest of the world has developed their own ways of using it, more specifically with a technology called Samba.  Apple made use of Samba in OSX until 10.7, where they replaced it with their own version.  The good thing about all this is that, basically, a Mac is able to connect to a Windows file share right out of the box.  The bad thing is that Apple’s implementation of SMB is not altogether nor entirely wonderful.  In fact, it has the tendency to be a bit slow and unreliable.

At school we are still using a Windows server for file sharing, which means that all the Macs access the shared drives using SMB.  But recently the unreliability has become increasingly annoying: taking ages just to browse the contents of files, being unable to delete or move files (because Finder kept complaining that the file in question was already in use by someone else), and not being able to edit files.  Not great.

The options were to buy another Mac server and use that for file sharing (because it could share via SMB, AFP and WebDAV)).  Or try and find a solution on the Internet.

Thankfully, the Internet (via macosx.com) has answered.

I found that if I edited the /etc/nsmb.conf file as follows:

echo notify_off=yes >> /etc/nsmb.conf

it seemed to fix it.  Yay!

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2 comments on “Fixing slow SMB shares in Finder

    • If you’re running the command in terminal on a local machine, type ‘sudo’ before. You need to be logged in with an administrator account.

      To run the command on lots of machines, use Apple Remote Desktop and send the UNIX command as ‘root’.

      Hope that helps!

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