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OSX: Slow SMB browsing of Windows Servers fixed


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By default in Mac OS X browsing to Windows 2008 and 2003 Servers is extremely slow, navigating from one directory level to the next can take a minute or longer. I utilize my Mac to access the office Windows 2008 and 2003 file servers and the speed to access these shares makes it almost impossible to work from a Mac.


To make things even worse I do most of my work through a Cisco SSL VPN loaded on my Mac from home over a broadband connection. Out of pure frustration I started playing with settings in my SMB configuration and have found a way in Mac OS 10.6.7 to speed the process up drastically to where navigating folders is almost instantaneous (including over my VPN). This makes the Mac work just as fast as my Windows 7 workstation when connecting to Windows servers.


In order to fix the slow SMB browsing you will need to edit the smb.conf file on your Mac. The file is only editable by the user root so you'll need to use a text editor that can authenticate (like BBEdit or TextWrangler) or do this in the Terminal. I did the latter. I had root enabled and used the 'su' command, but you can just use 'sudo' with your administrator account to accomplish the same thing.


Once the file has been edited and saved you will need to restart your mac for the changes to take effect. Mac OS X being Unix at the core utilizes the Samba daemon to access Windows networks and the smb.conf file controls how Samba accesses these Windows shares. 2br

Launch the Terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal).

You can use the vi or the pico editors included with Mac OS X to edit the smb.conf file by typing sudo vi /etc/smb.conf or sudo pico /etc/smb.conf.


You will be prompted for a password, utilize the password for your admin account.

I used vi. In order to change anything within the file you will need to put vi into insert mode by typing the letter i (at the bottom you will see the word insert).

Some handy vi editor tips: vi has 2 modes: 'Command Mode' and 'Insert Mode.' To switch between modes you use the letter i in Command Mode to switch to Insert Mode and when in Insert Mode you use the Escape key to switch to Command Mode. File saves are done in Command Mode and edits to the file are done in Insert Mode. You can search the file you are editing in Command Mode by typing /searchstring where searchtring is what you are looking for in the file.


Scroll down to the line use spnego = yes and change the yes to a no.

Continue to scroll down to stream support = yes and change this to no, on the line immediately below that says ea support = yes change this to no.

In the next group that says darwin_streams:brlm = yes change this to no.

Save the file by first taking vi out of insert mode by pressing the Escape key. Then to save the file and quit vi type :wq and press Return.

Restart your Mac.

This simple fix for slow SMB browsing decreased the time to open shares and files on my Windows 2008 server from my Mac drastically.

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