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Slow Finder when browsing SMB Network Shares in Snow Leopard

© April 2011 Bruce Garlock

Bruce Garlock

I have been trying to track down why the Mac OS X finder in Snow Leopard, when bound to Active Directory can be painfully slow at just listing files on a SMB share. The symptoms that occur are simply browsing through a SMB share in the Finder, and files will list, you go to another folder, they list, and then you go to another folder and suddenly it looks empty. But it's not. It's just the Finder being incredibly slow at listing the files. There doesn't even have to be many files in there, just a few. I can reproduce this everytime on a fresh install of OS X 10.6.x, and after binding the machine to an Active Directory server (in my case a Windows 2008 R2 server)

Using Googlepedia, you will turn up all sorts of information on this, which is anecdotal at best. I had tried so many things, but have come up with a fairly good solution for *us* (Note that 'us' part, I'm not saying this will help in all situations). Basically, I have concatenated several suggested settings from the following website, and made some changes, mostly to the /etc/nsmb.conf file. (Don't ask when 10.7 Lion comes out, because due to license issues, I hear SMB support is gone!) Here is the website where most of my information came from:


You will find that page very lengthy, with lots of people trialling different things, with some things working, some helping, and some not helping at all. I have been messing with this for well over a year now, and have finally come up with something that seems to mitigate this issue. So, here is my new /etc/nsmb.conf file:

BGarlockMacPro:~ bruceg$ cat /etc/nsmb.conf
BGarlockMacPro:~ bruceg$

Again, I will reiterate that this helps in my case, and your mileage may certainly vary. Make sure to have a backup before you change this file, and if something happens to your machine from the increased heat from all the productivity increases you will gain from this, I'm not responsible :-)

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-> OS X Finder slow at listing SMB shares.


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Are Your Bits Flipped?

Take Control of Preview

Take Control of Numbers

Take Control of Pages

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

More Articles by © Bruce Garlock

Thu Apr 28 02:08:55 2011: 9468   TonyLawrence


Sounds like Apple is replacing Samba, not dropping SMB support: (link)

They are dropping the ability to be an old NT Domain Controller.

Thu Apr 28 17:48:12 2011: 9469   BruceGarlock


I wonder how long Apple has been working on this. How would anyone ever know if they borrowed a few lines from the Samba source? I kind of wish Apple was still behind Samba, because that has probably helped out Linux quite a bit having Apple on board (I would think).

Thu Apr 28 18:07:44 2011: 9470   TonyLawrence


I would not be surprised if they hired the Samba folks to do this with them. That would be the easiest and least likely method to avoid any problems.

Wed Apr 4 12:29:26 2012: 10821   TonyBecis


I've been having the random slow smb issue accessing win7 shares since upgrading to Lion (never had the problem in prior OS X releases). Placing the above nsmb.conf file (with one change) in ~/Library/Preferences fixed the problem. To get the share to mount via an applescript I had to remove the line 'port445=no_netbios'.

Wed Aug 8 21:23:19 2012: 11231   anonymous


MAC OS 10.6.x: oddly enough enabling internet connection sharing fixed my LAN browse issues immediately.


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