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Hey guys. I'm running Windows 7 and as of now I simply share folders as one usually does in Windows. I then have a MacBook with Leopard (Now Snow Leopard) which I use to connect to my computer to mount the shares by going to Finder, then CMD + K and typing smb://BlaenkPC (The name of my PC) into the address box. This consequently connects to my computer and mounts all of the shares.

The problem is that sometimes, if for example I close my MacBook (Which makes it go to sleep) or sometimes even without doing that, the connection somehow drops. Sometimes I close the MacBook and upon re-opening it, everything still works; it's random. It still shows the computer as being connected, but it just shows 'loading' indefinitely. If I hit 'eject' with the intention of re-connecting to the computer, it disappears from the sidebar (The Computer Icon) in Finder, but I cannot re-connect. Activity Monitor (or ps aux, whichever) both show hung instances of umount; one for each share that was mounted. I cannot kill these processes with kill or killall (Yes, even with sudo, and sending signal -9). This has happened to me before, and here is another person who has experienced this.

My question boils down to this: Is there an alternative method of sharing folders in Windows, that my Mac can read/understand, that is possibly more reliable and preferably just as fast? I usually use the mounted shares to watch television episodes off my computer, or movies, etc. (In other words, I open them in VLC and they automatically stream from my computer).

As far as I can tell, this is a problem with the Samba protocol. I have heard of NFS, but I am not sure if I would have to re-format my drives, or what. I don't mind running a service or daemon to allow the sharing of the folders, I just want it to be done and hopefully in a better way than typical Windows shares through Samba.

Usually when I encounter this problem, which is often (read: every day), I have no other option but to restart the MacBook. As I stated in the first question I linked to, shutting down and restarting don't work; I have to manually force the shutdown by holding the power button.

I have not modified my installation of Mac OS X in any hackish way, so I doubt it's something with the Operating System, but worst come to worst, I might end up reformatting and doing a clean install to see if that fixes anything, as I am at a complete loss as to what may be causing the problem, and no one else seems to have any idea or care, despite there being quite a few people suffering from this problem, as my research has shown.

Any pieces of information that can help are extremely appreciated. You don't have to answer every question on here, but maybe even some insight as to why it might not be possible to kill those hung umount instances for example, or why I may not be able to reconnect using samba (Is it something regarding the way the protocol works?).

One thing to note is that I have another computer in the home network that doesn't seem to have this problem. However, it is also running Windows 7 (Note though that I am not using the homegroup feature, but the typical windows sharing feature). My only deduction is that the problem is being caused by the way the Mac (Or Samba implementation, whichever) is handling things. Perhaps it is a limitation.

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5 Answers 5

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Wow, this is almost EXACTLY the same problem I have, except I sleep my PC occasionally instead of the mac (which always stays on).

For the time being, I have verified that it is an SMB problem, as I installed a trial version of ExtremeZ-IP on my windows system, which lets you share your windows 7 folders using AFP. Now, I can sleep my windows PC when I'm not using it, and wake it without having to eject the shares on the mac all the time.

I had like 10 umount processes running in Activity Monitor at one point do to the inability to unmount stuck windows shares using sudo umount -f /Volumes/(share) . It would just hang in the terminal window, and nothing would be accomplished. I couldnt even kill the hanging umount processes even by logging out. Reboot followed.

ExtremeZ-IP costs a good deal of cash though, so when the trial expires, its back to making sure I eject the windows share before sleeping my Win 7 system.

http://www.grouplogic.com/products/extremeZ-IP/

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I'm in the exact same situation as you (Snow Leopard, Windows 7, share mounts get b0rked).

There are a few third-party NFS servers for Windows, but nothing of high quality. Microsoft actually has SFU (Services for Unix), which they got by acquiring Interix, and SFU used to include an NFS server, but it's 32-bit only and they dropped support for it in newer versions of Windows.

It's not really a fundamental issue with the CIFS/SMB protocol so much as it is an issue of implementation and testing. I just don't think the people good enough to fix this problem at Apple really care about CIFS interop enough to deal, since I've been running OS X since Jaguar against Windows XP, Vista and 7, and no combinations ever get this right.

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Although this isn't a definitive answer to the question, it's the only thing that comes close. I appreciate the information. I will probably eventually mark it as the answer if no one else provides a better answer. Thanks. –  Jorge Israel Peña Sep 13 '09 at 19:46

I've never had this issue, as I've never remained connected to a samba share for more than a few minutes. You shouldn't have to reboot the Macbook, Just unmount and (re)mount the share. The solution I used when I had a linux file server was sshfs. It mounts a filesystem via sftp (translates fs commands to sftp). I've also used the FTP-fs software. It works the same, just uses FTP instead of SSH. Both sshfs and FTP-fs should be in the MacPorts or Fink. If you have any questions about setup, let me know.

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I don't mean to be rude or anything, but I guess you didn't read my entire question. I said that I have tried to unmount, but in the process of unmounting, umount hangs. I also cannot kill the umount processes. Thanks for the response though. –  Jorge Israel Peña Aug 31 '09 at 3:24

as an alternative to using simple folder sharing, perhaps consider using a cloud solution? For solutions that involve having your data on the cloud, you could use either dropbox or live mesh.

It sounds you want something closer to regular folder sharing though, so perhaps live sync will be a better alternative. It doesn't store any data on the cloud, just a list of all the files you're syncing. This works great on desktop/notebook sharing configurations, since you'll have the data with you on the go, and when the notebook is back in your network, all changes will be synced.

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Thanks but no thanks. In my question, I mention that I share folders on Windows so that I can stream television episodes and movies to my MacBook. To be able to Sync I would have to have over 3 terabytes of space on my MacBook; I don't want this. As of now, I can simply mount the windows shares on my MacBook, double click on an avi/mkv, and it will open and automagically stream using VLC. I guess there's no solution though, oh well, thanks anyways. –  Jorge Israel Peña Aug 31 '09 at 21:36

How weird. Here are two ideas:

  1. Share using WebDAV
  2. Install XAMPP on Windows. Make a ShareFolder folder under htdocs. For each 'share' you want to have, create a junction. You'll then be able to browse your PC with a browser (http://PcName/ShareFolder), VLC already supports playing streaming video. Not very convenient. Not secure. (You can go with Xfds38fd9290LongNameHere instead of ShareFolder to get a false security)

P.S. I don't own a Mac.

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