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My Mac is joined to an Active Directory domain. What I expected to see was the same ease of access to file shares and internal websites that Windows computers joined to the domain experience (i.e., no authentication needed; it just uses Windows Integrated Authentication). Instead I am asked for credentials each time I try to access those shares and protected websites (e.g. SharePoint).

Is this normal behavior, or is something wrong with my Mac that it prompts me for my username and password for the domain when I access Windows file shares or intranet sites protected by NTLM/Kerberos?

Machines include:

  • MacBook Pros running Mountain Lion
  • MacBook Pros running Lion
  • MacServer running Lion Server
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Hello! I took great liberties to re-frame your question in a form that would be topical for SU (or SE in general). Feel free to rollback my edits if you think it is too much. Your "reasons" question is/was far too broad and is something that invites chatty discussion. The question that remains after my edits, however, is a valid question with a tractable answer. – allquixotic Oct 23 '12 at 20:08
I understand why you changed it, but it is now too narrowly phrased. What I need to understand is what the benefits of joining Active Directory are. The answer to the rephrased question will certainly help, but I am actually interested in the potentially chatty discussion. Maybe this isn't the right place to ask that larger question, but if not here, where should I ask it? – David Potter Oct 23 '12 at 20:45
SE Chat (e.g. the Root Access room for Super Users) is where we discuss "chatty" questions. Come on over! – allquixotic Oct 23 '12 at 20:47
Note that the topic of "benefits of x" has a virtually infinite set of possible answers, and also invites contrasting lists such as "drawbacks of x", so not only do you have sprawling lists, but you have controversy. That is, in a nutshell, why questions like that are not allowed on the main Q&A sites. "Is this software functioning correctly" is a question with a very limited scope and does not invite controversy, hence it is acceptable. – allquixotic Oct 23 '12 at 20:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No, for shared drives (smb) you should not have to authenticate as long as you log in to OS X with a domain account (not a local machine account). You should be able to Finder->Go->Connect To Server and specify an address such as smb://hostname/sharename to connect.

As for website authentication, it's a little trickier. I know on windows certain browsers do not attempt to authenticate automatically, ie Firefox. You have to configure it. Internet Explorer & Chrome both do this automatically out of the box.

I verified on OS X, Safari does use the login credentials to authenticate, but if you have a self-signed ssl certificate, you must add it as a trusted certificate. Otherwise it prompts for the password. Chrome does not do this authentication, you'll have to do some research, it might be possible to get 3rd party browsers to authenticate with login credentials on OS X, but it doesn't work without configuration.

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