I have an iMac, an XP box, and a Windows Server 2003 home server. I don't have active directory set up.

To make a remote home directory on XP, I remapped the My Documents directory to a remote file share, and used TweakUI to change the default directory for music, photos, etc to the sub directories of the remote My Documents share.

On my iMac, things were MUCH more difficult. I ended up installing Windows Services for Unix (1) on the the 2003 server and configuring an NFS automount using the Directory utility on OS X. I then changed my OS X user account's home directory to the automounted NFS share.

This solution is sub-optimal. The trash does not work for any of my files because they are on a remote drive. If I lose connectivity to the server, OS X grinds to a halt because it can no longer access the ~/Library directory. Finally, NFS sporadically drops and automount fails to remount the share, forcing a reboot.

There has to be a better way to make this work. Apple claims that OS X plays friendly on a Windows network. How have you gotten OS X to reliably use a remote network share for the home directory? Is this even possible?

(1) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/interopmigration/bb380242.aspx

  • For offloading the amount of network traffic check out Leopard's Built in Network Home Folder Redirector: afp548.com/article.php?story=MCXRedirector We don't use NFS homes at my workplace, but AFP has been rock solid for us.
    – Chealion
    Jul 31, 2009 at 1:14

2 Answers 2


Coincidentally, just the other day I was researching some articles about doing this.

I've not attempted it yet, but these (along with the MCXRedirector one mentioned in the comment above - that looks useful too) should give you some pointers.


What I'm thinking of is the way Macs are used in some schools, where the user profile is the same on all computers and picked up from the server. Or the NetBoot option?: http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/features/client-management.html

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