Mavericks: SMB – CIFS

With the introduction of Mavericks, Apple has changed the network game slightly and have started migrating away from their own file sharing protocol of AFP to the more common SMB protocol found in Windows. This makes sense because 95% of all networks support or run SMB.
Historically Apple developed their own AFP protocol and used the open source “Samba” to provide SMB support. Since Mountain Lion, Apple ditched Samba in favour of their own home developed SMB replacement “SMBX”.
Which protocol does Mavericks use and in which situation?

  • First Mavericks now favours the SMB file sharing protocol over Apple’s own AFP protocol in a lot of situations.
  • When two Mavericks machines connect to each other using File Sharing, they will default to SMB.
  • When a Mavericks client connects to a Mavericks Server it will default to SMB.
  • Likewise when connecting to a Windows Server of some description it will connect using SMB by default.
  • Only if SMB is not available will it default back to AFP if available.

Just to complicate things, there are two flavours of SMB, v1 and v2. Apple have done a lot of work to add SMB v2 to Mavericks but this has come at a cost to compatibility with a lot of devices that support SMB. For instance a lot of NAS boxes are having difficulties with Mavericks.
What to do?
Well if you connect to a SMB device using the Finder side bar then it will attempt an SMB 2 connection by default if supported. This is when you may hit issues.
You can force Mavericks to use either v1 or v2. You can do this via the “Connect To Server” option in the Go menu where your type in the address of the server and which protocol to use.
To force an SMBv2 connection enter  “smb://server address”
To force an SMBv1 connection enter  “cifs://server address”
So if you are having issues when connecting to a SMB device try using “CIFS” to force an SMBv1 connection. It may help.
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