My Network Drive Now Works with Mac OS X Leopard

Update 18th December 2007

I’ve found an easier way to force Finer to recognise the contents of a network drive. You can read more about it here.

I’ve written at some length about the problems that I’ve been having getting Leopard to connect to my Network Drive via SMB. The problem has been grating on my nerves over the last few days, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get it to work.

I’ve tried quite a few things over the last few days to try to get it to work, all without success. Here’s just a sample:

Reinstalled Leopard from scratch

I erased my entire hard-drive and installed Leopard from scratch. I did this just in case there was a problem with the installers method of upgrading from Tiger to Leopard. In the end, I had the same problem: Leopard could see my network drive, but not the contents.

Installed Tiger, updated Tiger, then installed Leopard

Installed Tiger from scratch, once again erasing the hard-drive in the process. Updated Tiger using the Software Upgrade option from the Apple menu. Then upgraded to Leopard. I went through this rigmarole just in case there were parts of Tiger that were being carried over into Leopard and that weren’t being upgraded. Still no joy though.

Manually reverted to the old version of the smb.conf file

I located the smb.conf file in the /etc directory, renamed it, then proceeded to rename smb.conf.old to smb.conf. Restarted the computer. I did this just in case it was a configuration issue. No luck with this either.

Installed the latest version of Samba

I downloaded and installed the latest version of Samba from the web. In case there was an issue with the version shipping with Leopard, I thouht it might be a good idea to try this, but I still wasn’t able to get it to work. In fact I wasn’t even able to get Samba installed. It may work, but I just didn’t see it going anywhere.

Installed Sharity 3

Sharity is a program that brings the SMBFS file system to Unix. There’s a version available for Mac OS X, but while it looked promising, it just ended up hanging the OS.

Reformatted my network drive with the Mac OS Extended File System

Thinking that it may be a problem with the way that Mac OS views FAT file systems, I tried formatting the drive for use with Mac OS. I had no problem partitioning and formatting the drive when it was directly connected to my MacBook, but when I tried to connect to the drives built-in webserver it reported that there was no free space – the firmware in the drive just didn’t recognise the file system. So I had to reformat it back to FAT32 again.

Now that I’ve been through what didn’t work for me, I can explain what I did to get Leopard to recognise my network hard drive.

  • Connect to my Network Drive using Apple-K
  • Close the lid of my MacBook
  • Leave it sleep for several hours
  • Open the lid of my MacBook and login back in

Voilà! I can now browse my network drive, and add and delete files and folders, etc. I’ve moved my iTunes Music folder to the drive and it works perfectly.

There is one issue. The network drive does not appear under the Shared section of finder, nor under the Desktop folder in my profile, even though I can see the link to the folder on my Desktop.