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Where do you update the Mac OSX system properties that displays in Windows XP Network Neighboorhood 'Comments' section?

Posted on 2008-06-24
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
Where does the entry for 'Comments' and computer name come from on a Mac OSX 10.5.3 system when browsing from a Windows XP system in network neighboor hood.  

Areas checked were:
System Preferences, Network, Advanced, WINS and the NetBios Name entry
System Preference, Sharing, and Computer Name
 
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Question by:jasonstockwell
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by:agriesser
ID: 21860527
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by:jasonstockwell
ID: 21861128
nope.  This is for setting up a Mac as a server.  Take a look at the doc attached to the question, I'm looking for the workstation side setting on a Mac OSX system for the equilivant of on XP under System Properties, Computer Name tab, Computer Description.  
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Eoin OSullivan earned 25 total points
ID: 21862920
jasonstockwell - as far as I know OSX does not have anywhere you can enter any "Comments" or "Description"
The only thing you can do is change the Computer Name .. this is done in the Sharing Preference Pane in System Preferences at the top of the pane.  This is the name for the computer which should be visible on the network.

OSX uses a technology called SAMBA to connect to and share with Windows users.  This is a Unix technology developed for many years (without Microsoft support) to enable Unix/Linux to work in Windows networks.  As M$ did not support the development, it is not 100% Windows compatible and there are lots of little quirks and limitations in areas such as NetBios, file naming etc.  
A recent change of mind from M$ means that there will now be code-sharing between M$ and SAMBA which promises better versions in the future but don't hold your breath.  The next big upgrade to SAMBA in OSX will probably be system 10.6 due sometime 2009.

Read More here about SAMBA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samba_(software)
http://www.samba.org
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by:agriesser
agriesser earned 25 total points
ID: 21863073
Sorry for my answer being incorrect, I had no access to my Hackintosh yesterday, but now I have and yes, you can change this value.

Open a terminal (Go -> Utilities -> Terminal.app or X11.app), login as root (sudo -s and then enter the password).
Open the file /private/var/run/smb.conf using your favourite console editor (e.g. vi) and modify the option "server string" to whatever you need and save the changes.

If you're unfamiliar with vi I guess you can also modify the file with some GUI editor.

Now you need to restart the smbd service, therefore enter the following commands:

service smbd stop
service smbd start

Et voila, you changed the description field.

There's just one problem with this solution: You need to do it after every reboot because OSX seems to recreate the smb.conf on each boot. I'm currently investigating on how to make this change permanent.

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by:jasonstockwell
ID: 21911737
since this changes every reboot, I wouldn't really call this a solution.  Are you sure there isn't another way of perminantly setting this value?
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by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 21911856
OSX does not really like you messing with SAMBA under the bonnet unless you know what you're doing.  It does the same rebuilds with Apache httpd.conf files after every reboot.

If you wish to tinker with SAMBA in the terminal I am sure you'll find a way of making that setting "stick" but as I mentioned there is no way of doing it in the OSX GUI.
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by:agriesser
ID: 21924408
Have you tried it already? I could only test it on 10.5.1, maybe 10.5.3 keeps this value after a reboot...
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by:jasonstockwell
ID: 21927145
I haven't tried yet since the other recomendation stated it wasn't really recommended.  If there isn't a 'Apple' supported method to correct this I'll just close the question.  It isn't a problem as much as an annoyance.  BTW, I'm on 10.5.4.
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by:agriesser
ID: 21927181
It says "unless you know what you're doing" and that's exactly the point. If you look at the default smb.conf template that's available on OSX, there's a part in this file where it says "Make your userdefined modifcations below", so it's perfectly fine to add custom settings to this file.

The question is only if it honours global settings in this part as well and not just share level settings, so I'd give it a try and if it not works, revert to the original version of the samba template.
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by:jasonstockwell
ID: 22073082
the setting change that applys to the machine name is only in the temporary generated file from the samba config, so it does reset on each reboot.  I did do the edits to verify.  Not sure if this will be resolved since it is really just a nusance item.  we can close this since we know where it comes from.
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by:agriesser
ID: 22076766
Oh, ok, that's bad, I thought that probably on 10.5.4 it would be possible to modify samba to honor this option.
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by:agriesser
ID: 22197045
Update: I stumbled upon the `defaults` command in the OSX terminal. I don't have OSX available at the moment, but you could try to look at the output of `defaults domains` in a terminal window to check wheter there are defaults for samba available too.

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Author Comment

by:jasonstockwell
ID: 22239851
this doesn't 'stick' either.  This was more of a nusance than a problem, so we can go ahead and close this.  Just another example of Mac and PC not playing well together.  
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by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 22277096
The answers have been provided to the question in several stages.  The conclusion is that
YES, you can modify the Comments/Description but ...
NO they will not persist and get rewritten by OSX default Samba Configuration.
Sorry that jasonstockwell did not get a positive outcome but the answers are there nonetheless.  Suggest splitting the points between agriesser and eoinosullivan and closing.
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by:jasonstockwell
ID: 22281464
as a body of work, agriesser and eoinosullivan did provide the right areas to look into the matter and expose where the changes could be made.  As a process of uncovering how it could be done if the OS didn't overwrite the settings on each new session, that was properly found. As a matter of technicailly resolving the issue, it isn't a resolution, but this thread should be closed as it is a function core in the OS and not an area that can be 'tweaked' or forced.  I'm fine with the participats receiving points for their input and investigations.
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