Mac files randomly disappear when saving to SMB share

Posted on 2013-10-30
Last Modified: 2014-02-03
We have a number of imacs connecting via smb to a windows server 2008 share. Very randomly, users will have an issue where a file that gets saved simply disappears. Other users have their index drop sometimes and become unable to search, thus needing a reindexing of the location which takes about 3 hours each time. Lastly, users are sometimes told they cannot move/save/rename due to files being in use, even though I have confirmed that there are no open files in the specified directories.

My question is if SMB the right protocol to use here? I have tried connecting with CIFS, but it changes the path to SMB afterward (is this normal).

I have also read that running a permissions repair on all of the mac systems would be advisable.

Another site said using the same username and password for all users would be the way to go, but this sounds like it would create other permission issues.

Thank you in advance for your help.
Question by:morojo
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39613531
In relation to your query about SMB/CIFS
CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a refinement of SMB (Server Message Blocks). SMB is the term for Microsoft's file sharing technology as used in Windows. CIFS was proposed by them as an "open" version of SMB for filesharing over the Internet and is used by other platforms such as Unix.  

OSX includes both SMB and CIFS protocols and if you're having trouble with SMB then there may something in your setup related to Windows file sharing, perhaps WINS server settings or authentication, is not quite right, whereas the more generic CIFS is able to connect.

It is not unusual to connect over CIFS and then when you look at the link it is showing as SMB afterwards.

A few other points:
1. Repairing permissions on the OSX system is not-likely to make any difference to this problem as it lies with the Win 2008 server and not the local OSX files but is worthwhile doing periodically for OSX itself.
2. Same username and password to access the Win 2008 share narrows down the problems to one user account and if all users have the same account it is less likely to be an inter-user permission error as all users have the same account.  This will not address locked files causing move/save/delete errors.

The bad news is that you could fill a book with people posting on Windows, Apple and forums such as this who have the same problems with Windows shares and OSX users.

In particular the problems occur when users open and edit files directly located on the shared server.  OSX applications such as Photoshop, MS Office and others tend to set locks on files while editing which do not properly get cleared/removed when the file is saved & closed as the SMB protocol does not have 100% Windows functionality.

Many of the problems can be reduced by making all the OSX users login to the share with the same username and password (as all the files they edit, folders created etc. will have the same user ownership) but this is not always practical.
Other partial solutions involve disabling and re-creating the share which can refresh permissions on the share files and subfolders or setting looser ownership/access permissions on the share when compared to the rest of the Win 2008 server.

Author Comment

ID: 39615480
Currently, the user group everyone is attached to has full rights on the share. I definitely think there is an issue with OSX and Adobe in which it doesn't unlock the files properly after they are closed.

I still don't get how a file can just disappear when being saved. I am testing a couple users with the cifs and will update asap on here if I find any positive/negative results.

Thanks for your response, hopefully some other ideas will spring up on here.
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39615556
Programs like Photoshop use a swap file located on the local computer and only when you try to save to the remote server the problem occurs.   I've used photoshop for years and until very recently it was downright madness to work with files that were not on the local hd. You could copy or backup to remote servers but never work directly on files located on a network.
Ultimately windows and SMB are not native apple file systems and not 100% supported for data intensive work such as video editing and photoshop falls into that category too.

Is expect much less errors with simple text and data files across a network.
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Author Comment

ID: 39615571
The server they have now replaced a mac server, they didn't have any problems working on files over the network going to that. This would make me assume it is more related to Mac OS and Windows not getting along.
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39616080
Yes, you're correct. The file and folder problems ARE related to the limitations of OSX / Windows networking. Windows file and folder permissions are different from Unix/OSX.

Since the first version of OSX it has included SMB but it was quite limited.  While SMB has improved it is not as good or stable as an all OSX network or all Windows network.
When I referred to network problems working with files on OSX I was assuming we were talking about a mixed network using Windows file servers.  OSX to OSX Server is solid.

Author Comment

ID: 39617261
Sorry for the confusion, you were absolutely correct, I appreciate the clarification.

The weirdest part is how it only pertains to the adobe files. Is there any addon or app that might manage better the locking/unlocking function of the cs5.5 files?

Author Comment

ID: 39617265
Any chance upgrading to creative cloud would solve these network file issues?
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 50 total points
ID: 39617298
Not likely -
As I said Photoshop has quite a complex file system and is a lot more sensitive than many other file formats.  MS Office can misbehave too as it creates temporary files and lock files which can sometimes not be properly deleted on SAVE or CLOSE.

If you want to open a ticket with Adobe to see what they proffer as a solution but I'd bet they'll recommend working from an OSX Server or OSX network share or the local OSX computer but not from Windows 2008 share.

I have worked with several print companies who have mixed Mac and Windows networks.  All of them either use OSX servers or work from a local folder and then use mirroring software to copy/backup data to their Windows Server.  None that I am aware would use Photoshop/InDesign files hosted on a Win Server.

Author Comment

ID: 39623105
So taking in the fact that OS X doesn't play nice with Windows Server, are there any suggestions as to what possible route can resolve our issues?
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39623559
Use OSX or osx server to host a large raid drive such as a Drobo.
Get a standalone NAS that supports windows and apple clients such as Synology NAS drives.

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