Advise on Best File Server for Macs using Word

Posted on 2014-09-15
Last Modified: 2014-09-15
I've been fighting the insane uphill battle with Mac clients using MS Word to save files to Windows Server 2008 for almost a year now. I've tried using a NAS instead but went back to Server 2008.

99% of the problems I'm seeing revolve around Mac OS on the client locking files open even when the file isn't open on the respective client. Windows Server shows files open after they're closed. My assumption is that the client isn't communicating the closure and the server is left in la la land. These issues consist of Word not saving files that you just opened from the server, saving errors (aka you don’t have permission all of a sudden), mysterious corrupt files (one mac can open a word doc fine and the mac next to them gets an error that the very same file is corrupt), inabilities to move/rename/delete files etc.

There are sooooo many problems with Word, Mac OS X and saving to networks I'm out of ideas (lots and lots of people are having this issue and Apple/MS are not being helpful). The only thing we haven't tried is using another Mac as the file server, which leads me to my quest for advice.

We're going to try and use a Mac Mini to host the Word files for 5 users.

The question/advice needed is this: which file sharing protocol should be used?

All the Mac clients are running 10.8.5 or 10.7. The new Mac Mini will be downgraded to 10.8.5 and will have the "server" app added to it.

Should we be using AFP or SMB or CIFS or something else?

The hope is that using a Mac to serve the files may help.

Thoughts? Advise?
Question by:digitalwav
  • 3
  • 2
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
The Macs can use AFP to connect to the server .. as OSX introduced SMB2 in 10.8 and 10.7 uses SMB1 it might be better to stick to AFP seeing as you have clients with both OSX versions and therefore 2 flavours of SMB which would also have been an issue with them working with Windows.

I'd NOT recommend downgrading the MacMini Server .. in fact if you can get it up to 10.10 when it comes out soon that would be better.  SMB2 support and connectivity with Windows is better in 10.10 than 10.9 and MUCH better than 10.8.

Author Comment

Comment Utility
So if I can get all of the Mac clients on 10.8.5 (which is the plan), the server can be 10.9 or 10.10 and the SMB versions will match?

We tried 10.9 on a few desktops and it's been a disaster. There were too many UI issues, alias's disappearing and other issues.

I guess as long as the SMB version matches it may work better correct?
LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
As 10.8 uses SMB2 by default and 10.7 does not.  You can force 10.8 to use SMB1 but it seems redundant when the new server has AFP included and if you're upgrading the 10.7 to 10.8 then SMB2 will be the standard.

If the Mac Mini is being used as a File Server .. it should be installed with latest OSX 10.9 .. leave it alone and do not downgrade it as the UI has no effect when using it as a fileserver and you're getting a better version of OSX in terms of the other functionality.

I'd recommend that you use AFP for the macs connecting as that is consistent for the 10.7 and 10.8 clients.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
Comment Utility
If you can upgrade all the 10.7 Macs to 10.8 that would be good .. but I'd still recommend AFP by default and you can fall back to SMB2 if you have to.

Author Closing Comment

Comment Utility
I'd prefer AFP as it has had fewer issues based on past experience.

Thanks for the advice. I hope this will take care of the issues we're having!

Featured Post

How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

Join & Write a Comment

Introduction This tutorial provides instructions on how to properly format your Word document using the inbuilt tools provided. The benefits of using these tools means your documents are more accessible and easily portable to other applications an…
In this article we discuss how to recover the missing Outlook 2011 for Mac data like Emails and Contacts manually.
This video walks the viewer through the process of creating Hyperlinks for the web and other documents. Select the "Insert" tab: Click "Hyperlink":  Type "http://" followed by a web address to reference a website or navigate to a document to ref…
Learn how to create and modify your own paragraph styles in Microsoft Word. This can be helpful when wanting to make consistently referenced styles throughout a document or template.

772 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

10 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now