If you’re a Mac user, and you’re enjoying the newer MacOS X versions, then you might have noticed that Apple’s own implementation of SMB simply sucks … it just doesn’t work and for a company like Apple to just leave it this way is beyond me.
SMB is a network protocol, commonly know as “Microsoft Windows Network” or Samba, which allows sharing of files and devices over a network. Most of us use this on our Windows computers and theoretically (it seems) MacOS X should support this as well.
For me it’s to share files with family, friends, or to share media files with my XBMC/Kodi setup.
In this article, I’ll show you how to quickly get started with a working Samba implementation, instead of using Apple’s broken implementation – for this we will make use of SMBUp.
SMBUp not suitable for Catalina!
SMBUp is 32bits, and this means that Catalina users are out of luck:
SMBUp will not work with Catalina!
What is the Problem?
Well, to be honest I’m not quite sure … for now I’ll blame Apple, either for no longer using Samba 3.0 or for creating a crappy implementation on their own and doing (seemingly) zero effort to fix issues with their implementation. I guess things could be worse …
The biggest problem I’ve run into, is that it seems impossible to simply share a directory or drive on your Mac with other devices – like for example Windows computers, certain Android devices, etc.
The Apple instructions are simple, but simply do not work, or work only on occasion. So much for the “user experience” I’ve come used to with Apple products.
I’m not even going to start about the fact that it can no longer index network shares … but that’s another problm for another day …
Mac OS X SMB Fix solution: SMBUp
One trick would be using another type of connection, like AFP or NFS.
The main problems with AFP, an Apple product, would be that even Apple is abandoning it, and you can’t simply browse for a share in for example Kodi/XBMC. With NFS I have zero experience, and Windows users would need a special client application for that (requires a Windows Enterprise edition), if even available. So I’m leaving that behind as an option as well.
A better trick would be to actually install Samba 3.0, after all it’s freely available, and should run on a Mac. And it does.
As with most of these type of applications, a lot of command-line work might be involved and for the average user I do not consider this a good option. This is exactly where SMBUp comes in play – it does it all for you.
Keep in mind that at the time of this writing, SMBUp is mainly aimed at getting a SMB server going – i.e. share a folder on your Mac.
How to install SMBUp
Installing SMBUp is pretty simple, however configuration got me confused initially.
SMBUp is a free application that replaces the Apple SMB implementation with the Open Source Samba version.
I have tested this Mac OS X SMB Fix under Yosemite 10.10.2, with XMBC/Kodi as a client on an Android device , and it works great!
Keep in mind that a donation is much appreciated by the developer …
Step 1 – Download SMBUp
First download the latest version from the SMBUp website, and unzip the downloaded file (simply open it, your Mac will extract it for you).
Of course, as a back-up, you can download it from Tweaking4All as well, but we strongly recommend that you get the latest version from the SMBUp website.
Step 2 – Installing SMBUp
After unzipping, you’ll see an application called “SMBUp“, drag it to your “Applications” folder.
Now go to the “Applications” folder and double click the “SMBUp” application to start it.
The first message will state that Samba is not yet installed.
Click “Install Samba for me” and in the next windows “OK, help me install the software” and “Download & Install Package“.
Installation can take a little bit, strongly depending on your Internet speed.
During installation your password will be asked so SMBUp can work with your system files.
Once installation is completed, click “Configure Shared Disks“.
Step 3 – Configure SMBUp
Now keep in mind, this is the short and quick version. SMBUp has tons of configuration settings and options. We will just focus on sharing a folder or drive on your Mac with other devices, for example my Amazon Fire TV with Kodi/XBMC can access media that resides on my MacBook Pro.
If you completed step 2, you’ll be looking at a window like this one:
SMBUp – Configuration window
And this is where things became confusing for me – which can be totally my failure of course. I’m just super grateful that SMBUp exists!
Unlock and set a Name …
First thing I did was to click the padlock in the upper left corner to unlock it – you’ll have to enter your password here.
Next thing I did, which is optional, was to enter a name in the “Name” field that made sense to me. Avoid lengthy names, special characters and spaces!
When done, click “Save All“.
Add a User
The next step is to add users – which is based on the users that already exist on your Mac.
Since I’m assuming a simple share, I’ve used my own user account, but you could of course create an account specifically for this purpose.
Click “Manage Users” and select the user you’d like to add.
Enter the password and click “Add user“, rinse and repeat if needed for other users – for a simple share you’ll only need one user, specially when “guest access” will be allowed.
When done, click “Close“.
Add a Share
Now that we have at least one user, time to add the folder or drive we would like to share – this can be on the internal harddisk of your Mac or on an external drive.
Click “Add new Shared Drive” and select the drive or folder you’d like to share.
After selecting your drive or folder, you will see something like this:
SMBUp – Share a drive or a folder
First thing you might notice is that the “Start” button seems disabled – and you’ll also notice that the padlock is locked again …
Unlock the padlock again so the “Start” button is operational again!
Just to be sure I clicked “Update“, “Save All” and finally “Start” and … your Mac OS X SMB Fix, SMBUp, is up and running!
SMBUp – My share is finally working!
Some side notes:
- You will see here in the window above that this new share allows Guests access and files are read only – you can change that, if you like (click “Update” after making changes!).
- You can now quit the SMBUp application – the share(s) will remain active.
- Restarting your Mac will not automatically restart the share(s)!
- Adding “SMBup” to your login items however, will restore the shares after restart (“System Settings” “Users & Groups” “Login Items” “+“).
- Some more complicated questions are answered in the SMBUp FAQ.