Robin's Blog

How to: speed up viewing Samba network shares in OS X

This is a very brief post to explain how I managed to speed up the viewing (that is, listing of files/directories) in Samba shares accessed via OS X.

So, a bit of background: I have a file server at home which has some shared folders on it, shared using the SMB protocol. This is the ‘Windows File Sharing’ protocol, and is implemented using the Samba project on Linux.

OS X can access these folders, by opening Finder and selecting Go -> Connect to server (or pressing Cmd-K) and typing smb://SERVER and selecting the shared folder. However, you may find – as I did – that once you have connected to the shared folder, it takes a huge amount of time to list folders that contain a large number of files or subfolders (in my case, this was my photos backup folders). At times it took over five minutes to list the contents of a folder…far too long!

Anyway, with a bit of Googling and trial and error, I found that telling OS X to use version 1 of the SMB protocol seemed to speed this up significantly – and didn’t seem to have a significant impact on data transfer rates.

To force OS X to use v1 of the protocol, just create a file called ~/Library/Preferences/nsmb.conf, with the contents:


If you want to create this easily from the command line, you can just run the following command:

echo "[default]" >> ~/Library/Preferences/nsmb.conf; echo "smb_neg=smb1_only" >> ~/Library/Preferences/nsmb.conf

You don’t need to restart, it should work immediately, and your file/folder listings should be a lot faster.

Categorised as: Computing, How To, OSX

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