March 2011 Archives

syntax differences between autofs and mount_smbfs

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If you are trying to establish static CIFS (aka SMB) mounts on your Mac, here are a couple hints that might save some time and effort.

If you need to specify the domain (say, if you are using Active Directory credentials), you need to escape the semicolon that divides the domain and the username. So if your map file is /etc/auto_smb, then you could use something like this example.

localmountpoint   -fstype=smbfs  ://DOMAIN\;username:password@nas.stanford.edu/sharepoint\$    

You also need to escape the dollar sign if have such a character on your remote server's sharepoint (plus any funky characters in your password). Thanks Adam! If you do not, you'll get errors like

/sbin/mount_smbfs[2017] <Error>: smb_mount: mount failed to nas.stanford.edu/sharepoint : syserr = No such file or directory    

and the icon in the Mac's Finder will be a broken alias. Note that you may need to enable verbose logging (which isn't terribly verbose) in /etc/autofs.conf file to get these messages in your system.log file.

If you're using mount_smbfs (or mount -t smbfs) via command line, on the other hand, it's unnecessary to escape the trailing $, but acceptable.

It would seem that your autofs map file could have the username, domain and password configured on a different file, as measure of security. This is normally done like this:

localmountpoint   -fstype=smbfs,credentials=/path/to/file  ://nas.stanford.edu/sharepoint\$    

But that will result in an error message, like

com.apple.automountd[341]: mount_smbfs: -o credentials: option not supported    

...so it's important to safeguard the map file if you're going to expose the credentials in plain text (chown root:wheel and chmod to 600).

In the man page for mount_smbfs, the wording suggests we could use the -N flag to bypass a password prompt and instead have mount_smbfs consult /etc/nsmb.conf. It says, "

Do not ask for a password. At run time, mount_smbfs reads the ~/Library/Preferences/nsmb.conf file for additional configuration parameters and a password. If no password is found, mount_smbfs prompts for it."    

However, the man page for nsmb.conf gives no indication that the password could be a valid key.

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