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July 23rd 2014 11:14 am

Why is OS X sooooooooo slow to access SMB shares over a network?

I've mentioned this before: Last year, we've moved our entire photo library and music library onto a NAS device (a Synology DS213). Overall, the experience has been decent. It's easy enough to access over the network (and even remotely) to store files, media, and all sorts of other data.

Except when I need to access my /photos or /music folders. There are thousands and sub-directories stored in each folder (sort by dates, e.g. "2014-07-23" in photos and Artist in music). When I open them up through Finder, I get spinning beach ball of death syndrome. Eventually, everything finally loads -- but I've had time to make a new pot of coffee, shower, and shave.

Imagine my surprise when I fired up my Windows 7 machine for the first time and tried to access the same folders. It was practically instantaneous! In fact, I setup Google's Picasa photo management app to index the /photos folder and it has no problems displaying and managing the 50,000+ photos in the library. It's incredible! Contrast that with trying to use Picasa on OS X (reading the same folder): scroll one row of photos, spinning beach ball. Scroll down another row of photos, spinning beach ball.

Why is OS X sooooooooooooo slow when it comes to this? It's making me reconsider how we use and access our NAS!

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2 replies

Which version of OS X? I'm assuming you tested both OS's using wireless?
When you connect with smb what credentials do you use? Are they the same when you connect with Windows? Apple dropped support of Samba with Lion so that is the real problem.

They use SMB2 which is sort of compatible but many times it's not as they wrote their own version. You can also check if your NAS uses SMB2.
If it doesn't, to get around this you can type
instead of smb://yoursharedfoler/
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I'm sorry to hear that, Dave. I have a Synology (DS412+) and I LOVE it. I'm on Win 7 and I've had zero performance issues. The only time it's slow is waking up from sleep, but that's understandable. The rest of the time it's nearly as fast as a local drive.

I wish I could help, but I'm not an experienced OSX user. But how are you connecting Picasa from two computers to the same share. I've been looking into just that, and everything I've seen has said you shouldn't do that, unless you're using a third party plugin like PicasaStarter. I haven't set all that up yet, but it's intriguing.
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