Does anyone have tips for conveniently dealing with a variety of NFS mounted directories in Mac OS X?

When I drag them to the sidebar in finder they can't be renamed.

When I mounted them using "connect to server" they get mounted under /Volumes. Alternatively I can access them using /net/host/export and they will get automatically mounted.

But there doesn't seem to be any way to visit a /net/host/export directory using the finder GUI. Although it seems I can use "open" from the command line to visit it and then drag it to the side bar.

So anyway. Any "best practices" out there?

I seem to have a choice to drag either /net paths to the side bar or to drag /Volume paths to the side bar. The finder seems to implement the auto-mount functionality when I click on /Volume-based sidebar links.

I could also create symlinks to /net paths and use those symlinks.

One of the core problems I have is that the /net paths (and the /Volume paths) are long and unfriendly. I'm looking for a way to "manage" these in a way that lets me use shortcuts or aliases of some kind.

I'm still collecting tips. When I get more, I'll come back here and rewrite this. Basically /net paths are treated by the finder as local directories. In some ways it treats them as local (must use 'Goto' to open them) and in some ways it knows they are special (they don't show up in the "Mac HD" location).

If you have any other tips, please add them.

  • Why community wiki? Sep 19, 2010 at 21:02
  • I'm happy to have anyone rewrite the post to be more structured according to overview. I reconsidered, but I couldn't figure out how to undo it. Sep 27, 2010 at 16:54
  • It also turns out that Mac OS will prompt you with a little popup when a mounted volume is no longer available. There is a button that says "unmount all", but that doesn't seem to unmount all my /net mounts. So if I mount 6 things under /net at work, then when I resume my system at home I get prompted 6 times with a few minutes in between. It's very frustrating. It would be ideal if they all showed up in finder, so I could just pull up finder and click to eject all of them at once. Dec 16, 2010 at 4:57
  • I found another useful tip today. There is a flag in /etc/auto_master called "hidefromfinder". If you turn this off for /net and /home, it improves the interoperability between finder and the automounter. Jan 21, 2011 at 1:19

3 Answers 3


In Finder press:

  • ++G to go to a directory. Since the automounting of /net is handled by the operating system (via Autofs, see the technical white paper) it will mount the share.

  • +K to open the Connections window, where you can even save your commonly accessed locations.

(see the Go menu)

But I don't think you can rename connections.

  • If I use the first key combo to open /net, then I can load them into finder. That's a good tip. Then I can drag them into "places" for shortcuts. Cool. Oct 19, 2010 at 15:20
  • I had a problem with the second suggestion. If I use "connect to server", then the directories get mounted under /Volumes. So it seems like you have to decide whether you want to use the /net paths or the /Volumes paths to access your NFS directories and then use them consistently. Otherwise it gets confusing. Oct 19, 2010 at 15:22

You can mount any NFS share using the fstab file (http://www.tuxfiles.org/linuxhelp/fstab.html). I found it to be the best alternative for mounting share so they appear in the top level of Finder (and also available in the sidebar), a feat impossible using autofs. Most importantly, it gives you the ability to add mount options like nolocks and rsize/wsize, which usually increase performance. YMMV.

  • Do you find that there is a problem with leaving the mounts active all the time? I have a variety of servers that are used every now and then. I am worried that if they are all mounted all the time, then I will have more issues with servers not responding, and apps and utilities that walk into the filesystem in places where they don't need to be going. Mar 27, 2013 at 22:46
  • I don't think so, as NFS doesn't put any strain on the server if the share is not actually used for I/O operations. Having the server relatively close to me gives me an indication on it's usage by listening to the hard drives... And they always sleep when I'm not using them.
    – CatalinM
    Mar 29, 2013 at 7:14
  • What is worth looking into is using autofs with fstab entries, instead of maps. On paper it seemed like the best of both worlds, but I have to check for myself. In any case, the mounting options really make the difference for me, making a git repository over a NFS share work almost as well as a local one, unlike without any options, where it was barely usable.
    – CatalinM
    Mar 29, 2013 at 7:17

Here is what I did with all network shares I use:

  1. Mounted all of them using Finder Go menu item "Connect to Server".
  2. Set checkbox "Connected servers" under Finder's Preferences General tab. That makes all that shares appear on my Desktop.
  3. Created a folder "Network" inside my user folder (on the same level as Documents, Movies, etc.
  4. Dragged all of the network shares from my Desktop inside that folder.
  5. Dragged that "Network" folder on Finders Sidebar and also dragged it into my Dock.

Now I have easy and quick access to all my network shares and they mount automatically. And I also renamed them to my taste to better reflect what they are about. Is that the thing you want to accomplish ?


  • One can have several such "Network" folders like Home and Work.
  • One can create and put there Screen sharing and Remote Desktop shortcuts as well.
  • One can change their default "remote volume" icons to better differentiate them.
  • One can create new network aliases by dragging items from "Remote Volumes" section (Finder>Go>Computer.)

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