My company has a single file sharing Mac Pro computer that every user connects to. Occasionally a user will drop a file in a folder for another user to access, but the the files will be greyed out and are inaccessible to the other user, while a different user can see and access it as normal. Sometimes dropping a file will cause a user to just have spinning ball and will not drop.

It has worked well enough for a few months now, but this problems has been becoming more frequent.

Everyone, which is about 20 users all with iMac or Mac pros, connects to the file sharing Mac Pro using the same registered username and password. I have everyone connected via SMB. The file sharing Mac Pro has a Drobo via USB that hosts all the files. All the permissions are set to write and read for everyone.

Any idea on how to fix this? Do I have this setup correctly?

  • 1
    20 users all using the identical credentials; i.e. one username/password for all logged in sessions?
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 22:16
  • Yes, all under one username and password.
    – Nathan G
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 22:17
  • There's your problem in a nutshell. You need to transition to a real server infrastructure. The errors your users are experiencing will only get worse over time.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 22:25
  • I have the Server app installed. Should I be adding unique usernames for each user to log in to? Thank you for the responses
    – Nathan G
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 22:35
  • Is your company website on this server as well? Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


Everyone, which is about 20 users all with iMac or Mac pros, connects to the file sharing Mac Pro using the same registered username and password...All the permissions are set to write and read for everyone.

Emphasis Mine

This one paragraph sums up the issue you are having; you do not have this setup correctly at all. What this sounds like is that even though everyone has read/right priviliges, the file gets locked so that only one SMB client can access it at a time. When two clients access it - even with the same credentials, which client has the correct changes? SMB solves this for you - the one that got there first.

What you should have is a unique user account for each person that needs to access the file share/server. If you want to maintain a single login for your users across all servers, look at implementing a directory server of some sort. I prefer Active Directory as I work in mixed environments; second in line is LDAP.

  • I am in the process of giving everyone a unique login. I do not have the ability to implement any other software or programs to handle our file sharing computer. I hope this solves my problem. Thank you for the response.
    – Nathan G
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 23:39
  • @NathanG - you can do Active Directory in the cloud and for more than 10 people, it's something I wholeheartedly recommend. If cost is a factor, look at enabling LDAP Directory Services on the macOS server. It's free, but there is a learning curve.
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 23:42
  • I have very minimal knowledge of open directory services. But I will make the effort to learn it and try to implement it. Thank you very much for the response.
    – Nathan G
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 14:32

What Apple has to say about file sharing:

"With macOS file sharing, you can allow up to ten users to connect to your Mac at once using File Sharing. If you need to allow more than ten computers to connect to your Mac at once, use macOS Server, which is available in the App Store." THIS is the root of your problem, not file access locking/permissions (as Allen alluded to).

This has NOTHING to do with file locking (trust me, I've been doing Mac networking since 1983) and EVERYTHING to do with simultaneous connections to the same folder. Take a look at the greyed out file and see if it has a REALLY odd date (1980, Jan 1, 1984, etc.) If so, then the file was never closed properly (usually updating the name of the file, it's permissions, etc.) and the file table hasn't been updated. This is Apple's fault for not following the SMB protocol properly.

Personally, I don't see why you are on SMB sharing if everybody in your organization is on a Mac, as SMB is ONLY for Windows machines and it REALLY cludges up your network. SMB stands for "Server Message Block," a Microsoft invention for Windows machines to talk to each other. Apple uses AFS ("Apple File Sharing"), which is based on TCP/IP (what the Internet uses). When you use SMB on a Mac, you are engaging a system called SAMBA, which uses SMB/NetBIOS and allows your Mac to speak SMB. SAMBA has it's problems, as does Apple's implementation of SMB. In a "Mac ONLY" office, I avoid SMB like the plague, do to the kind of problems you are just beginning to experience.

  • 1
    "In a "Mac ONLY" office, I avoid SMB like the plague..." Interesting, since AFP has been deprecated and Apple's protocol is now SMB.
    – Allan
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 20:59
  • Thank you for the insight, it is greatly appreciated. Since adding unique user logins, i havent heard any complaining from staff, so im assuming its better. I picked SMB because it was what I recognized and after brief research, I found AFP wasnt used much anymore and SMB was pretty much the go to. It was quite confusing, since yes, this is a mostly Mac environment. We do have 3 PCs in the network.
    – Nathan G
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 22:16

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