We have several Macs in our office, ranging from 10.5.8 - 10.8.2. Until a few days ago all of the machines could access all of our file servers, running on Win 2007 server, using just the netbiosname by "Connecting to Server" in Finder. Basically they could reach the share by connecting to "smb://Server1/MyFiles".

Well, a few days ago we migrated one of our file servers (Server1) from a physical box to a VMWare VM. Ever since that change we have been unable to connect with our 10.7 & 10.8 Macs using our traditional method. Attempting to do so results in a "Server not found" error. The workaround that we've found is that we can still connect using either the FQDN or the IP address, such as "smb://Server1.Domain.Extension/MyFiles" or "smb://".

Some more info:

  • Golden Triangle environment, AD providing authentication & OD providing management
  • 10.6.8 & older Macs can still access by connecting to smb://Server1/MyFiles
  • 10.7 & 10.8 Macs can only access via the FQDN or IP, smb://Server1.Domain.Extension/MyFiles
  • The Search Domain still populates correctly as "Domain.Extension" in the DHCP/DNS settings of the affected machines
  • Pinging Server1 from the affected Macs is successful, the address populates as Server1.Domain.Extension
  • Unbinding and rebinding has no effect
  • Comparing the affected, recently migrated, server to our other working server in Directory Utility shows only one difference. The dsAttrTypeNative:servicePrincipalName value is different between the two.
    • The working server, Server2, has two values: HOST/Server2 and HOST/Server2.Domain.Extension
    • The affected server, Server1, has three values: HOST/Server1, WSMAN/Server1 and WSMAN/Server1.Domain.Extension

My first thought was the SMB compatibility issues that arose when Lion was first released but considering everything worked smoothly until the server migration I can't imagine this is the case. We also considered DNS but with it pinging properly, and the older Macs & Windows machines connecting properly, we have a hard time believing that.

Has anyone run into this before or have any ideas?


2 Answers 2


I had been using 10.7 for the last two years, and have a Windows 7 server in the closet that I use to share files with all the Mac and Windows users in our office, of which there are equal amounts of each due to their differing roles (Accounting, Coding, Editing on FCP). As an Apple support tech, I have seen many of my clients with odd issues as soon as they upgraded, and it made me hesitate to move to Mountain Lion; but I just purchased a new Macbook Pro, and finally wanted to see if I could resolve any upgrade issues I had in order to help future clients.

OF COURSE! The first thing that happened was my ability to connect to the Windows shares using a Netbios name was gone. Even with the exact same settings migrating from 10.7 to 10.8, I now had to use the IP address of the server, as Mr. Rabbit above illustrated, or by installing Samba...a daunting task involving tons of Terminal commands. Not interested in overkill; I like the principle of Ockham's razor when it comes to this stuff.

I decided to take a look at what I could do with this issue, as I attempted yesterday to resolve it but couldn't figure it out. After a night's rest (and a strong cup of joe) the answer revealed itself. (I'm running 10.8.4, fyi.)

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to Network.
  3. Highlight your Network (ethernet or wireless) and click the Advanced... button.
  4. Select WINS from the Menu items. Update your NETBIOS name of your Mac.
  5. Make sure your workgroup is the same as the share you're connecting to.
  6. Enter the IP Address of the shared resource (Windows machine).

Usually it took between 10 and 20 seconds for the network shares to resolve; now they are loading up within about 2 seconds.


Our network person figured it out. This was his explanation of the issue & the fix, just in case anyone runs into a similar migration issue in the future

Using the smbutil lookup command in terminal I was able to see that the Macs were resolving the NETBIOS name of the server to two wrong IP addresses. Since SMB uses WINS to resolve names I was able to find the offending IP addresses by querying the WINS list. I deleted the old ones out and put them in statically for Server1.

This happened because converting to vsphere does not bring over network info since it assigns new nics. The new nics picked up DHCP and were then registered into WINS and DNS this way. We changed DNS right away making it work for the FQDN and for Windows machines. Something to do after the conversion next time.

  • I was curious if WINS was involved, but I don't touch our Windows Servers at work myself. I'm glad you figured this out!
    – bispymusic
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 15:31
  • I know the feeling, I'm way past my time dealing with Windows Servers. Needless to say I was happy to let the network guy figure this one out!
    – Mr Rabbit
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 17:06

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