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Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh

Anyone who has used a Macintosh in a network environment for several years will remember a feature from OS 9 and earlier versions that allowed you to save logon credentials for a network volume. This would allow users to have those network volumes automatically mount on the Mac desktop when the user logged in on the Mac. As with many other features of the new operating system, this functionality changed with the release of OS X. As a result, there is no longer a simple checkbox that a user can enable to have a network volume automatically mount when the user logs in.

TERMS This document and what comes with it are provided as-is with blunt warning: Use at your own risk, buyer beware.You break your system; you own the resolution as well. We have no liability for what you do, or can't do, or fail to do with this information. Your entire protection is to start over again with a protected backup, or from protected system. If you don't want to accept this idea, please don't use this document.

There are several ways to recover this functionality, however. This document details one of the simpler methods. Given the intended audience for this document, there are several assumptions being made.

  1. The Macintosh is running Mac OS 10.4 or later.
  2. The server providing the network volumes is running SBS 2003.
  3. The Macintosh is accessing shares on the SBS server through SMB, not Appletalk.

First, you need to be able to mount the server share on the Macintosh. Follow these steps to mount the volume.

1. Bring the Finder to the foreground by clicking on the Mac desktop or selecting the Finder icon in the Dock (see Figure 1).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 1

2. Open the Connect to Server dialog by pressing Command-K (Apple key + K) on the keyboard, or by selecting Connect to Server from the Go menu (see Figure 2).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 2

3. In the Server Address field, enter smb://servername, where servername is the NetBIOS name of your SBS server (see Figure 3).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 3

4. If prompted, enter the username and password for the account on the SBS server (see Figure 4).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 4

5. Select the sharename from the dropdown list and click OK (see Figure 5).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 5

6. The volume will connect and a window will open for the share (see Figure 6.)
Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 6

Now that you have connected to the volume, a shortcut to the volume will appear in the Recent Servers folder of the user profile. This shortcut (located in the user's home folder under Library -> Recent Servers) can be used to connect to the volume again at any time by double-clicking on the shortcut.

If you want to have this volume automatically mount when you log in, follow these steps to add the shortcut to the Login Items configuration for the user profile. These steps assume that the user has an admin account on the Macintosh.

1. Open System Preferences from the Apple Menu (see Figure 7).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 7

2. Click Accounts in the System area.

3. Click the lock in the lower left corner of the Accounts window to unlock the control panel.

4. Enter the password for the account and click OK.

5. Select the Login Items tab (see Figure 8).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 8

6. Click the + beneath the item list to add a new item.

7. Browse to the Recent Servers folder by clicking the Home Folder icon in the left-hand pane, then select Library, then select Recent Servers (see Figure 9).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 9

8. Select the volume shortcut and click Add (see Figure 10).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh
Figure 10

9. The shortcut will now appear in the Login Items list (see Figure 11).

Automounting SMB Shares on a Macintosh

10. Close the System Preferences window.


  • You can only edit the Login Items for the account that is logged in. If you have multiple accounts on the Macintosh, you cannot modify the Login Items for those other accounts without logging into that account first.
  • Only users with local admin rights on the Macintosh can modify the Login Items settings for their account.
  • If you have configured the Macintosh to join the Active Directory domain for your SBS server, you can log in to the Mac using domain credentials instead of using a local Macintosh account. Using domain credentials to log in will eliminate the need to enter a username and password every time you connect to a share on the SBS server

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