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TIP: Two workarounds to Mavericks -36 file

sharing errors, nsmb.conf & POSIX permissions

By John Rizzo

Jochen Lannig sent us two different workarounds to the problem of - 36 errors with Mavericks 10.9.2 copying files to OS X Server 3.0.2. The first involves creating or editing an nsmb.conf file to force the use of the SMB1 protocol. The second is to use only POSIX permissions (not ACLs) to share folders.

The first workaround, to force Mavericks to use SMB1 file sharing protocol instead of the default SMB 2, also works with problems connecting to Windows file servers and network attached storage devices. We've previously reported that you can do this each time you connect by typing cifs://servername in the Finder's Go>Connect to Server box. Lannig discovered how to make SMB1 the default file sharing protocol.

To always use SMB1, you can create a file called nsmb.conf within ~/Library/Preferences/ with the following content:


If you already have an nsmb.conf file, edit it so that above content is added. You can create or edit the file with TextEdit, or use Terminal. This folder is invisible in Mavericks; to open it in the Finder, use the Go to Folder command in the Go menu and type ~/Library/Preferences/.

If you've tried this approach how it works for you.

(Long-time MacWindows readers may remember that creating or editing an nsmb.conf file was a fix for -36 file sharing errors in Snow Leopard. It was a different problem with another type of edit, and the file was in a different location.)

ACLs permissions play a role

Lannig also observed that he only got -36 errors with files shared using ACL (Access Control List) permissions on the shares on the server side. Using POSIX permissions to share the files is another possible workaround, though there are drawbacks. Lannig writes:

I am running OS X 10.9.2 with Server 3.0.2 on a Mac Mini and access it from several Windows 7 machines as well as from two other Macs also running 10.9.2. Strangely, the error 36 only occurred on some but not all of the server's network shares. After some investigation I came to the conclusion that only network shares using access control lists (ACL) are concerned. Some of my shares (e. g. the user's home directories) only use standard POSIX rights and do not require ACL to work as desired. Copying files to those shares works like a charm. On the other hand, several shares are to be used by multiple users or user groups and therefor depend on ACL and their ability of passing down permissions to child files or folders (with POSIX rights only the creator of a new file or folder would have write permission).

Now I figured out that, as soon as I add ACL permissions to a share for a specific user (or a group he is a member of), the Mac client immediately shows that error 36. Upon removing the ACL permissions again, normal operation is regained.

Unfortunately, switching off ACL completely is no option for me. Neither is using the AFP protocol instead of SMB, since AFP has some trouble with certain file system features such as hard links to folders (which I know is not recommended, but works fine otherwise and I am dependent on them).

Have you connected this problem to the use of ACLs? .

Back to Mavericks File Sharing Tips and Reports.

Note: this story was corrected to show that the line of code in the file is smb_neg=smb1_only, not smb_net=smb1_only .