Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

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Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by BigRedX »

My 2007 MacPro 2,1 which I use as a file and iTunes Server has finally died on me, and I decided to replace it with a shiny new basic model (256SSD 8GB RAM) M2 Mac Mini.

However I'm having some problems getting file sharing to work reliably. The old Mac was running the full Mac OS Server (Lion Version) although I was only using the file sharing service. However this has been rock solid for the whole life of this Mac.

Mac OS Server has now been discontinued and the built-in files sharing services of the standard Mac OS are supposed to be a suitable replacement. However I'm finding my current setup unreliable and I keep losing the connection to the server.

Firstly, although the Mac Mini is visible in the Finder under Network view, instead of an Mac-type Icon (which the previous server had) it displays as a question mark. When I connect to the server it also shows as a question mark in the Finder sidebar, and when I try to make a sidebar shortcut to a shared folder on the server, and drag it to the sidebar instead of the folder Icon with its name next to it, I have a document Icon with a question mark in place of the name.

This shortcut only works one time, when I click it again to take me back to the main shared folder I get the message: “?” can’t be opened because the original item can’t be found. I then have to select the server name in the sidebar to re-establish the connection.

BTW the shared folder is on an external USB3 hard drive. This drive was previously one of the 4 internal drives in the MacPro 2,1

I've probably got one thing set up wrongly in the many sharing preferences, but I can't work out what it is. Any ideas?
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by BigRedX »

I've solved the problem with the sidebar shortcut name, I had the wrong folder selected. Since it's ages since I last had to do this, I'd forgotten that you can't make a shortcut of a shared item directly, but you can make a shortcut of any folder inside that.

However the shared items are still not reliably available on the client Macs. Having done some more investigating it appears to be a problem with the drives spinning down when not in use. When these drives were attached inside the MacPro I was able prevent this by deselecting "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" in Energy Saver preferences. However my new disk enclosure seems to be overruling this, as I can hear the drives spinning up and down depending on usage. As soon as they spin down I lose the connection to the drive from the client Mac, even though they still appear on the desktop of the server.

Therefore can someone recommend me a good 3-5 drive enclosure that allows me to treat the disks as individual volumes. Is USB3 good enough for this or do I really need to be looking at something that connects by Thunderbolt?
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by BigRedX »

For anyone that is interested, the problem definitely lies with trying to share external drives.

I ran the system for a whole day accessing files off the internal SSD of the Mac Mini without issue. Interestingly when I was connected directly to a shared folder the Mac Mini the "?" icon changed to a proper Mac one.

Then I tried working from a folder saved onto a 2TB SATA HD drive in single USB3 enclosure. Everything worked fine for several hours until I started saving more files to this folder from within Photoshop. After saving several new files to the shared folder, one of them din't show up in either the application dialogue boxes or in the Finder window on the client Mac. It was definitely there because trying to do a "save as..." resulted in a warning about overwriting an existing file, plus the file was visible in the Finder on the Mac Mini.

The next thing I knew the Finder on the client Mac was showing the spinning beach ball and a "not responding" message when option-clicking the icon in the dock. This could only be resolved by force-quitting the Finder on the client Mac, restarting both the client and the server, and then on the server un-sharing the external drive and restarting again. Trying to simply reconnect to the shared drive resulted in the Finder on the client Mac locking up again.

I haven't had time to investigate further whether this is a software problem with File Sharing under Ventura, a hardware problem with connecting the drive via USB (would Thunderbolt be more reliable?) or if an external USB SSD drive would work better. Both the Mac Mini and the USB enclosure have been returned for refunds, as I won't have time to look at the problem in enough depth before the returns window expires on Wednesday.

Based on what I have discovered a Mac Mini with a big enough SSD should be reliable enough. However I need a minimum of 4TB and that would be close to full before I even start producing more work. Only the top of the range Mac Mini comes with SSD options over 2TB, and the 8TB version would be almost £4k which is more than 4 times what my home-brew solution would have cost had it worked.

I'd much rather have the data on a separate drive(s) as it would allow me more options should the Mac itself have problems. This is how I've had all my Mac Servers set up over the last 25+ years, and all have worked perfectly with this configuration.

I may revisit this later in the year, but I'll probably be looking at SSD drives in an external Thunderbolt enclosure.
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by kg23 »

I also have this problem! I moved from a 2012 Mac Mini (Mojave) to a M2 Mac Mini. I have another 2012 Mac mini that only sees the M2 as a "?" in the networking views (Sidebar and Command-K "Connect to server"). Initially my 2012 Mini could see, but not connect to the M2. After tons of DNS cache flush, toggling filesharing, and rebooting, they now can both see and share each other. But the "?" persists.

I think it's a Ventura bug
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by kg23 »

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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by BigRedX »

My problem was the other way around. The server was running Ventura and the client Macs older versions of Mac OS.

As I said in my previous post I suspect my problem was down to the external USB drive going to sleep despite being set to not sleep in the system preferences. I won't be revisiting this until I can afford to fill a Thunderbolt enclosure with SSDs
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by Essex Boi »

If you need something only for shared files and as a music server, wouldn’t a NAS solution deliver everything you need? Synology make something for every budget. £1k budget will easily get you 8TB of storage, with the added bonus of RAID.
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by BigRedX »

Unless NAS has improved dramatically over the last 10 years, it is too slow and unreliable for my main use which is sharing large files for graphic design between 2-3 users.

The last time I encountered a NAS unit for this use was at a small advertising agency that I used to freelance for. Despite being a very expensive unit and supposedly optimised for their type of use, network access for multiple users was painfully slow and often you'd end up having to save your work onto the desktop of the client machine which is not good for the work flow and keeping track of the various versions of the project files. IIRC the agency stuck with this system for less than 3 months after which it was returned to the vendor and replaced with an Intel Mac Mini and an external RAID, which cost a bit more, but functioned far more reliably and more importantly exactly how they wanted it to.

Also having an actual computer to do the file sharing means that you can delegate all the "house-keeping" tasks, such as local and remote backup, to it rather than having these processes take up processing power on the client machine, and increasing network traffic.

Interestingly I have discovered that file sharing using a Mac running full Mac OS server is only marginally slower than accessing the data from the internal drive of the client Mac to the extent where it is only really noticeable on huge Photoshop and Illustrator files.
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Re: Mac OS Ventura File Sharing Problems

Post by Essex Boi »

I’m not a tech wizard so I don’t know if a NAS is viable. I wrongly assumed from your original post that you’re requirements were quite modest - itunes server, 8TB of storage and file sharing.

From experience I can say that (the right) NAS should be able to cope. I’ve used a NAS solution for central storage and backup for more than twenty years. Currently a Synology NAS. It copes with 3-4 simultaneous users all doing something different - streaming music and video, time machine backups, saving and recalling audio (that’ll be me), etc. With a quad core processor, 16gb of Ram and a sensible mix of HDD and SSD, it’s quick enough for my needs. Yes, retrieval is not as quick as with local storage (especially compared to the latest NVMe SSDs) but it’s not so slow as to be annoying.

Admittedly this is in a predominantly domestic setting, rather than a graphic design business and file sizes are nothing like you’re working on. Only you’ll know what works for you but I wouldn’t write off NAS, especially when it’s robust, cost effective and scalable. That last point is becoming increasingly relevant with the latest Macs.
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