Mac OS X 10.4: Error -36 alert displays when connecting to a Windows server

Mac OS X 10.4: Error -36 alert displays when connecting to a Samba or Windows server

After upgrading from Mac OS X 10.3.x to Mac OS X 10.4, you may get an error message when you try to connect to a Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server. A Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server includes servers operating on Microsoft Windows and other operating systems that use Samba for SMB/CIFS services.

If the connection is unsuccessful, the following error message may appear:

The Finder cannot complete the operation because some of the data in smb://........ could not be read or written. (Error code -36).

If you check the Console (/Applications/Utilities/), you will also see this error message:

mount_smbfs: session setup phase failed
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This error can occur if your Mac OS X 10.4 client is trying to connect to a Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server that only supports plain text passwords. If you do not see the above message in the Console, you are not experiencing this issue and should try normal troubleshooting

Unlike Mac OS X 10.3, the Mac OS X 10.4 SMB/CIFS client by default only supports encrypted passwords. Most modern Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) servers use encrypted passwords by default, while some Samba servers might have to be reconfigured.

You should consider contacting the owner or system administrator of the Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server to which you are trying to connect and encourage them to disable plain text passwords and start using encrypted ones. If the server cannot be reconfigured to support encrypted passwords, you can configure Mac OS X 10.4 SMB/CIFS client to send plain text passwords.

Warning: If you configure your computer to allow connections to Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) servers using plain text passwords, when you attempt to make any connection to such a Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server, your password will be sent "in the clear". This means that it is possible for someone who is monitoring your connection to see your password. This could lead to someone compromising the Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server. We strongly recommend that you configure your Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) servers to exclusively use encrypted passwords.

Follow the steps below to configure your computer to use plain text passwords to make SMB/CIFS connections when the specified Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) server does not support encrypted passwords. (You must be an administrator to do these steps.)

  1. Make sure that you are not currently connected to any Samba or Windows (SMB/CIFS) servers and that you do not have any Samba or Windows-related error messages open.
  2. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/).
  3. At the prompt, type: sudo pico /etc/nsmb.conf
  4. Press Return.
  5. Enter your password when prompted, then press Return again.
  6. You should see an empty file and a "New File" notice at the bottom of the pico window. If you do not see the "New File" notice, this file already exists.
  7. Enter the following into the file so that it appears as follows:


  8. Save the file (press Control-O), press Return, then exit pico (Control-X).
  9. Type: sudo chmod a+r /etc/nsmb.conf
  10. Press Return.
  11. Restart your computer.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
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