Adjust SMB browsing behaviour in macOS

The default settings for browsing network folders such as Server Message Block (SMB) shares are ideal for most organisations and users. However, you can make adjustments to optimise SMB browsing in enterprise environments.

This article is intended for enterprise and education system administrators.

Your Mac determines how each window and its contents should appear by collecting file information, such as labels, tags and other forms of metadata.

If a folder is sorted alphanumerically, the contents are displayed immediately, then the Finder collects and compares the rest of the folder's metadata.

Speed up browsing on network shares

To speed up SMB file browsing, you can prevent macOS from reading .DS_Store files on SMB shares. This makes the Finder only use basic information to immediately display each folder's contents in alphanumeric order. Use this Terminal command:

defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool TRUE

Then log out of your macOS account and log back in.

To re-enable sorting, use this command:

defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool FALSE

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