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Sunday, September 19, 2010

020 - Mac OS X network disk partially seen

This Network disk is connected via USB on an AirPort Extreme (7.4.2 and also the better 7.4.1 (*)). Mac OS X 10.6.4 Snow Leopard (but I have also noticed this on earlier versions). (Not fixed with "Apple Addresses AFP Vulnerability With Security Update 2010-006" in Sept. 2010). Tiger 10.4.11 on iBook G4. Disk connected to AirPort Extreme is via USB, and its a Western Digital WD My Book 1028, formatted as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".

  1. New: follow on 004.6 - Airport Extreme version juggling
  2. I am following this situation after the AirPort Extreme update from 7.4.1 to 7.5.2 in Dec. 2010. I wonder why Apple did such a version quantun leap. 
  3. I am also following the situation after the update of the Snow Leopard version of the AirPort Tool to 5.5.2 in Dec. 2010. This is the client sw that lets me configure the AirPort Extreme. I do not think that an update of it would have any effect on the situation described here, unless by a secondary effect coming from any error imposed by the AirPort Tool doing wrong configuring of the AirPort Extreme and its file server. (On Tiger 10.4.11 the AirPort Tool is 5.4.2, opening for configuration clash on the Airport Extreme. Maybe I should only use the newest version? How does Apple avoid any configuration clash?). Reported to

6Jan11 New: the disk may have been in need of repair. See 004.5 - Time Machine backup on Airport Extreme's USB connected disk
  1. The Network disk was visible and "mountable" in Finder. Disk and contents. Fine!
  2. But when I tried "Save as" from any application I could see the network disk, but not the files and directories
  3. However, during the same "Save as" I could make a New directory and save the file in it, even if I could not see the rest
  4. Running Spotlight on the Network disk showed me the hits, but double-clicking failed to open it, but gave an error message about "broken alias"
  5. At the same Spotlight result window, the file path at the bottom was not shown. I guess that since the alias was wrong, it could not build any path either
Fix (permanent?)

I tried to find a fix on the net, but failed. However, I reasoned that there must be at least two ways to look at the disk, and the system seems to pick the wrong some times. So I tried this (Disclaimer, I have Mac OS X in Norwegian, so the English texts could be wrong):
  1. Open Finder
  2. Go, Connect to server
  3. There were two previous servers in the "Last used servers" list
  4. I copy-pasted both server addresses into a .txt-file, for "backup"
  5. I tried first the one and then the other
  6. The one that removed all the symptoms above I noted
  7. Then I "Emptied" the list of last used servers (command in Finder:Go:Connect to server:look at the list)
  8. Finally I copy-pasted back the one that worked
  9. Now the system has one to look for, and since it's the only reasonable and correct - fine!
  10. I think I have found out that using Go, Connect to server and then use the smb (even if that is the only alternative) seems to work (always?)
It was the "afp://...." that caused my problems, and the "smb://...." that was correct. Please tell me why!

Reported to


When I tried this again the other day, there were still two alternatives. The smb is the (right, top) icon with the three persons, which always works - and the AirPort-type (right, bottom) icon is the afp, which does not work. It's all cabled, the AirPort is not on. When I tried a "Save as", it knew that the afb didn't work - see, it was "grayed out", compare with the larger non grayed out alternatives. (I have garbled my disk names). Please teach me! At least, I now know which to use and which not to!

I can see that the Mac OS X displays boths icons for the same disk! The one in the window and the one in the title in the window are one of each! I am lost. But point 10 above is my rope now.

(8April11) See further down (search for "smb") to find a point about a synchronization problem.

My iTunes library and Time Machine on this network disk

After I had changed to smb (above), then iTunes it could not find the iTunes library. It's on a network disk. To recitfy I pointed it to to the smb disk with the three-person icon. All fine, also after I stopped iTunes and started it again. Same for Time Machine!

Another observation with iTunes. It also seems to use several mount paths to the network disk. I can start iTunes, and it shows almost everything, but it displays an exclamation mark in front of the music. Then, the first time I want to play it, it opens a shared network disk dialogue box. When I type the password, music plays. I doubt that iTunes has temporary files on the machine's disk, because it complains immediately if it can't find any network disk. 

Tiger - no problem!

Observe that I have no problem whatsoever accessing the same network disk from Mac OS X 10.4.7 Tiger. It seems to always pick afp AppleShare protocol, and the icon is always a globe.

Another problem - a directory's contents invisible on Snow Leopard and not on Tiger

I noticed that synching my pictures on the iPhone from a Mac OS X Tiger machine (iTunes 9.x) all of a sudden showed a picture folder on the iPhone (3G, iOS4.1) that was'n on the network disk that I was synching against. It was called ".... orig" or something along that line. They both showed the exact 100 pictures in each folder, one real and one ghost.

I could see the original network disk directory from the Tiger machine, with contents.

Then I moved synching to the Snow Leopard machine, with iTunes 10. I had to point it to the picture folder of folders on the network disk. After synching the particular folder had gone on the iPhone!

I deleted the iTunes picture data base, and thousands of pictures were rebuilt - but that particular folder was still invisible, both from the Snow Leopard machine and iPhone.

I noticed that both the smb and afb mounts from above showed me the picture folder on the network disk - but it was always empty. I checked access rights all over the place but couldn't find anything. I could not move the directory around, with error (-43) because it could not find the files.

But from Tiger I could move it! (Remember all the other folders were visible on both machines, any mount). But I could not delete anything on Tiger, got error (-50). Tried to restart the disk server on the Airport Extreme. Nothing helped.

Until I made a copy of the folder from Tiger. That copy was fully visible also on Snow Leopard. Then I deleted the original from Tiger, which I now was allowed to! Then I renamed the copy back to the original name. 

Then all was visible, and I synched the iPhone from Snow Leopard - and the folder appeared again! 

HW connected: see top of note.

Related problem - iPhone synching picture fails on 3G, not 3GS

I just synched my wife's and my own iPhone. She has a 3GS (iOS 4.2.1) and I have a 3G (also iOS 4.2.1). We have separate picture folders on a network disk, connected to an AirPort Extreme (with 7.4.1, see blog 004, post 5 and 6).

I had created two directories from the iBook running Tiger, one on her sector and one one mine. I synched from a Mac Mini running Snow Leopard. I used iTunes 10.2. All this was done on 6Mar11 with all sw up to date.

The picture folders were visible on the 3GS. But not on mine, even after an iPhone restart. 

I tried an "old trick" by now: from the Mini I duplicated the directiory on my "sector", deleted the original and renamed it back to the same name. Now it worked! Now also I have the "47 Feb 11" album!

I noticed that iTunes reported that it deleted pictures and then synched some after my "duplicate, delete and rename" exercise! It could look like iTunes saw the pictures on the 3G, but the 3G didn't?

I shouldn't create new directories on a network disk used by iTunes on another machine!

Update: an experiment that went fine

I accessed the network disk that iTunes uses from all three machines: the two with Tiger (iBook G4 and lamp iMac) and one Snow Leopard (Mac Mini). I made a directory with one file from each machine. The files were also originally created on those machines from Grab. Then I duplicated the three album directories into three unit directiories, one for each unit: iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPad 2 picture synch directories. After synching - all three album directories were visible on all three units. 

This was with iTunes 10.2.1, and it exposed the rather peculiar behavior to have all units' pictures redone (thousands times three). (Update 1: next day it scaled and synchronized all the pictures again! For both iPhones and iPad. Remember, they do have separate picture directories, and nothing has changed from yesterday. Not even the in-logging to the network drive. (6April11)) (Update 2: I think that since I use a network disk, the unneccessary re-synching came because the same disk was mounted both with smb and afp. See further up in this post. When I removed the afb mount, iTunes again only synched what it should and not all.)  (Update 3: Was this fixed with iTunes 10.2.2? "Resolves an issue which may cause syncing photos with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to take longer than necessary".)

This blurs the previously original point: that the picture directory had to be created from the Snow Leopard machine to be visible on 3G. I observed this again two days ago when I synched with the exact same versions as today. (5April11)


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Øyvind Teig

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