Windows networking freezes Macs
We work from a Windows 2012 server, connected to our Macs using the SMB protocol. Since upgrading to macOS 10.13.2, our Macs freeze frequently when performing file and folder operations. When this happens the only way out is to force a shutdown with the power button. Is there any way around this?
This is a bug in macOS 10.13.2 that’s fixed in 10.13.3 (released in late January), so the solution is to update. If you can’t, there are other techniques which should reduce the frequency of freezing. Apple suggests preventing macOS from reading .DS_Store file on shares, forcing Finder to gather all metadata first, or disabling directory caching. These are detailed at bit.ly/smbrelief1.
You can also try turning off packet signing, although that reduces security so your network needs to be well-secured. That’s described at bit.ly/smbrelief2. Sometimes file sharing needs to be repaired, as it did after Security Update 2017-001, and that’s explained at bit.ly/smbrelief3.
Other options you might try include switching from SMB to CIFS, although that normally brings a significant performance penalty, or switching from SMB3 to SMB2.
Historically, SMB has broken at some stage during the life cycle of most major releases of macOS. You’ll probably find it helpful to test each macOS update or substantial security patch on a single Mac before upgrading all your systems, in case there are further problems.
High Sierra now uses snapshots on APFS to allow you to revert a Mac to its pre-update state very simply, which could save further problems — see bit.ly/hssnaps for further information on how to do so.
Fine options to control SMB networking with Windows servers require using Terminal; they aren’t exposed in System Preferences.