I have a server running Mac OS X Server 10.6.8, which currently hosts approximately 100 user accounts. These are accessed via home directory sharing on client computers situation all across the office. For the most part, this setup works well. Where each user can log on to any of the many office computers and access all of his personal documents and settings that are fetched from the server using Open Directory home directory sharing.

However, I am experiencing a few issues on various computers that makes me question whether Mac OS X server is the best setup for my office. Sometimes, although the credentials are entered in correctly, the client computer refuses to allow the user to login. When this occurs, a simple restart fixes this issue.

Nonetheless, an additional, related, problem occurs when a user attempts to login, and the server accepts the login. However, when the client logs in, it seems to have trouble loading the home directory from the server. In addition, none of the automatically mounted shares appear on the desktop. This problem continues to persist across reinstalls and updates. Any advice?


Do you have any log file entries for any of your given problems, both from the client and the server side?

Some initial suggestions: I experience the first problem when the clients failed to detect the OD server for whatever reason. If you click multiple times on the client name in the login window (below the large MacOS X string), at some point you will get a hint if network accounts are available or not. If network accounts are not available when the problem occurs, you can search for a reason why the OD server wasn't detected.

Also, about the second problem: Does it appear

  • for the same account on multiple computers?
  • multiple accounts on the same computer?
  • One account on one machine?
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  • It seems to appear for the most part with multiple accounts on the same computer, which would suggest an issue with the computer. However, this one computer has been imaged with the same software as all the other computers in my office, so I'm not sure where the issue may be occurring. Also, although it is for now only occurring on one computer, it has, at times, been known to occur occasionally on other computers as well – ecbtln Jul 18 '11 at 21:25
  • Did you check if the network connection is fine? Broken cable or wall plug or something? Maybe switch computer locations and see if another computer has the same problem at this location. Slow network connections, maybe with many lost packages could have the effect you describe. – Sven Jul 18 '11 at 21:30
  • Network connection shouldn't be an issue, as the computer is wired with a gigabit connection. Any other possible causes? – ecbtln Jul 18 '11 at 21:39
  • I said: Broken cable or something like that. This can lead to an unstable connection where many packets are dropped. – Sven Jul 18 '11 at 21:41
  • @SvenW is right-on for checking whether the client computer thinks network accounts are available. For the second issue, to further his questions about network connectivity, do any of the workstations sleep automatically or get put to sleep by users? We've frequently seen automounts break on sleep (or other network disturbance) and cause similar issues to all of the above. – morgant Jul 18 '11 at 21:42

Is the number of simultanoeus AFP connections unlimited / set high enough? Too many users logging in at the same time could reach the limit.

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  • simultaneous connections are set to unlimited, but doesn't home directory sharing use a more formal protocol? (nfs i believe it is) – ecbtln Jul 19 '11 at 18:25

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