Leopard & unresponsive file servers

Leopard & unresponsive file servers (or NetAuthAgent: what's it good for? )

Thu, 15 Nov 2007

Under Tiger if you had mounted a file server and it disappeared from the Network (say you were connected from your MacBook to your PowerMac G5, and you put your MacBook to sleep, then when the MacBook woke up the G5 was already turned off) you'd end up with a SPoD and you'd have to wait an eternity for the Finder to let you continue.

But no more! One of the great new features of Leopard is no more timeouts when waiting on disconnected file servers. The Finder spots that this has happened, and prompts you to disconnect the file server, all the while staying responsive, and letting you keep on working on what really matters.

Or so they told us in the list of new features and reasons to upgrade.

Sometimes in the Finder, under Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), clicking on an already connected file server in the sidebar (you know, the ones with the eject symbol next to their name) will end up with no response, and if you wait long enough a SPoD. Trying to do a cmd-k to "Connect to Server" doesn't help, although it does get you to the SPoD a bit quicker. Force Quitting the Finder doesn't help here either.

So you're only choice is to Restart your machine.

Or you can fix it yourself by using the Terminal (or Activity Monitor if you are so inclined).

What I've noticed, is that when this happens a process called NetAuthAgent is usually consuming ≈ 100% CPU.

So, in the Finder, click on your main harddrive (or any other local device in the sidebar), then jump into the terminal and check top.

$ top

You should see the runaway NetAuthAgent process. Something like:

884 NetAuthAge  99.8%  0:55.16   2    73     61 1176K  6948K  3588K   177M

In another Terminal type:

$ kill xxx

where xxx is the PID of the naughty process we want to discipline. Note that you don't normally need sudo.

Or you could also use:

$ killall NetAuthAgent

Now you should be able to go back to the Finder, click on the server in the sidebar to connect, and get on with what you were trying to do.

This community service announcement was bought to you by the letters OS & X and the number 10.5

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