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PC OSes unable to see AirDisk on Airport-based network

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Dork Of Nerky    0

NOTE: I had originally started writing this topic in the search for assistance, but as I undercovered a solution to each issue, I felt I would share my troubleshooting experience with others just in case someone had similar issues. It's a bit of a long read. I'm not saying this is the answer to everyone's problem, but can hopefully put people in a useful direction.

After bothering the Neowin community for the last week or two, I am SO close to finishing up the start of my experiment to use one of four different operating systems every other day to get use to each one again. But one problem stands in my way.

Network Setup

As this time, My network is set up as such:


With the current set up, I have bridged my Airport Extreme to my Airport Express using WDS so that I can access the rest of the network seamlessly.


Thanks to Bonjour, all Macs on the network can see the AirDisk (Drobo HD) connected to the Airport Extreme without any issues. Sadly, the PC-based OSes (XP, Vista, Ubuntu) don't think it exists.


Windows Vista

I know for sure that Windows can see the router, which the AirDisk is connected to, so we know that's not the issue. To be sure, I pinged the IP Address with no issues. When attempting to ping the hostname (wm-ae-wireless or wm-ae-wireless.local), hostname cannot be found. Bonjour is installed on the computer and iTunes can see the Shared Library on the Mac mini downstairs. To troubleshoot...

- Uninstalled Bonjour for Windows 1.0.4

- Restarted Computer

- Launched iTunes to see if Shared Libraries were still discovered (which they were)

- Verified that Bonjour Service was not installed or running (via Services and Task Manager)

- Installed Airport Utility and Bonjour for Windows from the Airport Express CD

- Installed latest version of Airport Utility from Apple Software Update

The AirDisk Utility allows for the computer to automatically find and connect to the AirDisk, which is great for Windows, but doesn't resolve the issue for Ubuntu. Just to see what happens, I connected to the AirDisk using this utility: successful connection.

And this may be what went wrong. When mapped to the Z: Drive, the hostname shows up as wm-ae-wirelesss (with three S's instead of two). Could this be the problem? Let's find out.

Windows XP

XP still refused to see the AirDisk in My Network Places, even though we were on the same workgroup. Using the information from earlier, though, I successfully pinged wm-ae-wirelesss (with the extra "S"). I then was able to manually map the path \\wm-ae-wirelesss\Drobo HD without any issues. Success! Turns out that I'm unable to connect to the AirDisk because the Airport Extreme is adding an additional "S" to the hostname. Just one last OS and we can call it a day.


I restarted into Ubuntu to see if I could see the shared files. I first starting by pinging the Router's IP Address (OK), and then pinged the hostnames wm-ae-wirelesss (nothing) and wm-ae-wirelesss.local (OK).

I then attempted to connect to the share via the hostname using several methods:

- Clicked Places -> Connect to Server...

-- Selected Windows Share as Server Type, entered wm-ae-wirelesss.local as the Server, and clicked Connect.

-- Returns error that No Application is Registered to handle the file type.

- Open Network in File Browser

-- Manually typed in smb://wm-ae-wirelesss.local/ and pressed Enter

-- Nothing happens (no errors, no items listed)

-- Manually typed in smb://<router ip address>/ and pressed Enter

-- Nothing happens again (no errors, no items listed)

So, Ubuntu is having issues connecting still. At this point, I am unsure as to why exactly. So, it's off to the Interwebs to figure out what's going on.

From what I can see, I'm definitely not the only one with this issue. From what I can gather, a LOT of different Linux Distros dropped Samba support. Well, I shouldn't say dropped support, but no longer included the file system (sambafs) by default. With this knowledge, I headed over to the Synaptics Package Manager to look for anything Samba related.

After doing a search for the word "Samba", I was able to see that the Samba Client (smbclient) was installed, but not the Samba/CIFS File System (smbfs). The smbfs package is still support by Ubuntu, just not installed, as stated earlier. I attempted to install the package from my nearest repository (University of Texas), but the package could not be found. Well, that's not very comforting. I closed out the Manager and switch repositories back to the Main Server. After reloading the package list, I was able to choose the smbfs package, which required upgrading the samba-common and smbclient packages as well. I cross my fingers, hope for the best, and start the install.

The install process appeared to go smoothly, but immediately after, the Update Manager informed me there were 9 zillion other updates that needed to be installed as well. I choose to install the updates and once again, wait.

After one more restart, I can proclaim that ... ... didn't do a darn thing to help. Back to searching. From more documentation, it seems that Ubuntu wants users to use CIFS instead of SMB to connect to shares nowadays. This still required the smbfs package to be installed, so that's one step out of the way.

Sadly, it seems the only want to mount Windows shares currently is with the command line. Thankfully, the Ubuntu Help Wiki has an excellent tutorial on how to get this set up. It took me a few tries (due to a space being in the AirDisk's name), but I got it to work. Not a very ideal situation, but it works, so I'm happy with that. You can find the tutorial here:


First off, when Steve Jobs proclaimed that Macs "just work", he meant it. It took a LOT of fooling around to get things working the way they needed to, but it's worth it. But it still leaves one question unanswered: why did the Airport Extreme add the additional "s" to the hostname? How come one little "s" caused so much trouble?? At this point, I don't really care anymore.

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Hell-In-A-Handbasket    277

i just type the IP of the router into Windows Explorer, authenticate to be able to access the Disk, and it shows up as a share, if you want after that you can map the drive

should be the same in *nix also by typing the ipaddy into the file browser

i dont have the Airport tools installed

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Dork Of Nerky    0
i just type the IP of the router into Windows Explorer, authenticate to be able to access the Disk, and it shows up as a share, if you want after that you can map the drive

That would definitely be that easier route, eh? :)

What's really funny (or just downright annoying) is that after restarting the AirPort Extreme for an unrelated issue, I could access the AirDisk at the proper name (wm-ae-wireless.local). I think Apple was wanting me to suffer for their entertainment.

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