His priceless Mac-Windows2003-Samba tip : fixing "The alias could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found."-error

Although it’s been a while since I’ve found a method to fixing the issue but a recent post on the students forum ict-blue (which I co-administered during my studies) popped this one of the stack of “tips and tricks”. What issue? The one where you can not connect your Mac to your Windows2003 server shares and get a “The alias could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found.” error message.

The scenario

The scenario goes like this: you have a Windows 2003 server (with AD services) and have made some shares on it. You – evidently – have created some users with access to those shares. When you try to access the files from your Mac you open Finder, hit CMD+K, enter smb://ip-op-your-server and hit connect.

You then get a screen asking for login credentials, you enter them, hit OK and then … you get a “The alias could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found.” error message. 🙁

And now? Google!

After having found myself lost (pun intended) on Google and having read lots of crappy solutions a problem description and solution was found over at Drew McLellan‘s site.

The Problem

In a nutshell, the cause of the problem is the default security policy on Windows 2003 Server being set to always encrypt network connections under all circumstances. Whilst this is fine for most clients (especially Windows clients, understandably), the version of SMB that Panther uses doesn’t support encrypted connections. Apparently this support exists in Samba 3, but not on the version OS X uses. The solution is to change the security policy to use encryption when it’s available and not otherwise.

The fix/solution

  • From Administrative Tools, open Domain Controller Security Settings.
  • Go to Local Policies then Security Options.
  • Scroll down to find the entry Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (always). Set this to Disabled.
  • The only thing left to do is to reload the security policy, as changes don’t otherwise take effect for some time. Open up a command window and type: gpupdate

Hope this one helps you out as much as it helped me out 😉

Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

Join the Conversation


  1. Hmm, this half works. The standard $drivename doesnt work.
    you actually need to make shares…if anyone knows how I can reach the hidden drives, let me know!

  2. @ astute: erm, that’s expected behavior. You cannot reach a share if no shares are made. The default shares are for the SYSTEM user only (if I’m not mistaken). No way you can get in (that’s hacking you know …)

  3. I get this “fix alias” error, but I am trying to share from Samba v3 running on Linux. What is the setting I should change?

  4. This also *partly* works for me. I can establish sharing from the mac but after a few days it fails again. I have to log in to the windows server and re-run gpupdate to re-enable sharing… very annoying personal proof of my wisdom to abandon windows everywhere except where absolutely necessary.

  5. Thank you for this fix, was coming to the end of my tether.

    FYI I’ve just used this to connect a Mac os X 10.4.11 client to the new SBS3003 server I installed.

    The design department thanks you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.