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Entries in how-to (1)

Thursday
Apr172014

Connect to Network Shares Automatically at Startup

I've spent the vast majority of my professional life as an IT person. Whether as a help desk person, app developer, sysadmin or manager, I was submersed in the Microsoft world for a lotta years. Add a MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certification to all that tenure and I think I qualify as an expert of that realm. After buying my first Mac in 2006, I quickly realized how I'd cheated myself out of years of computing pleasure by not entering the Apple world sooner. I've grown to love OS X for its stability, ease-of-use and UNIX underpinnings. As owner of an IT service business, I still have to deal with Windows almost daily, but now its something I endure out of necessity. Enjoyment is derived from my Macs.

As a well-versed Windows user, one thing that's always bugged me about OS X is it's lack of a few intuitive network functions I’d come to take for granted in Windows. The one that I had to find a fix for very early on was the absence of a "Reconnect at logon" checkbox when you connect to a shared network folder using the Finder's "Connect to server.." option from its "Go" menu (or CMD + K). I keep all my 300+ movies on a Seagate 4TB NAS (Network Attached Storage) to avoid soaking up over half my iMac's 1TB hard drive. This folder is shared across all my iTunes libraries. iTunes has no problem with this unless I forget to CMD + K before trying to watch one of these movies. OS X does allow me to connect to the "Movies" folder on my NAS when I login by dragging the mounted folder into the "Login Items" list in the System Preferences "Users" pane. When you do it this way, however, every time you log in, a Finder window showing the network share pops up for each share you connect to. It's not the end of the world, but it is annoying, especially if you connect to a few of these. As I added more shares, I wound up with a desktop full of Finder windows every time I logged in.

I eliminated this annoyance by using Automator to create an app to mount network folders, then adding that app to my login items instead of the individual attached folders. Guess what? Now when I log in, my shares are mounted and no Finder windows pop up. Here's the Automator build…

 

Here’s the steps to build it: 

  1. Open Automator (/Applications/Automator) and create a new application.
  2. From the “Files & Folders” section add the action “Get Specified Servers”
  3. Within the Get Specified Servers action click “Add…” and add the path to the network share. (Hint: If you’re unsure of what this is, right-click the connected folder in finder and select “Get Info”  In the Info dialog the path will be displayed in General:, Server:)
  4. Repeat for each share you’d like to connect to.
  5. From the “Files & Folders” section add the action “Connect to Servers”
  6. Save the application. (In this example I named the app “Vaults”)
  7. That’s it. (You’ll notice in the example that I added a couple of extra steps to add a verbal message. That is completely optional and unnecessary. I just like to have a alert telling me that everything is done.)

After this I simply dragged my new “Vaults” app into my list of login items. Now, every time I login, my two NAS shares are automatically connected and I don’t have those pesky Finder windows to close. Simple.