5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 8, 2010 8:39 PM by R C-R
R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (14,930 points)
This may not be restricted to Snow Leopard but it does seem to be a setup issue so this seems to be as good a place to ask as any…

I was trying to help another user with an issue with the Snow Leopard Remote Install utility & stumbled on a related issue when trying to use the "DVD or CD Sharing" option in System Preferences > Sharing.

Basically, the issue is it doesn't work, or at least not as the documentation says it should. For example, http://manuals.info.apple.com/enUS/Snow_Leopard_InstallationInstructions.pdf says on page 3 that one should see on the remote Mac a Remote Disc under Devices in Finder window sidebars. The Snow Leopard help topic "Using another computer’s DVD or CD drive" says the same thing.

However, no matter what I do, no "Remote Disc" (or anything like the DVD's title) shows up in Finder's Devices or any other sidebar category. My software is up to date, the sidebar prefs are set to show everything possible, etc. I've tried wired & wireless connections between my iMacs & MacBook, including a direct Ethernet connection between two of them. No joy with any of them. For the record, File Sharing, Remote Management, etc. all work fine, so this doesn't seem to be a network issue. Plus, if I put a commercial DVD movie in say the iMac & launch DVD Player on the MacBook, I can play the movie by going to the File > Open DVD Media menu item, which shows the DVD in the Open dialog if I navigate to the iMac in the Shared section of the open window, so in this sense ony, DVD sharing does work.l

I found something related here, but it discusses a Firewall issue that I do not have: for me the "DVD or CD Sharing" option in System Preferences > Sharing is marked green & Firewall on or off has no effect. I even tried the suggested defaults write commands in Enable mounting of remote CD/DVDs on any Mac - Mac OS X Hints but that also had no effect.

So I would like to know if anyone does get the "Remote Disc" item in Finder's sidebar Devices category & if so, if it works.

2008 iMacs: 24"/3.06 GHz + 20"/2.66 GHz; White MacBook/2.4 GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Kensington Trackball; Airport Extreme 802.11n; assorted iPods and older Macs
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (14,930 points)
    OK, this will drive me crazy! Not long after my first post, I brought Finder to the front to check something for a reply to another topic. Amazingly, I noticed the "Remote Disc" item had appeared in the sidebar. It definitely was not there when I was composing my first post here, & I did not log out or restart since then.

    I did some experimentation & to make a long story short, the two defaults write commands mentioned in the Mac OS X Hints article seem to do the trick. Apparently (I think) once they create the com.apple.NetworkBrowser.plist file (which didn't exist beforehand), the OS or Finder eventually notices it & the Remote Disc item appears. The article suggests restarting; some related comments at the Mac Rumors site the article links to suggests just relaunching the Finder should do this. I tried the Finder relaunch but that didn't do it for me. I also tried rebooting the iMac I'm sitting in front of before I wrote my first post, & that didn't do it either. Just waiting (I guess) did.

    But where it gets weird is I created the com.apple.NetworkBrowser.plist file on my two other Macs & restarting did enable the Remote Disk item. So did logging out & back into the account. (Note that this plist is created in the ~/Library/Preferences folder, so it needs to done by each user. This gave me the opportunity to try both methods on the same Mac.)

    I'm still trying to sort this all out but I know this much so far:

    1. Obviously, the "DVD or CD Sharing" option does need to be enabled on the source (server) computer for this to work at all. It doesn't matter one way or the other if it is enabled on the client Mac.
    2. On the client Mac, this is a per user setting. IOW, if you don't use the defaults write command to create the plist file in a user's ~/Library/Preferences folder, that user won't see the "Remote Disc" item in Finder.
    3. It works with both wired & wireless networks, although much more sluggishly on even 802.11n ones with the latest Airport base station. It is reasonably fast on a 1000baseT Ethernet network, although you may have to wait for the DVD to spin up.
    4. A client request will wake a sleeping MacBook server if connected by Ethernet but not (at least for my 2008 MB) if the connection is Airport.
    5. For whatever reason, just turning on "DVD or CD Sharing" does not work as the documentation says it should, but by adding the plist file it does.

    Or at least so I think. I would still like to know if anyone (besides MB Air users) has this working without adding the plist via Terminal.

    Thanks!
  • Andi Stancu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    When I did the upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard I used an optical drive thru network. Even thos both computers had "CD & DVD Sharing" enabled I couldn't see the remote drive. However I did some googling and I found 2 lines which I copy/pasted in Terminal and there it was, the remote optical drive was enabled.

    It wasn't how I would like it to be tho. I would rather create a link to a specific optical drive and make it so when I insert a disk into the drive it will popup on my computer like I would insert it in my optical drive. But no, the Remote Disk remained in my sidebar and when I click it it shows me all the network computers and I choose to mount or not a network drive.

    Later Edit: I see you too found the two command lines.

    Anyway the line were:
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (14,930 points)
    1. Are you saying that the Terminal commands allowed you to use the Remote Install Mac OS X app to get one Mac to show the Snow Leopard DVD inserted into another Mac's optical drive when the first was restarted up with the Option key held down?

    I still can't get that to work, with or without adding the plist file to all the Macs involved.

    2. I don't think the "Remote Disc" Finder item should (or probably can) make a remotely inserted DVD act like a locally inserted one. In this respect, it is just like any other item that shows up in Finder's devices list: it is a top level link to what it "contains." For it that could be any number of optical discs mounted on different network-connected computers.

    Imagine how distracting & resource intensive it would be in a network of several computers if the optical discs inserted into all of them kept appearing & disappearing in Finder or Desktop views.
  • Andi Stancu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    1. No, I couldn't make it boot with this feature.
    2. It could have an on/off switch. If I have a MacBook and an iMac, I would very like that when I insert a disk intro the iMac to see it in the MacBook. Maybe without autorun, but to have it already mounted.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (14,930 points)
    Thanks for the confirmation about the boot feature. I had hoped it might somehow help with that but apparently not.

    Regarding remote mounting, that requires a fairly lengthy amount of network activity, which can slow the Finder response down. You may have noticed the spinner appearing for a while in the lower part of the Finder window if you access a remote disc, especially through a wireless network. I suspect that if Apple provided some way to do what you want, users would complain about it bogging down the Finder.

    Of course, you can send Apple feedback about it if it is something you want to see implemented.