AFP Problems with Mac OS X Tiger Update 10.4.11

I recently installed a Synology DS209 NAS in a customer’s site and was very happy with its level of performance and ease of setup.  Using SMB/CIFS I was getting about 40MB/s copying a file from it to my MacBook running Windows 7 under Boot Camp.  That is seriously fast!  My D-Link DNS-323 manages about 12MB/s and a 512GB Apple Time Capsule I’m currently playing with struggles along at about 7MB/s.

Things were a bit slower over AFP which seems to be fairly much to be expected.  One Mac running Leopard was fine, another running Tiger 10.4.5 was also fine.  However, one of the customer’s machines was giving awful trouble.  This old iMac G5 had been updated some time back with 10.4.11.  The shared folders would mount but you could barely use the share for a second before it ground to a halt and the Finder became unresponsive and had to be Relaunched.

I tried everything I could think of… updating firmware on the NAS, changing the network switch, playing with TCP/IP and AppleTalk settings, doing an Archive and Install on the iMac and installing all the updates.  All to no avail.  The other Mac in the company running Tiger was fine, why not this one?  Eventually, after a day of fruitless work it struck me: the Mac that was working fine was on 10.4.5, the troublesome iMac was on 10.4.11.  I did an Archive and Install on the iMac but didn’t install the Mac OS updates… all was fine!  I had to put on 10.4.8 for Illustrator CS3 to work properly but this update didn’t cause any problems.  Whew!

So, in conclusion, I can say that if you have an old iMac G5 running Tiger and you want to have functional AFP performance DO NOT INSTALL 10.4.11.  It will break AFP.  Perhaps it was an update between 10.4.8 and 10.4.11, who knows?  However, when you re-install Apple Update will prompt you to update to 10.4.11.  Don’t do it!

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