Fun with Windows Vista and the Maxtor Shared Storage Drive Sat, Jul 28. 2007
With Windows XP, the Shared Storage drives worked fairly reliably, but after I upgraded my Gateway desktop to Vista Business edition, I found myself unable to connect to the drives I'd mapped to it. Trying to mount them manually, I'd receive a login dialog. The name and password I use from my XP Pro based computer works fine, but on Vista the drive would reject the same credentials.
It took me a while to sit down and dig into the issue, and my first guess was that firmware might fix the problem. The Shared Storage drive predates Vista, so it wasn't a total surprise to me that authentication didn't work. The bundled web interface allows you to login with a browser, and administer the drive, setting up user accounts and mounting and unmounting USB devices you can connect to either of 2 provided USB ports. We have a printer attached.
After logging into the webserver, it displays a menu that includes the Firmware version -- mine was 1.2. A quick search of the Seagate site, and I found Maxtor offering version 2.6.2 firmware! The Advanced Settings | System Maintenance menu | System update menu provided a simple upload and update process that was completed in about 2 minutes. Despite the major point upgrade to the drive bios, I still was unable to login to the drive from Vista. What made this even more confusing is that I somehow had been able to successfully find the unit on the Windows network, authenticate to it and map a drive when I had first done the Vista upgrade. A bit of googling on the problem, and I discovered something surprising about the Maxtor unit I'd never suspected -- it is actually a linux box....
After reading a bit about the unit's internals, I returned to the seagate drive and found a source code .zip for the firmware. A quick scan confirmed my assumptions: the Maxtor Shared Storage (MSS) unit provides its windows client functionality via Samba. If you're reading this and you don't know what Samba is, suffice it to say, its the enabling technology that allows Linux servers to act like Windows NT servers. I also was surprised to find that Maxtor's firmware includes additional software that's disabled: full support in the kernel for NFS! Marketed as a windows only solution, the Shared storage drives were advertised to work with windows 98 to XP clients only, and yet in tantalizing fashion, includes the disabled NFS support that would make the drive mountable to Linux and Mac clients.
While I found the idea of the openmss firmware intriguing, my main interest was to get myself connected from my Vista machine. I had a pretty good idea at this point about what might be happening -- something about Vista authentication is incompatible with the MSS's Samba server. In short order I found a full knowledge base article on how to fix the problem on Seagate's site, which I would have otherwise linked to this article, were it not for the fact that the search engine doesn't provide a direct URL. This sort of thinking mystifies me -- a company takes the time to document its problems in a knowledge base, ostensibly to support customers wh are having issues and save on the costs of tech support calls, then insures that no search engines will be able to index the solution effectively.
It's moved again--- here's the latest Seagate knowledgebase article
As it turns out the culprit here is Vista's increased security profile. Vista comes out of the box wired to only talk NTLMv2 -- a strengthened version of the original NT Lan Manager authentication protocol which was microsoft's original challenge/response mechanism allowing windows clients to authenticate with an NT server. Of course the history of all this stuff goes back to the days of Netbios and Netbeui, and the emergence of TCP/IP. Microsoft's solution to uniting Netbios and TCP/IP goes by the name of SMB. SMB is the protocol that Windows PC's and Windows servers used to communicate with microsoft servers all the way to NT. Aussie Andrew Tridgell used a sniffer to figure out the SMB protocol so he could mount files on his unix server and make them available to his DOS based PC in the early 90's, and this pioneering effort was expanded some years later into the code base now known as Samba. Samba.org has plenty of information for those interested in delving further into the topic.
Once I'd focused in on the authentication issue, it wasn't long before I had the problem solved, running secpol.msc to launch the Vista "Local Security Policy" editor, which provides a simple way to tweak the registry settings that control how Vista operates as a client. One of those settings reconfigures Vista to use the older (and less secure) LM & NTLM protocols.
What needed to be changed was the setting that kept Vista from trying LM or NTLM authentication. That setting has the catchy name of
Network Security: LAN Manager authentication leveland is easily found in the Local Security Policy section.
Setting this from its default of NTLMv2 only to "Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated." did the trick, and Vista was able to connect immediately. Now the bad news is that if you don't have Vista Business or greater, you won't have access to the management app, and instead have to manually edit the registry. Search for the LmCompatibilityLevel key and change it from 3 to 1.
#1 - Erich 2007-08-24 04:00 -
Thanks for this post - I'm having the same problem. Unfortunately I've tried editing the LmCompatibilityLevel key as you described but my Maxtor Shared Storage NAS still won't recognize my user names and passwords. The OS I have is Vista Home Premium so I had to manual edit using regedit. Any other ideas?
#1.1 - David 2007-08-27 19:23 -
Sorry I don't have Home Premium, so there's no way to test it. I'd contact Seagate, as I just repeated what was written in the KB article I found.
#1.1.1 - kevin 2009-08-11 21:48 -
First I like to thanks for a great article. It fixes my problem. However, how do I map the MSS* drive to a letter drive? Also, the Mastor Quick connect software still doesn't authenticate. The only way I can access to the drive is to type \\MSS* in the window 'start search' txt box. Thanks in advance for any insight.
#1.2 - James 2007-10-04 10:51 -
on the logon box if you use the ip address of the box and then the username and then fill in the password you can get access to the box.
ie 192.168.1.105\"username" --password.
#2 - Brett 2007-10-17 10:01 -
The link to the Seagate KB article is: http://seagate.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/seagate.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3606&p_created=1170450275&p_sid=T_UWtoOi&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9zb3J0X2J5PSZwX2dyaWRzb3J0PSZwX3Jvd19jbnQ9MSZwX3Byb2RzPTAmcF9jYXRzPTAmcF9wdj0mcF9jdj0mcF9zZWFyY2hfdHlwZT1hbnN3ZXJzLnNlYXJjaF9ubCZwX3BhZ2U9MSZwX3NlYXJjaF90ZXh0PTM2MDY*&p_li=&p_topview=1
#3 - OgeGOon 2007-11-10 14:17 -
You did a great job here !!! I was looking to solve exactly the same issue...
Unfortunately, I have alo vista premium and Secpol is not available in this version, as mentionned by David...
Mhhh, I will maybe finally decide to upgrade my vista...
#3.1 - OgeGOon 2007-11-10 23:18 -
I have applied the procedure defined for Vista home on the support site of seagate (http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/knowledge_base/ article searched with the keywork "3606" as you mentionned).
And after a reboot, it works fine !!!
I am very glad to have found your post !
Thx again for sharing this information
#4 - mambonova 2008-01-10 02:38 -
This works, but I notice that I can only delete folders in the MSS from the Vista PC only if they are fully empty first. Try to delete any unempty folder and the folder returns (isnnot deleted) after a page refresh. Still searching for an answer!
#5 - Bob Greene 2008-01-19 23:03 -
Many thanks for the post! My wife can now see the Maxstor network drive - home vista.
From my XP machine, I still cannot see her (shared)machine..... Got another tweak?
#6 - Per Agerbæk 2008-03-01 09:55 -
Thank you very much.
Google ranked your post as #1 for "vista connect to shared storage", and for a good reason. Well written, clear and precise.
#7 - Donal Fleming 2008-03-16 21:49 -
I too have a Maxtor device and have been having the same problem. I have Vista Basic and have fixed the issue by changing the registry key (LmCompatibilityLevel) to 1. Great post - thanks for the help!
#8 - Brian 2008-06-02 05:09 -
Thank you so much for this fix mate... You are a life saver!
We have successfully fixed our drive to work with vista! This has helped out a great deal because this drive is the main data storage for the business!
#9 - RPM 2008-08-28 05:23 -
Just adding my name to a growing list of people that found your post extremely valuable after trying to use Vista with my Maxtor Shared Storage Drive.
Many, many thanks!
Another fan of this simple fix for Vista users. Thank you internets search for finding this page!
#11 - Bennie 2010-08-07 22:29 -
Great Article - thank you very much.
I have a different problem. When I attached a new Vista Business PC to my Maxtor Shared Storage drive I attempted to login but as Bennie instead of bennie. Now in the system setup I can see both accounts but can only get to the new one (which has no files). I need to get to the other account but can't seem to find a way. Any ideas?
#12 - Frank 2018-04-01 16:57 -
I have an old Maxtor Shared Storage NAS 300GB model. Currently running FW Ver. 2.6.2 I wanted to update my firmware through openmss.org but it appears they are now defunct. Do you have a link to any of their FW updates? I would like to open up the hidden features you spoke about. Thanks.
#12.1 - David Rolston 2018-04-09 17:57 -
There is a download of the firmware available from https://www.suphammer.net/projects/openmss