CIFS Manager 1.5a and Android 4.4: Thoughts & Caveats



1. preface Inhalt

Screenshot: CIFS ManagerThis article, written in English as the attentive reader notices (as I hope to help others facing similar issues), addresses thoughts and caveats when mounting CIFS shares on Android 4.4 with CIFS manager.

Screenshot: CIFS manager Gingerbread configurationWhile CIFS manager was working perfectly on Android Gingerbread, ICS and JB, it unfortunately stopped to do so with KitKat. I never changed any settings, but after an upgrade, I’d always get an error toast message „Mounting the share has failed. mount: invalid argument“ and was not able to access the shares. See the image here on the right depicting the working configuration I used to run.

There are some caveats, which I discuss; also, the solution is surprisingly simple.

Update: Because of some emails I received: Your kernel / ROM must support CIFS, either as module or compiled into the kernel. Stock ROMs most likely do not come with this feature, hence, CIFS manager will not work on them.

2. working solution Inhalt

In order to get CIFS manager to work, I found that supplying the unc argument makes all the difference. Note that you need to escape the backslashes; thus, the whole options line looks a bit funny:


Obviously, you can add your own options to the line or change the order of existing ones. Also, if I recall, the UNC option is not documented on the official man pages yet. The whole configuration should look like this:

Screenshot: CIFS manager KitKat configuration

There are two caveats one should know, see the following subsections.

2.1 mount point issue Inhalt

Note that some applications behave strangely with the concept of separated virtual internal / external SD cards. ES File Explorer for instance would always resolve the path to the physical one and never get to access the files. Same goes for the app Mount Manager which mounted the share but the folder on the SD card was empty.

My advice is to avoid mount points on the SD card completely and create them in the /mnt folder. After a system upgrade, they’d need to be recreated since the new system image of your ROM most likely does not have your mount point folders.

2.2 read / write mode Inhalt

The other issue I face is that I’m still not able to open in read/write mode completely. Of course, ls -l reports the 0777 on all files and directories, mount reports the rw option as set, and renaming stuff works. But creating another file by either moving or copying does not. I’m still not sure as to why, logcat has not proven helpful, on both the smb server and the android client.

3. alternatives Inhalt

In my opinion, there are none. As stated, I briefly tested Mount Manager, but this program is so crappily coded (imo) that one shouldn’t bother trying to get it to work. On my devices, as soon as I changed any options, all settings for a given share were either mixed up or lost . I removed it not 10 minutes after installation.

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