This Guy Logged Putty to a Network Share and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

It turns out that logging putty sessions to a network share is, or can be a bad idea. I learned this after getting a new laptop at a new job. I had several workstations and wanted to log all of my putty sessions to the same folder – I figured this would help with troubleshooting at some point down the line. What I didn’t realize was that this would cripple me for a few days as I worked and tried to figure out why my sessions were so slow.

It didn’t help that I had just bought a sketchy USB-to-serial cable and was questioning the drivers I had installed. Putty sessions would often hang before I could even login to a device. How frustrating! I realized that when I was connected to a wireless network I had the most issues – using a wired connection was typically no trouble at all. At some point in troubleshooting almost any strange issue, I turn to Wireshark. Wireshark can be a great tool when you have a defined problem scope, which I didn’t quite have here – but I was on the verge of something.

I saw a lot of chatty SMB traffic going back and forth between my laptop and a file server. The destination folder matched my putty log folder. Suddenly it hit me – the added latency of a wireless connection combined with the chatty nature of the SMB traffic caused all of the ssh sessions from my laptop to be mostly unusable. So obvious and clear, why hadn’t I thought of it sooner? As soon as I changed the logging path to a local drive, my sessions sped up dramatically.

This is a strange problem that I suspect won’t help anyone specifically – but I do hope it’s at least mildly interesting.

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