Common Internet File System (CIFS)

Common Internet File System (CIFS) is a protocol that lets programs make requests for files and services on remote computers on the Internet.

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Common Internet File System (CIFS) is a protocol that lets programs make requests for files and services on remote computers on the Internet. CIFS uses the client/server programming model. A client program makes a request of a server program (usually in another computer) for access to a file or to pass a message to a program that runs in the server computer. The server takes the requested action and returns a response.

CIFS is a public or open variation of the Server Message Block Protocol developed and used by Microsoft. Like the SMB protocol, CIFS runs at a higher level than and uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocol. CIFS is viewed as a complement to the existing Internet application protocols such as the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

CIFS lets you:

  • Get access to files that are local to the server and read and write to them
  • Share files with other clients using special locks
  • Restore connections automatically in case of network failure
  • Use Unicode file names
This was first published in September 2005

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