Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharing between Windows and Mac computers, part of Small Office Networking to Connect, Share, and Print.
So far, we've seen how to share files from Windows to Windows, and Mac to Mac, but it's quite possible that you may have a network that includes both types of machines. It turns out that Macs and Windows machines can communicate with each other relatively easily, and there are just a few things you need to do to set them up. On the Mac side of things, I need to go to System Preferences, to Sharing, and select File Sharing. We saw earlier that simply turning on File Sharing makes your Mac instantly visible and accessible to other Macs on the network, but at this point it's still invisible to Windows machines.
So I'll click Options, and in this dialog box, Share files and folders using AFP is checked by default, as it always will be when you start file sharing. Notice that unchecking it turns off file sharing. Notice that File Sharing got unchecked here. So I'll turn that back on. Since I want to share with Windows as well, I need to check Share files and folders using SMB (Windows). SMB, or Samba, is the standard language, or protocol, of Windows file systems. So in order for your Mac to be able to talk to Windows machines, and vice versa, you need to turn on SMB.
Now the thing about connecting from Windows to Mac is you must connect with an existing account. You can't sign on as a guest. So when you turn on Windows Sharing, the next step is to check the usernames you want to allow access from Windows. Now, this can include Share only accounts, which we looked at in the previous movie, so you don't have to create a full-fledged user account for someone on your network just so they can access your Mac. If you need a refresher on how to create a Share Only account, go back and review the previous movie. So in this case, I'll just turn on my own account. It's going to ask me to type in my password for the account to prove it's me, and then I'll click Done.
So now I've turned on Windows File Sharing, and selected at least one user. Now let's switch over to the PC to see how this works. So, here in Windows, I just open an Explorer window, select Network, and my BOOTH-MAC shows up because I shared it, and I just double-click it to connect to it. Because I'm currently signed in to my Windows machine with the same username and password I use on my Mac, it lets me right into the computer. If I were on the different account here on Windows, or if I just used a different password to access my Windows account, I would have been prompted to enter my Mac's username and password. But in this case it let me right in.
But once you're connected, you can access all the hard drives on your Mac, I can get right into my home folder, and I'm free to work with everything in here just as if I were sitting in front of my Mac. So you can see, all I had to do on the Mac side was turn on SMB File Sharing, and it's very easy, then, to connect to my Mac from my Windows machine. Now let's look at things in the other direction. If you want to access a Windows PC from a Mac, you need to check some settings, and find a couple of pieces of information. First click the Start menu, and type sharing. Then select Manage advanced sharing settings. Under your current profile, make sure Turn on network discovery is selected, so you will be able to see this computer from other computers on the network.
Make sure Turn on file and printer sharing is selected as well. If you want people who connect to this computer to be able to get to the public folders, like your public documents, music, movies, and so on, be sure to check Turn on sharing, so anyone with network access can read and write files in the public folders. If you don't want to allow that just turn it off. Now under Password protected sharing you're going to decide whether or not to allow guests, meaning people without accounts on this computer, to connect to it. Turn on password protected sharing to restrict connections to only users who have accounts on this computer.
Turn off password protected sharing to allow guests, who will be able to get into the public folders, but not to any of the user's personal folders. If you made any changes in here, make sure you click Save changes. I didn't make any changes so I'll just click Cancel. So those are sharing settings you should check out. Next, you need to confirm some information. First click the Start menu, and then right- click on Computer, and select Properties. In this window, note the name of your computer. You might want to jot this down. In my case, it's lyndacom-PC. Then go ahead and close this window.
Next, you need to know the name of each of the account usernames you might want to access from your Mac. If you're already logged into one of the accounts you want to access from your Mac, just click the Start button, and you'll see your account name right here at the very top. Just note exactly how the name appears. You can also type user, to go to User Accounts, and then click Manage another account to see all the accounts on your PC. Jot down any of those that you might want to use. So now let's switch back to the Mac and see how this works. On my Mac I should be able to see my PC by going to Go>Network.
I should also be able to find it in the sidebar under Shared, and you can see lyndacom-pc is right here. But it's also been my experience that they sometimes don't show up right away, so that's why I had you note the computer name and user names. With that information, you can connect directly to your PC. Now, because they are showing up in here, I could just double-click to connect, but let me disconnect from that. Again, it's letting me right in, in this case, because I have the same username and password. But in case they didn't show up in the Finder window, you can go to Go>Connect to Server, or press Command+K from the Finder. And now type smb:// followed by the account name you want to access, so in this case, garrick, followed by the @ sign, and then type the name of the computer you jotted down; in this case, lyndacom-pc.
To make this easier to connect to the next time, you can click the plus button to add that as a favorite server, and then click Connect. Depending on the account you're logging in from, from your Mac, if you have the same username and password you use on Windows you will be let right in. Otherwise, you'll have to enter username and password. But here I can see these shared volumes here on my computer. I'll go into Users, for example, and here I can go to my User folder, and here I can get to all the folders in my account on my Windows machine.
For instance, I can go to my Desktop, and here is a Reports folder; I can look inside there. So now I'm logged into my PC through my Mac. It's pretty easy. And I'm free to work with any of these files, or drag them anywhere to my Mac, or copy files to my PC. So if I wanted to copy this file here, I could just drag it to my Desktop, and there it is. Now, when you're done working with your PC, you can click the Eject button next to it in the sidebar to disconnect. Incidentally, if you have trouble connecting to your PC by pressing Command+K and typing in its name like we saw here, you can also just type smb, followed by the local IP address of that computer, which may work better under some circumstances.
So there you have how to share files between Mac and Windows machines.
- Connecting multiple computers together
- Understanding wired connections
- Managing a router
- Administrating a wireless router
- Connecting to a wireless network
- Activating WPA2 encryption
- Address filtering
- Creating a guest network
- Understanding firewalls and port forwarding
- Sharing files over a network
- Screen sharing
- Basic troubleshooting workflow