How to Share Files between Mac and PC — Leopard and Vista
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May 12, 2009

How to Share Files between Mac and PC — Leopard and Vista

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Macs are becoming more and more prevalent, and there can be times when you need to be able to share files between your Mac and your PC.

As a follow up to my articles on setting up a small home network, let’s talk about sharing files between Leopard and Vista. Today we’ll discuss accessing shared files from the Mac, and from the PC.

Configuring Sharing in Vista

First we need to make sure file sharing is turned on in Vista. To check your settings click Start, type “network and sharing center” and press Enter.

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You should now be at the Network and Sharing Center.

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Make sure you have the File Sharing option turned on.

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Now we need to figure out what folder we want to share or create a new shared folder. Open Computer and browse to where you would like your file share to be. Create a new folder and give it a name.

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Right click on the new folder and select Share.

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That will take you to the File Sharing window. Select the users you want to share with and click Share.

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When you are finished, write down the path to your file share as you will need this so you can access your shared files. In my example the path is \\VISTA64\Windows File Share.

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So now you have a shared folder setup on your PC. Let’s move on to configuring your sharing options in Leopard.

Configuring Sharing in Leopard

Believe it or not, Macs and PCs play together pretty well on the same network. There can be some issues from time to time but for the most part they work pretty well together. Our PC is setup and ready to go, so let’s get the Mac configured for file sharing.

From the Apple menu, click System Preferences

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Then click Sharing

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Check the box to turn on File Sharing. Also take note of the path that it gives to access the files. For this example the path is: afp://192.168.1.111 or browse for “Eric Mac”.

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You can add folders to share by clicking the plus sign under Shared Folders. So let’s create a new folder for sharing. Open Finder, and browse to where you would like the share to be. Create a new folder and give it a name.

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Let’s add the folder to be shared by clicking the plus sign under Shared Folders. Browse to your newly created folder and click Add.

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Now we need to enable SMB for easier file sharing for Windows computers. Click the Options button, and then check the box Share files and folders using SMB. You might be prompted for your password. Close this window when you’re done.

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You can set specific permissions for the folders and for each specific user, but it’s probably easier in a home environment to give the Everyone group read and write access. To do this, click the up and down arrows next to Everyone and select Read & Write.

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Now your Mac should be configured for file sharing.

So what’s next? Let’s work on connecting to our Mac from Vista and vice versa — connecting to our PC from Leopard.

Connecting to a Mac Share from Vista

To connect to our new Mac shared folder we need to click Start → Computer.

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In the address bar type the path to your Mac file share but instead of using afp:// just use \\. For example, my address is afp://192.168.1.111 but I type in: \\192.168.1.111.

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Now you can access the shared folders on your Mac. So how do you access the shared folders on your PC from the Mac?

Connecting to a Windows Share from Leopard

You’re now be able to connect to your Mac share from your Windows PC, so let’s discuss how to access your Windows file shares from your Mac.

In this example I’m using Leopard but the steps should be fairly similar for earlier versions; both operating systems use SMB for file sharing.

From the Go menu click Connect to Server.

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Now we need to refer back to the notes we made when creating the Windows file share. We need to use the path for the share we created earlier or to another shared folder you want to access. For this example the server address is smb://vista64/windows file share. Enter the path to your shared folder and click Connect.

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Now you have successfully connected to your Windows file share from your Mac!

Other Options

There is another option you can use when sharing files between PCs and Macs. You can purchase a network storage device or NAS and set it up on your network for file sharing. Most of these devices are formatted in FAT32 straight out of the box. FAT32 is compatible with both PCs and Macs so that makes it a fairly quick setup.

What other ways can you share files between your PC and your Mac?

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About the Author

(MCP) is an IT Consultant for small businesses and supports a variety of environments. Eric has an Associate Degree in Computer Network Systems and a Bachelors Degree in Information Systems Security from ITT Technical Institute. He has experience in network administration for banks, churches, law firms, and a number of other small businesses. Eric specializes in Windows operating systems maintenance and administration, and has 5 years of experience in the field.


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