Mac OS X to the Max: Networking Mac OS X with Windows Computers

Because support for Windows and Unix file-sharing protocols is built in to Mac OS X, using a Mac on a Windows or Unix network is much easier under Mac OS X than it was under previous versions of the Mac OS.

Sharing Files with Windows Computers

You can use Mac OS X to access files provided on a network via the SMB protocol without doing any additional configuration. To use files provided on a Windows or Unix network that uses SMB, perform the following steps:

  1. Connect your Mac OS X to the Windows or Unix network.

  2. Open the Connect To Server dialog box and click Browse. Depending on the SMB servers on your network and how the network is configured, the SMB servers might or might not appear in the list of available servers when you browse the network, so you might have to enter the server address manually.

  3. If you don't see the SMB server to which you want to connect, enter the address of the server to which you want to connect; the form of the address is smb://ServerName/ShareName/. ServerName is the name of the server to which you are connecting; ServerName can be an IP address or a URL, and ShareName is the name of the item being shared with you, such as a disk or directory.


    To determine the IP address (ServerName) for a Windows machine, open the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig, and press Enter. The IP address of the Windows machine will be shown.

  4. Click Connect. You are prompted to enter your workgroup/domain, username, and password for that server.

  5. Enter the required information and click OK. You are logged in to the shared resource and can use the files it contains just like a Mac that is acting as a file server (see Figure 26.21).

    Figure 26.21. The DDRIVE folder is located on a Windows XP machine on the local network.


Connecting to Windows computers can be problematic depending on the specific network you are using. If the preceding steps don't enable you to connect to a Windows computer, try using the Apple support document located at the following address:

To enable Windows users to access files stored on your Mac, carry out the following steps:

  1. Open the Services tab of the Sharing pane of the System Preferences application.

  2. Select the Windows Sharing service and click Start. The address to which Windows users need to connect is shown at the bottom of the pane. You need to provide this address to the Windows users you want to be able to access the machine.

  3. Create a user account the Windows user can use to access your machine.

  4. Provide the user account, password, and address to the Windows users you want to be able to log in.

A Windows user can use the URL, username, and password you provided to log in to your Mac to share files just like Macs on your network (see Figure 26.22).

Figure 26.22. This Mac OS X folder is being accessed from a Windows XP computer.


    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Life