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Setting Up Macintosh & Windows File Sharing

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Although she's a Mac fanatic, Maria Langer can't completely abandon PCs; after all, she writes about them. So that she can capture screenshots or create files on her PC and transfer them to her Mac (or vice versa) she enables file sharing in both directions. Follow her straightforward instructions in this article to make all of your computers play nicely.
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I spend my workday surrounded by computers. Although most of them are Macintoshes (which I prefer), the crowd includes one pesky Dell PC. And like any good parent, I prefer my kids—or, in this case, my computers—to share and share alike.

Why Bother?

You may have your own reasons to share files between computers on different operating systems, but just in case you don't, here's my reason. Maybe it'll give you some ideas.

Right now, I'm preparing to start work on my annual revision of a book about a specific Windows software package. Nondisclosure prevents me from telling you which Windows software package this is, but if you know anything about my work, you should be able to figure it out.

Although I do most of my writing on my Dual G5 Macintosh, I run the Windows software I write about on a Dell PC under Windows XP Home Edition. This year, the two computers are connected via a wireless network centered around an AirPort Extreme base station. The network is properly set up; all computers can access the Internet and they all have DHCP-assigned IP addresses in the same 10.0.1.x range.

Here's how I work on my books—and indeed, on articles like this one. I run the software I'm writing about on my "test mule"—in this example, my Dell PC. I use screenshot software to capture images of the screen as I work. I then use my network to move the image files from the PC to my Mac, where I open them in Photoshop, edit them, and save them as images ready for publication.

The goal here is to get the image files from the PC to the Mac. But using the techniques in this article, you can just as easily get files from a Mac to a PC.

Important note: These instructions assume that you have properly installed Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.4, configured each system to enable networking, and set up user accounts. If you haven't done these things, consult your computer's onscreen help or other documentation to complete these steps before you proceed.

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