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Sharing Windows Files with a Mac

Let's take a look at how you can share Windows files so that you can browse a PC folder on a Macintosh.

First, make sure that the network connection has networking software installed and enabled:

  1. In Windows, open the Control Panel window.
  2. Double-click Network Connections.
  3. Right-click the icon for the network connection you'll use for sharing. In my example, it's the Wireless Internet Connection.
  4. Choose Properties from the menu that appears.
  5. On the General tab of the Properties dialog box, ensure that the check boxes for Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks are selected, as shown in Figure 1. (If these items don't appear, networking components have not been properly installed and you'll have to install them from your Windows discs.)
  6. Click OK.
    Figure 1

    Figure 1 The General tab of the properties dialog box for a network connection—in this case, a wireless network connection.

Next, enable sharing for the Windows folder:

  1. In Windows, open My Computer and navigate to the folder you want to share. In this example, I want to share a folder named Screenshots where my screenshot software is configured to dump all of the screenshots it creates.
  2. Right-click the folder you want to share and choose Sharing and Security from the menu that appears (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Use the context menu to choose the Sharing and Security command for the folder you want to share.

  3. The Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box for the folder should appear, as shown in Figure 3. Select the "Share this folder on the network" check box. Then enter a network name for the folder in the Share name box. If you want the folder's contents to be modifiable by network users, select the option "Allow network users to change my files." Then click OK.
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 The Sharing tab of the properties dialog box for the folder you want to share.

Now open the folder on your Mac:

  1. If necessary, open a Finder window and display the Sidebar.
  2. Click the Network icon in the Sidebar.
  3. After a moment, some network options should appear in the window (see Figure 4). Double-click the Mshome folder.
  4. Double-click the icon for the computer to which you want to connect.
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 The Network window displays icons for network workgroups and servers.

  5. If an SMB/CIFS File System Authentication dialog box appears (see Figure 5), enter your user ID and password in the Name and Password boxes. You may also want to turn on the "Remember this password in my keychain" option to speed up future connections. Click OK.
    Figure 5

    Figure 5 Enter your account name and password in a dialog box like this.

  6. In the next dialog box (see Figure 6), choose the folder you want to open—the same folder you configured for sharing in the previous steps—and click OK. The folder opens on your Mac so you can access the files, as shown in Figure 7.
    Figure 6

    Figure 6 From the pop-up menu, choose the folder you want to share.

    Figure 7

    Figure 7 The contents of the shared folder appear when you open the folder.

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