Share files between Windows and Mac OS X

Share files between Windows and Mac OS X


To share files between any two machines they will need to be on the same network. The easiest way of doing this is connecting both machines to a common hub, switch, or router. A crossover cable can suffice as well, but it isn’t typically recommended as it has many limitations. Once the machines are connected under the same network, you can use either the Mac or the PC as the host.

Using Windows as the host

1. File sharing first needs to be enabled on the Windows machine. This process is different depending on the version of Windows.

  • Windows XP: Go to Control Panel, double click and run through the Network Setup Wizard.
  • Windows Vista: Go to Control Panel, Network and Sharing Center. Expand the File Sharing drop down and click Finally click “Turn on File and Printer Sharing”
  • Windows 7: Go to Control Panel, Network and Sharing Center. Go to Choose Homegroup and Sharing options, Change Advanced Sharing Settings. Finally click “Turn on File and Printer Sharing”.

2. Next, we need to connect to the windows machine from the Mac. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Automatically: Open up a finder window, and on the left pane you will see shared machines under the “Shared” heading. Find the name of the windows machine you wish to share with. Clicking it will bring up a folder view where you can drag and drop files to/from the shared folder.
  • Manually: Select finder, and click Go > Connect to Server (Shortcut for this is Command+K). Type in the prefix smb:// followed by the ip address or hostname of the windows machine. For example: smb:// or smb://MyPC

Using Mac OS X as the host

  1. File sharing first needs to be enabled on the Mac machine. To do this, go to System Preferences, and click on the Sharing category. OSX has a multitude of ways to serve files, but right now we are just concerned with sharing for windows. Click the check box next to “File Sharing”. Then, click the options button, and check the box next to “Share files and folders using SMB (Windows)”
  2. Next, make note of the address (IP or hostname) of the Mac. It will be listed at the top of the sharing window.
  3. Finally, we need to connect to the Mac machine from windows. Go to Start > Run (in Windows XP), or use the Quick Search bar (in Vista/Windows 7), and type in \ followed by the address of the Mac. For example: \ or \MyMac