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File Sharing Between Your Mac and PC

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 1/19/2009

Follow these easy steps to share files between a Mac and PC by creating a local network.

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    I have a Macbook Pro, which I carry with me between various jobs and home. At home, I have a Windows machine that I built a few years ago. The Windows machine has 300 GB of harddrive space, so I like to back files up there.

    I could use a thumb drive to move files around, but that gets to be a real hassle when I'm backing up on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. And what if I need access to a file on the PC? Out comes the thumb drive again?

    I could use an external hard drive formatted to FAT32 so both machines could read it. But FAT32 has file size limitations: no file can be larger than 4 GB. Puts a cramp in my video-editing style, that does.

    So whats the solution to file sharing between my Mac and PC? Networking.

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    Setting Up the Network

    This is easy: Just use an Ethernet cable to directly connect the two machines. Presto!

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    File Sharing from PC to Mac

    Create a folder on your PC and set it as a shared folder.

    On the Mac, go to the Finder menu, select Go, and click Connect to Server.

    You should see your PC listed, select it and click Connect.

    Log into your PC using the workgroup name, your username, and password.

    You'll see the share icon, meaning you can open the folder and view files as if it were a local drive.

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    File Sharing from Mac to PC

    There are two ways to share files from a Mac to a PC.

    The first is through Web Sharing.

    To use Web Sharing, go to System Preferences, Sharing, and turn on Web Sharing. To access your files, open up a Web browser like IE or Firefox and type: http://<IPAddressOfYourMac>/~username/

    The second way is through FTP. In the same window, check the FTP Access box.To get to your Mac files via FTP, open the command line in Windows and type: C:\>ftp <IPAddressOfYourMac>

    Your Mac's IP address can be found under System Preferences > Network.

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    In both cases, you'll have access to your home directory, so you can browse files as if you were on your Mac.