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Accessing Mac File Shares From a Windows PC

written by: tanik•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 5/16/2011

Many offices nowadays use a combination of Mac and PCs, to accommodate the need of different users. In this tutorial I will explain how you can access Mac shares from a Window PC when both are connected through a LAN.

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    Configure Your Mac

    Apple knew that people will be needing to use PCs and Macs at the same time so they included an option in the OS (Operating System), which lets us easily access Mac shares from a PC. The procedure of accessing Mac shares from Windows is very easy, and easier than most people might think. It only requires the configuring of a few settings on a Mac and some on the PC, and you are then ready to access Mac shares from your Windows running computer.

    The first thing to do to enable file access from a PC is to enable Windows sharing on your Mac. On your Mac, open System Preferences then find and click on the Sharing icon (You can also open this window from the view menu). When the Sharing windowtick windows sharing mac  opens, in the Services tab, tick the option Windows Sharing. Mac will ask you to enable your Mac account for sharing; at this point click the Enable Accounts button, at the right bottom side of the window, and select the user whose files will be shared. Look at the bottom of the Sharing window for text that reads that Windows users can access the Mac shares at the given location (IP address); and it will look like a normal network address, e.g. \\\macUser. Write down the address and the user name that is followed by the address, as you will need this to access Mac shares from Windows.

    (Image by author)

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    Accessing Mac Shares

    Once you have completed the above-mentioned configurations on your Mac you are ready to start accessing Mac shares from your Windows computer. How will you do it? It is simple. Open RUN (Win key + R), type the address you noted from the Mac and click OK. Your Mac shares will open in a new window from where you can read them, edit or delete as you normally do in Windows. If you find remembering IP address difficult, you can use your Mac's name instead. To see your computer name, open the Sharing window on Mac that you opened before and look for Computer Name. When you enter the Mac name or IP address, Windows will prompt you to enter the user name and password of the Mac user. Enter these details and click OK. Windows will open a window, showing a list of file and folder shares on the remote Mac. If you want you can tell Windows to remember the user name and password by clicking the remember my password tickbox so you will not have to enter these details every time you want to access the Mac shares.

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    The above method allows you to access mac shares from Windows. If you follow the method correctly, you will be able to access the shared files on a Mac without a problem. But remember you might experience connectivity or access issues if your Windows account is limited and your network administrator restricts your PC from connecting to or accessing other computers on the LAN.