- 13.4. Networking with Windows
Microsoft Windows may dominate the corporate market, but there are Macs in the offices
of America. Mac OS X represents a historic moment in Mac-Windows relations: It lets
Macs and Windows PCs see each other on the network, with no special software (or
In fact, you can go in either direction. Your Mac can see shared folders on the Windows
PCs, and a Windows PC can see shared folders on your Mac.
It goes like this:
13.4.1. Seated at the Mac, Seeing the PC
Suppose you have a Windows PC and a Mac on the same wired or wireless network.
Here's how you get the Mac and PC chatting:
1. On your Windows PC, share some files.
This isn't really a book about Windows networking (thank heaven), but here are
Just as on the Mac, there are two ways to share files in Windows. One of them is
super-simple: You just copy the files you want to share into a central, fully
accessible folder. No passwords, accounts, or other steps are required.
In Windows XP, that special folder is the Shared Documents folder, which you
can find by choosing Start My Computer. Share it on the network as shown in
Figure 13-13, top.
In Windows Vista, it's the Public folder, which appears in the Navigation pane of
every Explorer window. (In Vista, there's one Public folder for the whole
computer, not one per account holder.)
The second, more complicated method is the "share any folder" method, just as in
Leopard. Ingeneral, you right-click the folder you want to share, choose Properties
from the shortcut menu, click the Sharing tab, and turn on "Share this folder on the
network" (Figure 13-13, top). Repeat for any other folders you want to make
available to your Mac.
2. On the Mac, open any Finder window.
- The shared PCs may appear as individual computer names in the Sidebar, or you
may have to click the All icon to see the icons of their workgroups (network
clusters — an effect shown on Section 13.3). Unless you or a network
administrator changed it, the workgroup name is probably MSHOME or
WORKGROUP. Double-click the workgroup name you want.
Tip: You can also access the shared PC via the Connect to Server command, as
described on Section 13.3.2. You could type into it smb://192.168.1.103 (or
whatever the PC's IP address is) and hit Return —and then skip to step 5. In fact,
using the Connect to Server method often works when the Sidebar method doesn't.
Figure 13-13. Top: To share a folder in Windows XP, right-click it, choose
Properties, and then turn on "Share this folder on the network." In the
"Share name" box, type a name for the folder as it will appear on the
network. (No spaces are allowed).
Bottom: Back in the safety of Mac OS X, click the PC's name in the Sidebar.
(If it's part of a workgroup, click All, and then your workgroup name first.
And if you still don't see the PC's name, see the box on Section 13.4.3.)
Next, click the name of the shared computer. If the files you need are in a
Shared Documents or Public folder, no password is required. You see the
contents of the PC's Shared Documents folder or Public folder, as shown
here. Now it's just like file sharing with another Mac.
If you want access to any other shared folder, click Connect As, and see
Now the names of the individual PCs on the network appear in your Finder
3. Double-click the name of the computer you want.
If you're using one of the simple file-sharing methods on the PC, as described
above, that's all there is to it. The contents of the Shared Documents or Public
folder now appear on your Mac screen. You can work with them just as you would
your own files.
If you're not using one of those simple methods, and you want access to individual
shared folders, read on.
- Note: In Windows XP Pro, the next step won't work unless you turn off Simple
File Sharing. To do that, choose Tools Folder Options in any Explorer
window. Click the View tab and turn off "Use simple file sharing."
4. Click Connect As.
This button appears in the top right corner of the Finder window; you can see it at
bottom in Figure 13-13, bottom.
Figure 13-14. Top: The PC wants to make sure that you're authorized to visit
it. If the terminology here seems a bit geeky by Apple standards, no wonder—
this is Microsoft Windows' lingo you're seeing, not Apple's. Fortunately, you
see this box only the very first time you access a certain Windows folder or
disk; after that, you see only the box shown below.
Bottom: Here, you see a list of shared folders on the PC. Choose the one you
want to connect to, and then click OK. Like magic, the Windows folder shows
up on your Mac screen, ready to use!
Now you' re asked for your name and password (Figure 13-14, top).
5. Enter the name and password for your account on the PC, and then click OK..
At long last, the contents of the shared folder on the Windows machine appear in
your Finder window, just as though you'd tapped into another Mac (Figure 13-14,
bottom). The icon of the shared folder appears on your desktop, too, and an Eject
button appears next to the PC's name in your Sidebar.
From here, it's a simple matter to drag files between the machines, open Word
documents on the PC using Word for the Mac, and so on—exactly like you're
hooked into another Mac.
13.4.2. Seated at the PC, Seeing the Mac
Cross-platformers, rejoice: Mac OS X lets you share files in both directions. Not only can
your Mac see other PCs on the network, but they can see the Mac, too.
- On the Mac, choose System Preferences. Click Sharing, click File Sharing
(make sure File Sharing is turned on), and then click Options to open the dialog box
shown in Figure 13-15.
Your mission now is to turn on "Share files and folders using SMB." Although Apple
can't bring itself to use the term Windows in this dialog box, that's what it means by
Below that checkbox, you see a list of all the accounts on your Mac. Turn on the
checkboxes to specify which Mac user accounts you want to be able to access. You must
type in each person's password, too. Click Done to return to the System Preferences pane.
Figure 13-15. Prepare your Mac for visitation by the Windows PC. It won't hurt a
bit. The system-wide On switch for invasion from Windows is the third checkbox
here, in the System Preferences Sharing File Sharing Options box.
Next, turn on the individual accounts whose icons you'll want to show up on the PC.
Enter their account passwords, too. Click Done when you're done.
Before you close System Preferences, study the line near the middle of the window,
where it says: "Other users can access your computer at afp://MacBook-Pro" (or
whatever your computer's name is). You'll need this name shortly, although not the
Now, on Windows XP, open My Network Places; in Windows Vista, choose Start
Network. If you've sacrificed the proper animals to the networking gods, your Mac's icon
should appear by itself in the network window, as shown in Figure 13-16, top.
Note: If you don't see your Mac here, proceed immediately to the box on the facing page.
Double-click the Mac's icon. Public-folder stuff is available immediately. Otherwise, you
have to sign in with your Mac account name and password; Figure 13-16, middle, has the
Figure 13-16. Top: Double-click the icon of the Mac you want to visit from your
Windows machine (Vista is shown here).
- Middle: Type your Mac's name in all capitals (or its IP address), then a backslash,
and then your Mac account short name. (You can find out your Mac's name on the
Sharing pane of System Preferences.)
Enter your Mac account's password, too. Turn on "Remember my password" if you
plan to do this again someday. Click OK.
Bottom: Here's your Mac Home folder —in Windows! Open it up to find all your
In the final window, you see your actual Home folder —on a Windows PC! You're ready
to open its files, copy them back and forth, or whatever (Figure 13-16, bottom).
If your Mac's icon doesn't appear, and you've read the box below, wait a minute or two.
Try restarting the PC. In Windows XP, try clicking "Microsoft Windows Network" or
"View workgroup computers" in the task pane.
If your Mac still doesn't show up, you'll have to add it the hard way. In the address bar of
any Windows window, type \\macbook-pro\chris (but substitute your Mac's actual
computer name and your short account name), taking care to use backslashes, not normal
/ slashes. You can also type your Mac's IP address in place of its computer name.
In the future, you won't have to do so much burrowing; your Mac's icon should appear
automatically in the My Network Places or Network window.
13.4.3. More Mac-Windows Connections
The direct Mac-to-Windows file-sharing feature of Mac OS X is by far the easiest way to
access each other's files. But it's not the only way. Here are a few more possibilities (not
including disks, flash drives, and other removable gadgets):
• iDisk. If you have a .Mac account, the iDisk is a brilliantly simple way to transfer
files —even those that are too big to email —between Macs and PCs. Details on
GEM IN THE ROUGH
When Macs and PCs Don't See Each Other
If your Mac's icon doesn't show up on the PC at all, or vice versa, it's probably
because the Mac doesn't know anything about Windows workgroups. And even
- a lowly home PC is part of a workgroup (a corporate cluster), whether it knows
it or not. And until your Mac is part of that very tiny club, it won't be able to see
your PCs, and they won't be able to see it.
So if you're having no luck with this whole Mac-PC thing, try this. Open System
Preferences. Click Network. Click whatever connection you're on right now
(like AirPort or Ethernet). Click Advanced. Click WINS.
Now you see the peculiar set of controls shown here. The Workgroup pop-up
menu already lists the workgroups that your Mac sees. Choose "workgroup"
from the pop-up menu. Click OK, and then click Apply.
And marvel as your Win-dows PCs' names show up in the Sidebar, where they
(Of course, your work-group name might not be "workgroup," but that and
mshome are the two most common Windows home-network workgroup names.)
• Web Serving. Mac OS X's built-in Apache software turns your Mac into a living
Web site. And the beauty of the Web, of course, is that it doesn't care what kind of
computer you're using. The contents of the Web site are dished up exactly the
same way to Macs, Windows machines, Unix machines, and so on.
All of this provides a great way to distribute files to other people on the network
— even people who are using less enlightened operating systems. You can simply
list files for distribution on a simple Web page, to which other people on the
network can connect.
Chapter 22 offers the full details of setting up such a system —but in the context
of making your Mac available to anyone on the Internet. The point to note here is
that other people on your office network can access your Mac in exactly the same
way, just by typing http://192.168.1.5/~chris/ (that is, your IP address followed by
~ and your short account name) into the address bar of their Web browsers.
• FTP. Think of an FTP server as something like a Web site designed specifically as
a holding tank for files that you want to distribute or accept. Here again, though,
it's worth remembering that you can use the Mac OS X built-in FTP server to
distribute and accept files on your local network, not just over the Internet. The
Windows PC user, using only a Web browser, can download any files in the folder
- that you've set up for such transactions. Chapter 22 has complete details. (And
using an FTP client program —the Windows equivalent of Transmit or
CyberDuck, for example —that person can copy files to and from the folder.)
• Bluetooth. If your Mac and a PC each have Bluetooth adapters, you can share files
between them as though there's no language barrier at all.
Apple's Bluetooth adapter comes with a nondenominational file-exchange program
called Bluetooth File Exchange. Not all Windows Bluetooth adapters come with
such a program. But if this PC's adapter does (3Com's adapters do, for example),
you should be able to shoot files between the machines with the greatest of ease —
and no setup whatsoever. See Section 126.96.36.199.