The Mac is back, even while PC sales fall. This means many Mac users today find themselves in mixed platform offices, while Windows switchers may still need to grab some precious files off their old machines. Here's how it's done (no virtualization required).
[ABOVE: I still miss these ads. They were funny.]
Is there anybody in there
You'll need the following information about the Windows PC you want to share files from:
You'll find this information in the System Control panel on the PC.
Once you have this information, you can set your Mac up to access shared folders on your Windows machine. The PC will appear in Finder under the Shared category and you'll be able to browse those shared files as you would those held on any connected drive. You can also set your Mac up to share with Windows PCs.
Nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
Now you connect the Mac to the PC.
If your PC has been set up for Guest access you can use Guest as your username; otherwise, choose Registered User and enter the username and password (if the username has no password, create one in User Accounts on your PC) for the account on the PC. Check the "Remember this password" box and Connect.
Can you show me?
A list of available shared folders on the PC should appear. Select the one(s) you require access to, click OK and these folders should appear on your Mac desktop.
Sharing your Mac with a Windows machine is relatively easy, but does reduce your Mac system's overall security.
The reason you set up a specific account to share with Windows machines is partially to secure your main account, as enabling this for your administrator account makes every file on your Mac accessible -- which you should not do.
A noteworthy alternative for iPad users that will enable some access to files on Windows and Macs: Parallels Access (14-day free trial, $4.99/month). This software lets you access a virtual Windows or Mac desktop, and lets you run apps on your remote machine. It's pretty cool.
I hope this brief guide helps Mac and Windows users work together.
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