FileSharingWindows

1 Windows File Sharing

As much as some Mac users might not like it, it's a Windows world out there. This page is here to help you share files out to Windows users, as well as access the shares Windows machines might offer you. The information on this page is oriented toward beginner to intermediate users of Mac OS X. If you have a question or comment, please add it to the Q&A section.

Table of Contents

  1. Windows File Sharing
    1. Introduction to Windows Networking
      1. NetBIOS
      2. WINS
    2. Accessing Shares on Windows Machines
      1. Connecting to Windows Shares
      2. Sharing a Folder on Windows 2000 and XP
      3. Sharing a Folder on Windows 95, 98, and Me
    3. Sharing Files With Windows Users
      1. Sharing Home Folders
        1. Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)
        2. Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)
      2. Sharing More Folders With Windows Users
    4. Q & A
    5. Further Reading

1.1 Introduction to Windows Networking

Write Me

1.1.1 NetBIOS

Write Me

1.1.2 WINS

Write Me

1.2 Accessing Shares on Windows Machines

1.2.1 Connecting to Windows Shares

Write Me (How to access a Windows share using the Finder, including both URL and browse methods).

1.2.2 Sharing a Folder on Windows 2000 and XP

Write Me (Instructions on sharing out a folder on a Windows 2000/XP machine)

1.2.3 Sharing a Folder on Windows 95, 98, and Me

Write Me (Instructions on sharing out a folder on a Windows 95/98/Me machine)

1.3 Sharing Files With Windows Users

Sharing files with Windows users is easy with Mac OS X 10.2 or higher. The initial versions of Mac OS X did not include the open-source tool [WWW]Samba, which is what the more recent versions use to implement Windows file sharing. Toward the very bottom of this page you will find a link to an article on Apple's web site which discusses how to install Windows file sharing on versions of Mac OS lower than 10.2. While most users will likely be able to get by with sharing only their Home folders, some might want to share out other folders or volumes. For the former, Mac OS X 10.2 or higher makes the task quite simple. The latter is not as easy to configure, but the information below will help you accomplish the task.

1.3.1 Sharing Home Folders

The easiest files to share on your system are those kept inside your Home folder. Below are instructions on sharing your users' Home folders on various versions of Mac OS X.

1.3.1.1 Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)

Sharing your users' Home folders to Windows users is very easy with Mac OS X 10.3. Start by opening System Preferences -> Sharing -> Services. Select the Windows Sharing service from the list. If the checkbox to the item's left is not checked, place a check in it to start up Windows sharing. You will then see a message below the services box that says "Windows users can access your computer at" and then the SMB address of your Home folder on your Mac. Since all users' Home folders are now shared, you can simply replace your user's short name with that of another user to access the other person's Home folder.

You can access this share from a Windows machine by going to Start -> Run and entering your Mac's SMB address in the space provided. Upon clicking OK, you will be prompted for the username and password of your account on the Mac OS X machine. Once properly authenticated, you will be presented with the contents of your Home folder on your Mac.

1.3.1.2 Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)

To share out a user's Home folder on Mac OS X 10.2, you'll need to first enable the Windows Sharing service by selecting System Preferences -> Sharing -> Services. Select the Windows Sharing service from the list and enable its checkbox to start the service. You will then see a message below the services box that says "Windows users can access your computer at" and then the SMB address of your Home folder on your Mac.

While this has enabled Windows file sharing services, on Jaguar, you must enable each account that you want to have access from Windows. To do this, open System Preferences -> Accounts and select the user you wish to grant access. Click the Edit User button and, if necessary, enter the user's password to modify the account information. At the bottom of the sheet, you will see a checkbox labeled "Allow user to log in from Windows." If this box is checked, exactly that will happen.

Once you have enabled the account's Windows log in and click OK, you'll be able to access the user's Home folder from Windows. On the Windows machine, select Start -> Run and then enter the SMB address of your Mac, making sure that the username at the end of the address is that of the account you want to access. Upon clicking OK, you will be prompted for the username and password of the account on the Mac OS X machine. Once properly authenticated, you will be presented with the contents of the Home folder on your Mac.

1.3.2 Sharing More Folders With Windows Users

In order to share out more than your users' Home folders to Windows machines, you'll need to modify your /etc/smb.conf file and add any desired new shares. While you can share out each drive in your system separately, there's an easier solution. You can simply share out your /Volumes folder, which has links to every volume currently mounted on your machine. This means that even if you later insert a DVD or attach a FireWire hard disk, the new mount will appear in the volumes share, available to Windows users.

To create a new share, first disable Windows Sharing by opening System Preferences -> Sharing -> Services. Once on this preference pane, make sure the Windows Sharing service is unchecked and then close System Preferences. Windows Services should be disabled before you edit the necessary configuration file.

Open up a new Terminal (/Applications/Utilities) window and enter the commands:

 $ sudo cp /etc/smb.conf /etc/smb.conf.back 
 $ sudo pico -w /etc/smb.conf 

This will open up the pico editor, which is a simple text editor. Move down to the very bottom of the file by holding down Ctrl+V. Once there, give yourself a blank line or two and then enter the following text:

 ; Share for all mounted volumes 
 path = /Volumes 
 browseable = yes 
 public = no 
 read only = no 

To save your changes, press Ctrl+O, Enter. Then, exit pico by pressing Ctrl+X. Go ahead and quit out of Terminal. At this point, you've created a backup of your original /etc/smb.conf file and added a new share to your original configuration. Now all you need to do is re-enable Windows Services by opening System Preferences -> Sharing -> Services. Re-check the Windows Sharing service and you're done!

A few caveats:

1.4 Q & A

Please post your questions and answers here:

1.5 Further Reading

On the Web: [WWW]Samba Web Site, [WWW]Mac OS X Hints, [WWW]MacDevCenter, [WWW]Apple

On paper: [WWW]Using Samba, 2nd Ed., [WWW]Samba Unleashed


Copyright (c) 2004 JasonDeraleau.