Macintosh computers can be used as file servers for Windows computers, but several steps should be taken to ensure that the process works smoothly. The most common causes for error are neglecting to turn on Windows file sharing, and not setting up proper permissions for authorised users.
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Open the Sharing preference pane on the Macintosh that is being used to share files. Ensure that "File Sharing" is checked on the left-hand side, and click on the words "File Sharing" to select it.
Click the "Options" button, and ensure that the checkbox for "Share files and folders using SMB (Windows)" is checked. Turn on the user accounts used to access Windows file sharing, then click "Done."
Select the folders you wish to share to the Windows computer under "Shared folders." Click the "+" button under "Shared Folders" to add a folder not already in the list. If the user account on the Windows computer is not listed under "Users," click the "+" button under "Users" and add this user to the list. Select "Read & Write," or "Read Only," from the right-side options as appropriate for what permissions you wish to have on the Windows computer.
Connect from your Windows computer to the Macintosh. If you are still unable to connect, confirm that you are using the correct password if it is stored on your Windows machine.
Tips and warnings
- Consider using Guest sharing if you are still unable to connect to your Macintosh. Guest sharing is turned on by selecting the "Everyone" user, and setting permissions to "Read & Write" or "Read Only." This will provide access to anyone who can reach your Macintosh over the local network (and possibly the Internet, if that has already been set up in your router). However, this is a useful workaround when fetching files quickly, and a network problem is interfering with password access. Turn guest access off immediately after you are finished using it.
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