How to Connect a Mac to a PC on a Local Network

By G.S. Jackson

When building a local network, you probably use a mix of computers, including Windows PCs and Apple Macs. Though OS X and Windows are built quite differently, they can be networked through file sharing services built into each operating system. On Macs, you turn file sharing on in the System Preferences menu. Then, using a Windows computer, you can connect to those shared folders by using the local IP address of the Mac computer.

Step 1

Turn on both the Mac and PC computers, and ensure that they are connected to the network.

Step 2

Click the Apple icon, then "System Preferences" and then "Sharing" on your Mac. The Sharing window appears.

Step 3

Select "File Sharing" from the services pane on the left-hand side of the window.

Step 4

Write down your Mac's IP address. It is located under the "Windows Sharing: On" section of the file sharing window, denoted by "afp:\\" where "" represents your Mac's real IP address.

Step 5

Move to your Windows computer.

Step 6

Press "Ctrl-R" to start the Run dialog.

Step 7

Enter the following text into the Run dialog, where "" represents the Mac IP address you wrote down previously:\\

Step 8

Enter your Mac's username and password when prompted. A window appears listing all shared folders on the Mac.

Tips & Warnings

  • Connecting the other direction is completely different. It is easier to turn on FTP in your Mac's preferences and connect to your Mac with a web browser.
  • When using a firewall, it must be configured to allow the IP address of your Mac to connect. You can test this by trying to connect with your firewall temporarily off.