How to Network a Mac and a PC

By Jason Gordon

Like Greeks and Trojans, Capitalists and Communists, cats and dogs, Apple and Mac computers are not meant to be friends. But that doesn't mean they can't be civil and at least talk to each other and share information, especially if you are one of those rare ecumenical types who owns both PCs and Macs. If so, networking the two will make your life a lot easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Ethernet Cable or
  • Wireless Network

Step 1

Turn on both your Mac and PC and connect them both to your network either via Ethernet cable or wireless link.

Step 2

On your Mac, open System Preferences from the Apple menu and select the Sharing Preference pane.

Step 3

Click the "Windows Sharing" button and select the "Start" button to allow sharing. Click on the "Accounts" button. Select the account or accounts you want to share with the PC. Click "Done."

Step 4

Navigate to the Utilities folder and open "Directory Access." Select the SMB/CIFS item and click "Configure." Type in a workgroup name. If your PC is already using a specific name, type in the same one. Usually Windows defaults to "Workgroup" or "MSHOME." Click "Apply."

Step 5

Set up the PC. Go to Start, "Control Panel" and open "Network Connections." Select "Local Area Connection." Write down the IP Address in the Details pane.

Step 6

Share any folder you want the Mac to be able to see by right-clicking on it and selecting "Share." You can also go to the "Network and Sharing Center" in the Control Panel and control file sharing from there. Look for the Mac under "My Network Places."

Step 7

On the Mac, Go to the Finder menu bar and select Go > Connect to Server. Type in "smb//PCipaddress/" in the server address field. For example, you would type "smb://". Enter the workgroup, name, and password you use on your PC to connect.

Tips & Warnings

  • This article is geared toward Macs with OSX or higher and PCs with XP or Vista.