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Category Archives: Networking

Sharing files between Mac and Windows Computers

I always wanted to access files in my Windows home network from my Mac (Lion OS).

It was always hard for me to transfer files between my windows machines and my mac, until I recently learned how we can connect Windows From Mac and connect Mac from Windows.

We need to use SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. SMB is a native sharing protocol for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

I am presenting here how I did connect my Windows network and Mac. I am presenting just the pulling (Read from) operation from both Windows and Mac, so that I can explain accessing Windows Files from Mac as well as accessing Mac files from Windows.


0. Prerequisites

You need to have a Mac machine connected to your home network, through modem or router.

Keep your windows machine or your windows network connected to your home network, through modem or router.


1. Access Windows files from Mac

I wanted to get some of the backed up files from my Windows server (\\Orion). So here is what I had to do.

Step 1: Prepare the folder in windows machine for sharing

1. Right click on the folder you want to share with Mac, select Properties.

2. Select the Sharing tab. Under the Sharing tab, under Network File and Folder Sharing group box, you can see the folder name and the sharing status.

Note: In the following screenshot you can see the Backup folder is having Shared as status; initially it would have Unshared as status.

Share Windows Folder

Note: This screenshot is taken in windows server 2008 R2. Look and feel might vary with other Windows operating systems.

3. Click on the Share button and add the user profile with who would have access for the shared folder. Note, this user profile’s credentials (user name and password) should be used in the following steps to connect the windows machine to Mac.

Share With User

Note: This screenshot is taken in windows server 2008 R2. Look and feel might vary with other Windows operating systems.

4. Select Share button on the file sharing window and select OK  on the properties window. Now you are ready to share your folder.

Step 2: Access shared folder from Mac

1. Select Finder in your Mac, to open finder’s default window.

2. Click on Go menu and select Connect to Server…

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 2.08.45 AM

3. This brings us the Connect to Server dialog box. In the Server Address text box, type the address of your computer using one of the following format.



Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 3.15.42 AM

4. Click on Connect button. This would present you a dialog box prompting you to enter the user name and password.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 2.11.30 AM

4. Enter the user name and password. (The user name with which you shared the windows folder).

Note: I have presented my domain name along with the user name. I guess this is not required if you connect to a stand alone windows machine.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 2.11.58 AM

5. Select Connect. Now the finder should present you the content of the folder being shared.

This way I got all my backup files from my windows machine.


2. Access Mac files from Windows

As a preparation for this blog I took screenshots in Mac. But the blog writer (I use Windows Live Writer) is in windows machine. So I had to transport all my screenshot files from Mac to windows. This how I transported them.

Step 1: Enable file sharing

1. Select the Apple menu and select System Preferences… (or select system preference from the dock)

2. Select Sharing under Internet & Wireless group. By default file sharing is turned off in Mac.


3. Click on the Options… button. This would bring up a dialog box as below.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 3.32.59 PM

4. Here select Share files and folders using SMB (Windows) check box.

5. Select the user account for which the file sharing to be enabled. This action might ask you to enter the password as well. Once the account is selected, click the Done button. Ensure that the file sharing is checked in the left hand side of the sharing preference dialog.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 3.38.47 PM

Step 2: Prepare the folder in Mac for sharing

1. Group all the files to be shared in a folder.

2. Right click on the folder and select Get Info. This action opens a Info window of the folder to be shared.

3. In the dialog box, select the Shared folder check box. This action makes the folder shared folder your mac.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 3.40.59 PM

4. We can confirm if the folder has been shared or not, by going back to System preferences and Sharing. You can see the folder being shared listed under shared folders list box.

Screen Shot 2011-10-29 at 3.45.42 PM

Note: Blog Screenshots is the folder I intend to share. Also note that the ip address of the mac system is provided in the same dialog box; this should be while accessing the shared folder from Windows OS.


Step 2: Access shared folder from Windows

Note: Following steps are based on Windows 7.

1. Select Start select Computer.

2. On the left pane right click on Computer and select Add a network location. Alternatively, you can press Alt+F to bring the File menu and select Add a network location.

Add network

3. Click Next on the first page of the wizard. It’s a welcome page for Add network location.

4. In the following screen, select Choose a custom network location and click Next.

5. On the Specify the location of your website page, you can directly provide the ip address in the form of \\Server\SharedFolder; or select Browse button.


6. Selecting browse would bring up a small dialog box Browsing For Folder.


7. Here select the name of the mac machine (In my case I chose MacBookPro-8E10). This would prompt for Mac book’s user name and password. Select the shared folder under the Mac machine and click OK on the browse dialog box.

8. Hit Next on the add network wizard. In the next page, provide your own name for the shared folder or leave it to the default and hit Next.

9. Select Finish on the confirmation page. This would bring you the shared folder under network places of your Windows Explorer.

So, finally doing all these I got my screenshots brought all the way from my mac book pro to the windows system. Here I am completing my blog page.


Connecting a computer to a Domain

Installing a domain name server (DNS) and active directory are the first step in making the work network.

I got the help for configuring the DNS and AD through videos present in my previous blog “DNS Installation & Setup”.

However I didn’t get to connect the client computer to domain that easily.

Microsoft pages guided me to use the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog to get connected to the Domain.

But I ended up with the exception, “Network path was not found”. I found that the reason for this was that I didn’t provide the DNS server’s IP address on the client machine. By following the Step 1 below, I was able to get through it.

After completing the issues, I found that the connecting a computer to a domain is a three step process.


Step 1: Preparing the client to connect to the domain

1. Click on Start button, select Control Panel. Click on Network and Sharing Centre.

2. On the left pane of Network and Sharing Centre, select the Change adapter settings to open Network Connection window.

3. The Network Connection window would contain the network connections configured in the client system.

4. Right click on the Local Area Connection which is actively connected and select Properties.

5. In the network adapter Properties, select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and select Properties.

6. In the Internet Protocol Version 4 properties, select Use the following DNS server addresses.

7. In the Preferred DNS server, provide the IP address of the DNS server. The IP address of the DNS server can be found by executing the ipconfig /all in the server’s command prompt.


8. Select Ok twice to close the dialogs. No need for restart.


Step 2: Change your computer name (Optional)

Its always preferred to change the name of the computer before joining it to the Domain, because the default name of the computer may look a little odd. However this step is optional if we are comfortable with the existing name.

Follow the instructions on the Microsoft’s page, Change your computer name to do this. You would be requested to restart the computer to have the change take place.


Step 3: Connect the client to the Domain

1. Use the Microsoft page Connect your computer to a domain to open up Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box.

2. In the Member of group box, select the Domain and provide the domain name. In my case 8FingerGenie.

3. On selecting Ok, it would ask for the user name and password of the domain. Use the domain server’s Administrator or equivalent credential here. I used the Administrator and its password. Before clicking Ok, ensure that the domain name you have provided is displayed under the password text box, like Domain: 8FingerGenie.

4. Once the credentials are accepted, you would be prompted with a confirmation dialog as below.


5. Clicking Ok here would display another dialog like this. This instructs us to restart the computer.


6. Once the machine is restarted, it is connected to the DNS. We can find the computer’s name added to Active Directory of the AD-DS server. In my case, the new computer’s name is Perseus and I could find that the active directory was displaying that as below.