In the past, Windows administrators often viewed Apple
computers as eccentric systems demanded by a few quirky graphic artists. Often,
Apple computers were deployed and quickly forgotten by admins,
who became frustrated troubleshooting strange occasional anomalies, such as
whenever an AppleTalk configuration failed or file incompatibilities arose.

The first step in optimizing Mac use is ensuring Apple
systems can share resources with Windows systems. In addition to ensuring Mac
users can access resources (including files and printers) on Windows systems,
technology professionals can configure Windows systems to access files and
printers on Macs. Here’s a look at what’s involved.

Sharing Windows resources with Macs

The first step in sharing Windows files and printers with
Macs on peer-to-peer networks involves confirming the Windows workgroup name. To
verify a Windows Vista workgroup name:

  1. On
    the Windows system, press Start.
  2. Right-click
  3. Select
  4. Scroll
    to the Computer Name, Domain And Workgroup
  5. Record
    the workgroup name.

The second step in sharing Windows files and printers with
Macs on workgroups involves confirming Windows systems are configured to share
their resources. To confirm resources are properly shared:

  1. On
    the Windows system, press Start.
  2. Select
  3. Browse
    to those folders you wish to share with Mac users.
  4. Right-click
    the folders you wish to share.
  5. Select
    Share from the pop-up menu that appears.
  6. Indicate
    which user accounts should receive which permission to access the folder.
  7. Press
  8. Press
  9. Press

To share a Windows printer with a Mac:

  1. On
    the Windows system, press Start.
  2. Press
    Control Panel.
  3. Browse
    to the Hardware And Sound section and select Printers
    (or, if using Control Panel’s Classic View, double-click the Printers
  4. Right-click
    the printer you wish to make available to Apple computers.
  5. Select
    the Sharing tab.
  6. Press
    the Change Sharing Options button.
  7. Press
  8. Select
    the Share This Printer checkbox.
  9. Select
    the Security tab.
  10. Specify
    the permissions you wish to provide respective users.
  11. Press

Now that Windows resources (both folders and printers) have
been shared, the third step is to access the resources from the Apple computers.
To access the shared Windows folders and printers from a Mac:

  1. From
    within Mac OS X, open Finder.
  2. Press
  3. Workgroup
    systems that are currently online will appear.
  4. Select
    the system that hosts the resources you wish to access, as shown in Figure A.
  5. Press
    the Connect button.
  6. A
    dialog box will appear listing available shared volumes on the system to
    which you’re connecting. Select the appropriate volume from the provided
    drop-down box and press OK. If prompted, enter a username and password for
    an account possessing permission to access the volume, as shown in Figure B.
  7. The
    volume will then appear as an option within Finder, as shown in Figure C. In addition, a shortcut
    icon to the shared volume is created on the Mac desktop. Mac users can
    then access files within the volume by selecting the volume’s icon and
    browsing its contents.

Figure A

Workgroup systems that are online and sharing resources will appear within
the Mac’s Finder utility.

Figure B

From the Select The SMB/CIFS Shared Volume You Want To Connect To box,
select the appropriate shared volume you wish to access (using the provided
drop-down box) and press OK.

Figure C

Once connected, a shortcut to the shared volume (in this case the Data
volume) appears within the Finder utility.

To connect to a shared Windows printer on a Mac:

  1. From
    the Macintosh, open System Preferences.
  2. Select
    Print & Fax from the Hardware section.
  3. Press
    the + sign to add a printer.
  4. Press
    the More Printers button.
  5. Ensure
    Windows Printing is selected in the top drop-down box.
  6. From
    the second drop-down box, select the appropriate Windows Workgroup.
  7. Next,
    highlight the Windows system hosting the printer you wish to connect the
    Mac to, and press Choose, as seen in Figure
  8. Enter
    the name and password of an account possessing permission to configure the
    printer, and press OK.
  9. Select
    the printer you wish to connect to the Mac.
  10. Press

Figure D

Mac users leverage the Mac’s Print & Fax applet to add printers.

Now that we’ve reviewed sharing Windows resources and
connecting to them from the Macintosh, let’s explore going the other way. In
the next section, we’ll review the steps for sharing Mac resources and
connecting to those resources from Windows-based workstations.

Sharing Mac resources with Windows PCs

The first step in sharing Mac files and printers with
Windows systems involves confirming Macs are configured properly to share their
resources. To share a Mac’s resources with Windows users:

  1. Open
    System Preferences on the Macintosh system that hosts the resources you
    wish to share.
  2. Select
    Sharing from the Internet & Network section.
  3. Enable
    the Mac to share resources with Windows systems by checking the Windows
    Sharing checkbox as seen in Figure
    . Note that you will likely have to press on the padlock in the menu’s
    lower left corner and enter an administrative username and password to make
    the change.

Figure E

Windows Sharing must be enabled on Macs to share resources with Windows

  1. Press
    the Accounts button to display a list of user accounts that exist on the
    Mac, then specify which of those accounts should
    be allowed to share resources with Windows systems, as shown in Figure F. Since Windows passwords
    must be stored in a less secure manner than Mac OS X passwords, you’ll
    have to re-enter the username passwords before proceeding.

Figure F

Configure account permissions on the Mac by pressing the Accounts button on
the Sharing menu.

  1. When
    you’ve completed assigning permissions, press the Done
  2. To
    share any Mac printers with Windows systems, select the Printer Sharing

The second step in sharing Mac resources with Windows
systems is to ensure all systems are members of the same workgroup. Resource
sharing is simplified when the Macintosh shares the same workgroup name as the
Windows systems that will be connecting to resources hosted on the Mac. To
confirm or change the Mac workgroup name:

  1. Log
    on to the Macintosh computer.
  2. Press
  3. Open
  4. Select
  5. Press
    Directory Access.
  6. Press
    on the padlock and provide an administrative username and password.
  7. Double-click
    the SMB/CIFs entry that appears.
  8. Review
    or change the workgroup name to match that used by Windows systems.
  9. Press

The third step in sharing Mac files and printers with
Windows boxes involves connecting to the Mac resources from the Windows
systems. To connect to shared resources on Macs:

  1. From
    the Windows systems, press Start.
  2. Select
  3. Locate
    the respective Apple system and double-click it, as shown in Figure G. Occasionally,
    networking issues prevent systems from displaying automatically. If you
    don’t see an entry for a specific Apple system known to be online and
    sharing its resources, you can try accessing that system using its IP

Figure G

Here, you can see an Apple with shared resources appears within the Network

  1. Next,
    supply a username and password for an account having permission to access
    the Mac’s resources.
  2. The
    Mac’s shared resources will appear.
  3. Double-click
    an item to access it. Note that, when you connect to a printer, Windows
    Vista attempts to load the appropriate driver. Typically, the Mac won’t
    host the appropriate Windows-based driver. In such cases, Windows Vista
    opens the Windows Add Printer Wizard that will enable you to load the
    correct print driver.


Macs are increasingly appearing within businesses and other
organizations. By taking a few moments to familiarize themselves with the
configuration settings required to share resources between the platforms,
Windows administrators can help ensure cross-platform opportunities are