How access the files on your Mac from Vista

by Ross McKillop on July 17, 2008

Mac Windows

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to access your OS X files and folders from Windows Vista.

  1. First you’ll need to enable File Sharing in OS X. Click the “Apple button” from the main menu, and select System Preferences… from the drop-down list. In the Internet & Network section, click the Sharing icon.
  2. Place a check in the File Sharing box, then click the Options… button.

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  4. Now place a check in the box labeled Share files and folders using SMB. Finally, place a check in the box next to the user name (account) you want to connect to your Mac with.

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  6. You’ll be prompted to enter the password for the user name you want to connect to your Mac with. Enter it now.
  7. Now click Done and close the System Preferences window.

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  9. In Vista, click the Start button and select Network. If your Mac is listed, skip down to step #9.

    If you get a yellow “bar” telling you that File Sharing is disabled, click that bar.


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  11. Select Turn on network discovery and file sharing.
  12. Now you’ll be prompted with a window asking if you want to turn on Network discover and file sharing for all public networks, or just “private” network (like the computers in your home network). In all likelihood you’ll want to select No, make the network I am connected to a private network, but if you know for certain you want discovery and file sharing enabled for public network, select it.

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  14. And now all of the computers – including your Mac – will be listed. Double-click the icon that for your Mac.
  15. In the User name: field enter your user name in the format:

    Your-Mac-Name\Your-User-Name

    “Your-Mac-Name” is the name of the icon you just double-clicked. And yes, it is case sensitive. Your user name is your OS X user name – which can be found in the Accounts section of your System Preferences. Then enter your password in the Password: field.

  16. Now you can access all of your OS X files and folders from Vista!

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  • M Callen

    I use Logmein for all my network sharing
    between work, and home i.e. between Vista(wife’s laptop) XP(PC in Den)and MacOSX (basement).

  • http://rhftech.com Richard

    I saw a utility yesterday that lets you access your Mac partition from a Vista Boot Camp partition. It is called MacDrive 7 and available at http://mediafour.com/products/macdrive/. Unfortunately, it costs $49.95 which is beyond rational for this functionality.

    Is there a way to do something like this without spending $50?

  • Simon

    @Richard

    hfsexplorer (http://hem.bredband.net/catacombae/hfsx.html) migt do the trick. I’m not sure if it integrates with windows explorer – doesn’t look like it – but it might be useful.

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  • James

    Completed up to the end of section 9, but after that, when i double click on my macbook, it opens up without the need for a password but just shows another “Printers” folder with no other files. Any ideas? Need to get the login box to appear.

  • Tomas

    I have the same problem as James. I also created an new user account on the mac and when I accessed the \\MyMac\username only then it asked for username and password, but still didn’t let me log in.
    Since the whole reason for this is to transfer files, in my case the computers sit next to each other on the same desk, I installed Skype with a new account on the mac and transfer files that way. Since Skype chooses the closest nodes to transfer the files and not a central server, it’s lightining fast.

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  • Juvan

    Brilliant!
    This really helped me, I didn’t know about the macname\username

    Thank you!!!

  • Paul Wilson

    Help …
    What am I doing wrong? I hav eWindows Vista 64 Ultimate on my PC that I want to network with my new iMac. I have set up the iMac with File Sharing, SMB enabled, given a name and password. All looks good on the iMac. In Vista I have Turned on network discovery and file sharing, and can find my iMac in the Network, but when clicking on the icon I don’t get the Connect Window asking for User Name and Password.
    I’m missing something here, can you help me?
    Thanks, Paul

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  • http://www.wick-design.com vivian

    If anyone finds this article via a web search as I did because they were having trouble connecting from Vista to Mac OS 10.4, be sure to NOTE: “Your-Mac-Name\Your-User-Name” should really be “YOUR-MAC-NAME\Your-User-Name” — it does not work if you don’t enter your Mac name in all caps! (regardless of whether you actually set it in all caps on the Mac)

  • Arie

    vivian, you ! Life saver!! Thanks bunches!!
    So in Vista (Home Premium) my Mac seems to be called (via Network) “MACBOOKPRO-5C07″ (no!!! idea where the 5C07 comes from)
    On the MacBook Pro itself, it’s called “Arie’s MacBook Pro” (Computer Name).
    There, it hints I should use “Aries-MacBook-Pro” from Windows.
    Instead, it turns out I should connect from Windows with: “ARIES-MACBOOK-PRO”.
    In full, one must use both that and then the username (that one only with caps if it has any), so in my case: ARIES-MACBOOK-PRO\Smurf33

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  • Vaughan

    I know this was posted a long time ago but I have an XP windows operating PC and it finds my MacbookPro on the network but doesn’t seem to want to accept the password. Whats going wrong? Is there a different password somewhere Im missing?