Networking Windows Vista and Mac

Follow these steps:

  1. Log on to a Mac system from which you wish to share resources.
  2. Open System Preferences (either by clicking the System Preferences icon from the Dock or by clicking Finder | Applications | System Preferences). (See Figure A.)
Figure A
The Apple’s System Preferences menu is essentially the Mac’s equivalent to Windows’ Control Panel.
  1. Click the Sharing icon.
  2. Turn on Windows Sharing by checking its box and clicking the corresponding button within the Services menu. (Note, the lock at the bottom of the menu must be unlocked to enable changes; you may need to log on as an Administrator to make the changes). (See Figure B.)
  3. Confirm, too, that Personal File Sharing is enabled.
Figure B
Ensure the checkboxes are selected for Windows Sharing and Personal File Sharing and that both services are turned on.
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Be sure that a user account exists for the Windows Vista user on the Macintosh system (or that the Windows Vista user possesses a valid Mac username/password to enter when connecting to the Mac from Windows). (See Figure C.) When the Windows user tries connecting to the Macintosh, the Macintosh will prompt the Windows Vista user for a username and password. Without a valid user account (or knowledge of such credentials) on the Macintosh system, the Windows user will be denied access.

Follow these steps to create a user within Mac OS X:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts from the System section.
Figure C
The Accounts page lists valid users of the Macintosh system.
  1. Click the lock to enable changes.
  2. Provide a valid Administrator username and password.
  3. Click the plus sign to create a new account.
Figure D
Provide the necessary information and click the Create Account button.
  1. Enter the name for the new account, a short name (nickname), a password (enter it twice to confirm it’s entered properly), provide a password hint and check the box if you wish to permit the new account to serve as an administrator and click Create Account. (See Figure D.)
  2. If you chose not to enter a password, the Macintosh will prompt you to confirm you wish to create the account without a password. Click OK to complete creating the account.

Before you attempt to connect to the Apple machine from Windows Vista, however, check to confirm that the Vista system is a member of the Workgroup workgroup. By default the Macintosh Windows Sharing feature is configured to join the Workgroup workgroup. While Windows Vista systems by default use workgroups named workgroup, it’s possible the name was changed.

If the Windows workgroup name isn’t Workgroup, the workgroup name must be updated on the Macintosh system(s) before the two platforms can work together. To change the workgroup name on a Macintosh:

  1. Log in to the Macintosh system.
  2. Click Finder.
  3. Click Applications.
  4. Select the Utilities folder.
  5. Open Directory Access. (See Figure E.)
  6. Click the lock to enable changes.
  7. Enter an administrator username and password and click OK.
Figure E
The SMB/CIFs entry is used to configure Samba file sharing on the Macintosh.
  1. Double-click the SMB/CIFS entry.
Figure F
Enter the workgroup name; if there’s an active WINS server, you can enter its IP address within the WINS Server box.
  1. Enter the workgroup name used by the Windows systems. (See Figure F.)
  2. Click OK.

Mac Access

Now you’re ready to access the Macintosh resources from a Windows Vista PC. Log in to the Windows Vista system and follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Vista’s Network console (by clicking Start | Network).
  2. Networked systems should appear, including Apple PCs. (See Figure G.) Communication between both platforms isn’t perfect, however. If you don’t see an icon or entry for the Apple computer or computers, enter the Apple’s IP address within Windows Vista’s address field (using this format: \\, substituting the IP address of the Apple system in question in place of and press Enter. Entering the IP address also works using Internet Explorer 7. If you don’t know the Mac’s IP address, you can find it using the steps outlined at the end of this article.
Figure G
Apple systems appear alongside Windows machines in Windows Vista’s Network console.
  1. The Apple system should appear.
  2. To access Apple resources, double click the host Macintosh you wish to connect to. Navigate through the Apple’s folders to locate the files or printers you wish to access, then double-click the target.
  3. Depending upon a few factors, including whether you’ve logged on to the Mac before and permission configuration, the Mac may prompt for a username and password of an account having permission to access the resource. (See Figure H.)
Figure H
On the Windows system, enter the user name and password for an account on the Macintosh system that possesses permission to access the resources in question.
  1. The resources should then appear within Windows Vista; drag and drop files to move them between systems. You can also double-click a file to begin using it (just remember Windows must possess an application associated with the file capable of processing it). (See Figure I.)
Figure I
Double-clicking the shares that appear within the Network console reveals the resources resident on the Mac.

Note that, in some cases, I’ve seen Windows Vista refuse to process the username/password properly between the Windows and Mac. While I haven’t encountered the problem in Vista Business, I’ve seen it occur when using Vista Ultimate. To enable access to shared Macintosh resources within Vista Ultimate:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type secpol.msc in the search box and press Enter.
  3. Windows Vista will display a warning message; click Continue.
  4. Windows Vista’s Local Security Policy console will appear. Highlight Local Policies.
  5. Double-click Security Options.
  6. Scroll down to the Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication Level policy entry and double-click it.
  7. Change the value from the default setting of Send MTLMv2 Response Only to Send LM & NTLM — Use NTLMv2 Session Security If Negotiated, then click OK. (Figure J).
  8. Close the Local Security Policy console.
Figure J
Use Vista’s Local Security Policy console to adjust LAN Manager authentication levels.

You can also map Apple shares within Windows Vista (Figure K). To do so:

  1. In Windows Vista, open the Network console.
  2. Navigate to the Apple resource you wish to map (such as a Macintosh share or folder), and right-click it. Within the contextually relative menu that appears, click Map Network Drive.
Figure K
You can also map Apple shares just as you can Windows network drives. Navigate to the appropriate folder and right-click it within Vista’s Network console to reveal the Map Network Drive option.
  1. The Map Network Drive window appears (Figure L). Specify the drive letter that should be dedicated to the mapped share, click the Reconnect At Logon box, and click Finish. Windows Vista will connect to the share and create a permanent shortcut (permanent, at least, until deleted).
Figure L
When mapping Macintosh drives within Vista, you must specify a drive letter (just as with XP in the past).

Discovering A Mac’s IP Address

Earlier we discussed connecting from a Windows Vista PC to a Mac using the Apple system’s IP address. If you’re unsure which IP address the Macintosh system is using, follow these steps to discover an Apple’s IP address:

  1. Click the System Preferences icon on the dock (or click Finder | Applications | System Preferences).
  2. Double-click the Networking icon from the Internet & Network section.
  3. Select Built-in Ethernet from the Show drop-down menu (unless the Macintosh connects to the network via a wireless connection, in which case you should select Airport from the drop-down menu instead). (See Figure M.)
Figure M
The Apple’s Network menu displays the system’s TCP/IP addressing information. This is the equivalent menu you see when right-clicking a LAN connection with Control Panel’s Network Connections applet, highlighting Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and selecting Properties.
  1. Ensure the TCP/IP button is highlighted; the network interface’s IP addressing information will be displayed. (See Figure N.)
Figure N
You can also use the ifconfig command to discover a Mac system’s IP address.

Alternatively, you can discover a Macintosh system’s IP address by opening a Terminal session (by clicking Finder | Applications | Utilities | Terminal), typing ifcponfig and pressing Enter. The IP address is presented immediately following the inet command.


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