File sharing can significantly improve the productivity when you need to work with both Windows PC and Macintosh computers. You may use Mac in home and Windows PC in office, it is easy to share or transfer files from your Mac to Windows with file sharing feature. It is possible to share files, folders or entire Mac and access the content from Windows PC. In our earlier article, we have explained how to enable file sharing in Windows and access the files in Mac. In this article, we will explain how to enable file sharing in Mac and access the content in Windows PC.
File Sharing from Mac to Windows PC
Though the process is straightforward, it has lot of steps to share content properly.
- Find workgroup name in Windows
- Check workgroup in Mac
- Create sharing only user account in Mac
- Enable file sharing for user account in Mac
- Find Mac IP address
- Enable network discovery in Windows
- Access shared Mac account in Windows
- Disable file sharing with timer
Let us go through each step in detail.
1. Find Workgroup in Windows 11
First step is to find the workgroup or domain used by your Windows PC. You need to assign the same workgroup in Mac for the file sharing to work properly. Generally, Windows PCs will have the workgroup name as “WORKGROUP”. However, you can confirm by using the following instructions.
- Press “Win + I” keys or right click on the Windows Start menu and select “Settings” option. This will open Windows Settings app and click on “About” section available under “System” menu.
- Click “Domain or workgroup” related link showing below “Device Specifications” section.
- Go to “Computer Name” tab and note down the name showing against “Workgroup”.
2. Check and Assign Workgroup in Mac
Next step is to confirm the same Windows workgroup name is assigned in your Mac.
- Click on the Apple logo and go to “System Preferences…” menu.
- Select “Network” option and then select your connected network.
- Click “Advanced” button and go to “WINS” tab.
- Check the “Workgroup” is showing the same name as your Windows PC (WORKGROUP in our case).
3. Create New User Account for Sharing
Though you can use your administrator user account for file sharing in Mac, this will enable sharing of entire disk. It can create security and privacy problems when you want to share folders with another user. Therefore, the best option to create a new user account only for sharing purpose and grant access to sharing only account instead of using administrator account.
- Go to “Apple logo menu > System Preferences…” section and click on “Users & Groups” option.
- Click the padlock icon and provide your admin password to edit the screen.
- After that click on the + icon showing below the “Login Items”.
- Select “Sharing Only” option for “New Account”.
- Provide name, account name, password and click on “Create User” button to add a new user account in your Mac.
4. Setup File Sharing in Mac
After creating a new user account, go back to “System Preferences” section and click on “Sharing” option. Make sure the screen is available for editing, if not, click the padlock icon and unlock the screen. Enable the “File Sharing” service and then click on “Options” button.
On the pop-up that appears, make sure the check box against “Share files and folders using SMB” option is enabled. Also make sure to select the sharing only user account you have created and click on “Done” button.
Now click on the + icon showing below “Shared Folders” box and elect the folder that you want to share with Windows PC. Select the sharing only user account you have created under “Users” box. In case the user is not listed in the box, click on the + icon below “Users” box and add the user from the list. If you do not want the Windows user to modify your files, select “Read Only” permission. Otherwise, you can set the permission as “Read & Write” allowing Windows user to edit your files in Mac.
Note: The computer name of your Mac you see here is the name you will see in Windows PC when connected.
5. Find Mac IP address
You need the IP address of Mac for accessing it from Windows PC. You can find your Mac’s IP address under “Network” section of the “System Preferences…” section. Make sure to select the connected network for which you have confirmed the WINS workgroup.
6. Enable Network Discovery in Windows
Now that you have finished all the steps on your Mac and it’s time to find your Mac from Windows PC. For this you should have enabled network discovery in Windows.
- Press “Win + E” and open File Explorer in Windows PC.
- Click on the “Network” option showing at bottom of the left panel.
- If the network discovery is disabled, you will see a warning message indicating to enable it.
- Go to “Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Advanced sharing settings“ and turn on network discovery option for private profile.
7. Access Shared Mac Folder from Windows
After enabling network discovery, you should see the Mac’s computer name under “Network” section of File Explorer. Click on the Mac’s name and connect with the sharing only username/password that you have enabled file sharing option in Mac.
Now, you should be able to browse through the shared folder, copy and edit the items as per the provided permission.
If the Mac is not appearing under “Network” section, then follow the below instructions to access the shared folders of Mac in Windows PC. You need to use Mac’s IP address as obtained from step 5 here.
- Type \\ with your Mac’s IP (like \\192.168.1.9) in the address bar and press enter key.
- You will be prompted to enter the username and password for connecting to your Mac.
- Provide the credentials of sharing only user account for which you have enabled file sharing.
- Now, you will see the IP address showing in the network section and allow you to browse through the shared folder from Windows PC.
8. Disconnecting File Sharing with Timer
It is a good idea to disable file sharing after finishing the work. Simply go to Mac and uncheck the “File Sharing” option in “Sharing” preferences. If someone is connected from Windows PC, then Mac will show a warning that some users may be connected and ask you to set a timer for terminating the file sharing. You can 5 or 10 minutes and click “OK” button to automatically terminate the file sharing after the set timer.
Windows PC by default will continue to access the connected networks whenever you open File Explorer. However, you will see an error when clicking on the Mac’s name in the network section after disconnecting file sharing. The only option here is to enable file sharing back in Mac to allow accessing files from Windows.