If you are using a Windows PC and a Mac, you might spend some time fumbling around with flash drives to transfer data between them. People who prefer instant access and availability turn to cloud storage services to transfer files and folders. You would be surprised to know that Windows and macOS offer the ability to share folders seamlessly over local networks. Fortunately, it is not that difficult to set up.
For example, you can set up local folder sharing on Windows and use your Mac to easily access shared files and folders. Or, you can do the opposite and use your PC to access content on your Mac. So, let’s see how you can set up a native local folder to share files between Windows PC and Mac without further ado.
Note: Before following the instructions below, you should double-check to confirm that your PC and Mac are connected to the same local network.
Share and access Windows folders on Mac
To set up folder sharing in Windows, you need to enable network discovery on your PC and specify the folders you want to share. You can then connect to your PC with your Mac using Finder. You can find the whole process presented in the two sections below.
PC – Configure local folder sharing
Step 1: Open Action Center and select All Settings.
2nd step: Click on the option labeled Network and Internet.
Step 3: Select the Wi-Fi or Ethernet side tabs.
Step 4: Select Change advanced sharing options in the Related settings section.
Step 5: Expand Private. Then select the radio button next to Enable network discovery. Then check the “Enable automatic configuration of devices connected to the network” box.
Also, turn on the radio button next to “Turn on file and printer sharing”.
Note: If the above options were already selected, just exit the Advanced Sharing Settings screen.
Step 6: Select Save changes.
Step 7: Right click on a folder you want to share and select Properties.
Step 8: Switch to the Sharing tab. Then click the Share button and then select Share to share the folder immediately.
Or, select the Advanced Sharing button to determine the exact sharing permissions (Full Control, Edit, or Read) you want to provide.
Step 9: Exit the Properties screen and repeat the operation for any other folders you want to share.
How to Access Windows Shared Folder Sharing on Mac
Assuming you’ve set up Local Folders correctly on Windows and your Mac is on the same network, here’s how to access shared folders.
Step 1: Open Finder.
2nd step: Open the Go menu and select Connect to Server.
Step 3: Type smb: // followed by the name of your PC.
Note: If you don’t know your PC’s name, go to Start> Settings> System> About. You should then see it listed next to the device name.
Step 4: Enter your Windows username and password to log into your computer.
Note: If your Mac cannot find your PC, make sure you connect both devices to the same network and enter the correct credentials for your Windows PC.
Step 5: Select your PC in the Finder sidebar to access your shared Windows folders.
Share Mac Folders on Windows
Your Mac allows you to set up folder sharing and configure the various files and folders that you can share (including folder permissions) through the Sharing pane of System Preferences. You can then use File Explorer on the PC to access the shared items.
Set up local folder sharing on Mac
Just like Windows, macOS lets you configure local folder sharing with computers connected on the same network.,
Step 1: Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
2nd step: Click on the icon labeled Sharing.
Step 3: Check the box next to File Sharing and click the button labeled Options.
Step 4: Check the box next to “Share files and folders using SMB” and select your account. Then select Done.
Step 5: Select the + sign under the Shared Folders section to add a folder that you want to share. Don’t forget to change the folder permissions in the Users section. Repeat for any other folders you want to share.
Step 6: Exit the Sharing pane.
How to access Mac shared folders on Windows
Now let’s see how you can access the shared folders you just set up on the Mac from your Windows PC.
Step 1: Open File Explorer.
2nd step: Type in the File Explorer address bar. Next, enter the IP address of your Mac. If you don’t know the IP address, you can find it in the Sharing pane of your Mac.
Note: If your Mac can’t find your PC, make sure you connect them to the same local network.
Step 3: Enter your Mac’s user credentials to access your folders.
Step 4: View them later by selecting your Mac in the File Explorer sidebar.
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Start sharing seamlessly
Once you’ve set up local folder sharing on your Windows and Mac, it’s incredibly easy to access your files as long as both devices are connected on the same network. Of course, the quality of the data transfer and the speeds will depend entirely on a few factors: file size, network speed, etc. This means that your usual images or documents may not take too long. However, if you are transferring very large media files, expect some delay.
To prevent bad actors from accessing your data without your permission, you should only use this feature on private networks that you absolutely trust. If in doubt, consider using alternate file sharing methods instead.
Want to transfer files from your iPhone to your PC? Check out these 5 best apps to transfer files from iOS to your Windows computer.
Last updated December 24, 2020
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