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Configure File Sharing for Mac OS X

Sharing Files from One Mac OS X Computer to Another

To start file sharing on a computer running Mac OS X, select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Sharing.

In the Sharing window, note the name of your computer in the Computer namefield. We recommend using a name with no spaces that identifies your machine as yours. For example, you might name your computer, "JaneADoe".

Once you have a computer name set, if you are using OS X 10.5, check the On box next to File Sharing. If you are using OS X 10.4, click the Services tab, then click the On box next to the Personal File Sharing service.

Once you turn file sharing on, by default, users on the network can access the Public folder on your computer. Access to the Public folder is limited to "Read Only", which means that you could place files you would like to share into the Public folder for some one to retrieve, but they cannot access anything else on your computer. Your Public folder is located in your Home folder.

Also in your Public folder is a Drop Box folder. Access to the Drop Box folder is "Write Only" meaning that someone could put a file into the drop box for you, but you are the only one who can open and retrieve files out of the Drop Box folder. The Drop Box might be a way to you to move files over to your computer from a public cluster computer you were working on.

For the users who do not have an account on your computer, move the files you would like to share to the Public folder located in your Home folder. To retrieve files from the Public folder on your computer using a different Macintosh OS X computer, on that other computer select Go from the Finder Tool bar, then select Connect to Server and enter in the name of your computer (i.e. afp://computername.kiewit.dartmouth.edu). When the login window comes up, connect as a Guest. The Public folder on your shared computer will automatically open.

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Sharing Files with Another Account on the Same Mac OS X Computer

If you share your computer with someone else and you both have an account on the same OS X computer, make sure the files you want to share are either located outside of your user home folder, or in the Shared folder within the Users folder.

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Sharing Files from One Mac OS X Computer to a Windows Computer

To start file sharing on a computer running Mac OS X, select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Sharing.

  • If you are using OS X 10.5, check the On box next to File Sharing, then click the Options button and check the box to Share files and folders using SMB.
  • If you are using OS X 10.4, click the Services tab, then click the On box next to the Windows Sharing service button. Next, click Accounts and select the account you want to share. Select Done.

Note that underneath the Account button there is information listed on how the access information will be used from a Windows computer to connect to your OS X computer. Before closing this window, be sure to make note of the Computer Name.

The connecting Windows user will only be able to see the files within their users folder, nothing else. Therefore, any files you want to share with them should be placed in the Public folder located in the Windows user's home folder. Note that by placing them here and enabling the Personal File Sharing service will make these files visible to anyone on the network.

From the Windows computer's Start menu, select Run. Enter the access information. This will be in the form of two backslash characters followed by the name of the target machine (i.e., \\computername.kiewit.dartmouth.edu). When prompted, enter the user name and password. The system will automatically open up that user's home folder.

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Disabling File Sharing Services

When you have finished sharing the information, we recommend you immediately disable file sharing. To do this, select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then Sharing. On the Services tab, click the On box in the Personal File Sharing service to remove the check, and click the On box next to the Windows Sharing service to remove the check.

For more information or assistance with file sharing, please contact the IT Service Desk (Help Desk) at 646-2999 and select from the options provided, send e-mail to help@dartmouth.edu, or call your department's IT support office.

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Last Updated: 2/18/10