diese Website in deutscher Sprache - this website in Dutch

Networking with Windows, Linux and Macs

What must be done in order for your Mac to communicate with other computers?
First, you will have to hang the Mac on the network. This can be wired or via Wifi.
Second, you will need to prepare your Mac for file sharing.

First connect to the network itself
We start with the connection. Go to System Preferences and choose Network.
On the left are the connections that are possible. Choose which one applies to your network: Wifi (wireless) or Ethernet (wire). On the right you see the options:

1. With a dynamic IP address:
You do not need any information here and you do not have to enter anything; your Mac is set this way by default.
For a network with dynamic IP addresses, choose Configure Via DHCP and the other fields will be filled in automatically. Most modems, routers and switches work like this.

2. With a fixed IP address:
This is a bit more specific; you need data. You should get this from your system administrator. You then choose Configure Manual.

Finished filling in? Then choose Apply now.
Your Mac is now ready to access other computers on the network.

Note: An IP address consists of four series of numbers with dots in between, for example It is the unique number by which computers and servers can be recognized in a network. All internet addresses such as www.macmiep.nl also have such a number. The WWW still uses version 4 for the most part. We now have to wait until all songs are "full". Then the internet will have to switch to IPv6. The Mac is prepared for that.

Connecting to the network
The network can now be accessed. In the Finder, go to the Menu Go to: Connect to server ...

Choose Browse or enter the name of the server.

Then choose "guest" or use the password and login name you received from your System Administrator.

Note: Connecting to a network is one thing, to share files something still needs to be done. This both on the side of the Mac and on the side of the computer where you want to get files, the so-called Server. So just 'seeing' a computer is not enough. Remember that these are two different things, where one cannot exist without the other.

Share files
We just saw how to get on a network from the Mac and log into a server. The second step is to let the Mac itself share files over that network. To do that, you must first grant your Mac permission.

System Preferences => Sharing
Your Mac is closed to others by default. You can give permission in System Preferences under Sharing.
Enter a name in the Computer name field if it is empty. That name allows other users to recognize you over the network. Now tick what you want to grant permission for, in this case File Sharing. If you are in a network with only Macs, then you are already done.

In a network with Windows or Linux computers.
Choose the correct network protocol under Options by checking Share files and folders via SMB (Windows).
Now other computers can see your Mac. They can now log in to your Mac as a Guest and see your Public Folder and Delivery Folder (more on this below). That should be enough for normal use.

If you still want access to all your folders, tick your username.

The Mac will ask for the password associated with that account.

NOTE: This way of working may be very useful, but less secure than just making the Public Folder accessible.

More about networking from Mac to Windows

More about networking from Windows to Mac

More about file sharing between Windows and Mac

The Public folder and the Drop Box
From another computer logged into your Mac, anyone can view the data in your Public Folder and dump files into the Drop Box Folder.

Where can I find that Public Folder?
The Public Folder is in your home folder, but it is not displayed by default. Go to Finder Preferences under the Finder menu. Go to Sidebar. Choose your home folder to show in the Sidebar.

In any Finder window, your Home Folder will now also appear in the Sidebar:

And in it is the folder Public:

The Drop Box is located in that Public Folder. Your network members can dump their files here.

Make drop box' content visible
Network users may only drop things in the Drop-off folder, they may not look into it. If you want them to be able to do that, you will have to adjust the access rights of the Drop-off folder.
You do this by selecting the Delivery Folder and then choosing Info from the File menu (Command-i).

At Sharing and permissions you choose at Everyone: Read and write

Open up other directories
If you want to have them look or write in more folders, click on the relevant folder, choose Show Info under Archive (Command-i) and indicate what is allowed and what is possible and who.

Be careful and be sure what to open!

The next chapter is:
switching to the Mac

Disclaimer: MacMiep is independent. This means she writes what she wants, based on 30 years of Mac-experience. She doesn't get paid for stories (positive or negative) on this website. MacMiep is not interested in your data. However, she does use Google's services. Google is indeed interested. Are you happy with MacMiep? Please support your local cat shelter.