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Can I network a Macintosh and Windows PC together?

Answer: No matter what kind of Mac or PC you have, you can use them on the same network. However, if you would like the computers to "see" each other on the network so you can transfer files between the two systems, the Mac will need to be running Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) allows the Mac to join a Windows network just like a Windows computer. As long as Windows Networking is enabled on the Windows machine, you can connect it with the Mac. First, make sure you are in the Finder on the Mac (it should say "Finder" next to the apple in the upper-left corner of the screen). Then choose "Connect to Server..." from the Go menu in the menu bar, or use the shortcut Command-K. This will bring up a window allowing you to type in the IP address of the computer you would like to connect to. If you are unsure of the IP address of the Windows machine, click the "Browse" button located near the bottom of the window.

Clicking the Browse button opens a Network window in the Finder that shows the current servers on the network. This window can also be opened by clicking the "Network" icon in the left sidebar of any open Finder window. Click the "Servers" icon in the Network window to view all available servers. Any Windows computers with Windows client networking enabled should show up here. Double click the icon for the computer you want to connect to and you'll be prompted to mount a virtual disk on you desktop. You may also have to enter a username and password, if required by the Windows machine. This login can be specified in the Windows networking preferences or you can enter the administrator login for the Windows machine.

Once you have successfully connected, a shared drive or folder will appear on your Mac's desktop. Double-click the icon to open the drive or folder and view its contents. You should be able to drag and drop items to and from the window, just like any other folder on you local hard drive.

For more information on setting up a local network, view this Help Center article.

For more information on file sharing, view this Help Center article.

Entered: May 19, 2005 – by Per Christensson

Category: General

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