File Sharing from Windows Vista to OS X

If you’re in Windows Vista, trying to share files with an Apple PC running OS X, the process is not as simple to orchestrate as it used to be in Windows XP. Don’t ask me why, but here are the flaming hoops to get Vista to connect with your OS X machine(s):

  1. In OS X’s System Preferences, select the “Sharing” icon and enable “Windows Sharing” (place a checkmark in the box). Click the “Accounts” button and enable your designated user account.
  2. Make sure you have File and Printer Sharing enabled in Vista, and that an icon for your Mac is showing up in your Network Explorer alongside every other device connected to your network. By the way, if you can’t even see an icon for your Mac in the Windows Network Explorer (same icon as the other machines on your network), you might check to see if they’re on the same network altogether.
  3. When you’re prompted for a username and password from the Windows Vista authentication dialog, use: MacIPAddressYourMacUsername (with the password for your user account on OS X). For example, might be used – if your Mac’s internal network IP address was and the user “chris” was configured for Windows sharing. The TCP/IP tab in OS X’s System Preferences Network applet for your designated network adapter should show you the proper IP address to use.

One more Vista “bug” fixed.

It freakin’ took me forever to figure this one out. Don’t ask me why it used to be easier to do in Windows XP (where you only had to supply a username and password – without the IP address).

Moreover, network performance between OS X and Windows Vista seems lousy compared to the way it was between XP and the same OS X machine (and connection). Then again, the knowledge base article 932134 (An outdated network router may not function correctly when you use it together with new networking features in Windows Vista) is already pointing the finger of blame. Progress?

75 thoughts on “File Sharing from Windows Vista to OS X”

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  5. Hey, thanks for this. I kept getting dropped connections and lousy speeds. I didn’t exactly think my four-year-old 802.11g D-link DI-524 was THAT outdated, but it looks like it’s time either ditch Vista or this thing.

  6. Thanks for the tip! Didn’t even think to try the IP before the username. Tried the hostname a couple times before I decided to get online and do a search that led me here.

    Thanks again!

  7. you have no idea how greatful I am for your helpful article, thank you thank you thank you thank you.

  8. Thx you, you’re been very helpful.

    I’m trying to logon to get some data from my mac.

    Fortunately,I found out the solution on your blog.

    P.S. It makes me so damn bored = =

  9. It appears that you can also use the Mac’s machine name instead of its IP address… which would work better if your Mac’s using DHCP and might get some different address in the future.

  10. Well I finally got it to at least see my Mac user files, now if only I can find a way to get from the Mac to the Vista machine. All I ever get are empty drive with no update capability. I have followed the Microsoft file sharing directions step by step and no luck. Has anyone figured out how to share from the MAc to the PC?

  11. thankyouthankyouthankyou… I finally got my vista machine connected.. what.. three months after buying it..

    I can’t believe.

    as long as we are here.. any ideas about connecting Fedora 6 to Mac… stumped yup stumped on that one.. Fedora of course is the jekyll to my Windows Hyde.. or is that other way around..


    Had to use the short user name. all lower case, no gaps. I’d been using the top user name box!


  13. I didn’t work for me 🙁 Grhh, so many problems. Its only a 3 pc wired network, all firewalls disable to test this issue out. XP pc connects fine, vista pc does not want to log in, it is displaying in the network places but just will not log in… The mac will log onto the vista pc though.

  14. Matt, how did you get the Mac to log into the Vista machine. I can log in, but cannot see any files or copy any files to the Vista drives.

  15. How about bringing up the windows hard drive on the mac.
    I am able to bring it up but I can’t see any files.
    Any ideas?


  16. I recently installed Vista and now transfer speeds to my Mac are HORRENDOUS. I frequently transfer video files several gigabytes in size, which under XP would take a couple minutes. It’s now been 5 minutes and I’ve only transfered 16mb. What the fuck?

    I’m using a fairly recent Linksys wireless router.. and this obviously has everything to do with Vista, since last week, under XP (and for the previous year under that operating system) the transfer speeds were consistent.

    Any suggestions anyone? (Beyond ditching Vista, which I really don’t want to do either..)

  17. I have exaktly the same problem as matt!
    Are the anny solotion?
    I have 5 comb, one mac, tre Win XP and one Vista.
    All works exept from Vista to mac.
    i can se the login promt but i just cant get in.

  18. Wow, the free world ‘PC’ meets the closed dictatorship of the ‘MAC’ once again, all in this ‘helpful’, but politically twisted article. Did anyone reading this actually believe as the author stated that this had anything to do with a Vista bug? “One more Vista “bug” fixed.” This article didn’t correct any bugs, Apple, or Microsoft; it is a simple procedural how to, with a hateful jab from author who appears to see Microsoft as the antagonist, and enemy to all good Apple OS X users everywhere.

    Look folks Vista has bugs no doubt, but so does every version of the apple OS. I worked on the original designs for the early apples, and also the first PC’s, the argument of open architecture VS closed has been around since the very beginning. No matter how much you love or hate Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, we are at the point in time where the open architecture meets and is better interfaced with closed architecture. There is going to be a lot of getting to know you, between the two architecture’s and their respective operating systems. In the technical world it is only by throwing away our political preferences and prejudices that we can start to see things work together.

    Concerning the authors comment about knowledge base article 932134. Making a statement like: “(An outdated network router may not function correctly when you use it together with new networking features in Windows Vista) is already pointing the finger of blame. Progress?” Is like saying gee the new XM radio stations don’t come in on my good old pioneer radio set, dam those XM radio guys anyways. New technology, new equipment, the world is gearing up for future 3G and 4G network works, and with high speed stepping up into wired and wireless networks capable of providing 100 Mbps and 1Gbps, respectively, it is a sure thing that the way we handle data is going have to change.

    So Mr. Prillo, thank you for the tutorial, respectfully if your aim is to stay disgruntled and in the comfortable place you seem to be in, you’re on the right track, but I for one am glad for a market place that supports both the open and closed architecture machines. I know that it is much harder to create an OS that supports any, and, every kind hardware, and hardware manufacture, as Microsoft has done, but I am glad they did it despite the larger debug task. This country would not be as great as it is, if Microsoft had precluded the small contributing manufactures, as Apple did in the beginning. Technological advance has come through diversity, not through any single contributor, the day is coming where every OS will work together smoothly or dye trying, Unix & Linux has done this fairly well for years, with not much glory, or money. Maybe we should just forget about innovation and just settle for what we have, that way there would be no bad guy, no competition, and no debugging.

  19. This article is about file sharing from OSX to Vista, not what the title implies. I still can’t figure out how to get it to go the other way!

  20. Since this is the first Google result for Vista OS X network performance, someone MUST be searching having the same problem I am (ATROCIOUS network performance between Vista/OS X). I had blazing speeds between XP/OS X, but since installing Vista it takes over an hour to transfer a gig.

    Has anyone had any luck resolving this?

  21. Thanks! Been trying to do this everywhich way, Vista kept adding “computername” in the username area…

    Saved me. Cheers.

  22. Thank you, I was wondering why the same network connection which used to work with XP stopped to work with Vista. I was putting the Mac network name before the username, but it did not work.

  23. You can also connect by creating a network share and clicking the box “login as a different user” (needed even if it’s the same user name and password).

  24. thanks, great hint!
    however it should be noted that the username has to be entered case sensitive (was all lowercase in XP), e.g.


  25. Wow! This article really helped me unclog the issues I was having in getting my Mac to talk to this new Vista monster that’s now infecting my network.

    Here’s a little supplement to the above notes – this quick modification lets you reference your IP address as a name rather than a series of numbers.

    1 – Find your Windows “host” file (use the Search function) and open ‘er up in Notepad (you might find two files in your search – only one will let you save to it)

    2 – Add an entry at the bottom of the file to resolve the IP address to the name of the machine (or whatever you’d like to use in place of the IP address) – the line should read something like: easyname

    3 – When promted for your username/password when connecting from Vista to OS X, use your new “easyname” in place of the IP address. Something like,



    ~ Richard

  26. Hi,

    Thanks SO much man! This has been pissing me off for weeks now. I knew I did everything right, but I didn’t know I have to put the IP in front of the login name. The bloody thing just wouldn’t log in! You’re a lifesaver.



  27. Chris,
    This helped a lot – I finally did get to see and log onto my iMac from my new Toshiba (Vista) laptop! I can see the G4, but I’m still trying to figure out how to get it to log on for me – the same MacIPAddressmyName doesn’t work – could be because the G4 is running OS 10.3.9 rather than 10.4.10 as the iMac is.

    Now here’s my question – I can see the Toshiba on the iMac but I can’t figure out how to connect to it – I get an error message: “The alias ‘
    Toshiba’ could not be opened, because the original item cannot be found.” Helpful, right? I have no idea how or what I should be configuring on the Toshiba to allow the iMac to connect to it! I only have one user account: the administrator account. The guest account is disabled – does that have something to do with the problem?

    Then I have a further problem—my XP laptop is nowhere to be seen on either the new Toshiba or the iMac or the G4 – even though it’s on the same router and connects to the internet fine! Any help you can offer?

  28. Chris,
    I’m back again! – I turned on the computer today – July 9 wanting to transfer something from the iMac to the Toshiba (Vista) – I’ve lost the network connection to both the iMac and the G4! I haven’t been able to find a way to connect back to these two computers also connected to the same router – I did nothing to change settings! The two macs have just disappeared! Talk about frustration. I’m not getting to anything that brings up the Windows Authentication Dialogue which would let me ask for the computer – my router isn’t a wireless – the computers are all linked with cables. There doesn’t seem to be an option for setting up such a router connection in Vista. Can you suggest anything that would help me get those two Macs to show up on the network on the Toshiba?

  29. THANKS for the tip, I actually tried the ipname but that didn’t work! it was the file/print sharing “ON” that did it! i have been on this one forever.

  30. Hi, Everyone
    I am having same problem here connecting to OSX 10.4.10 share folder from a Vista Home Premium. I can see the Apple Shared system. I will be prompted for ID and password. It keeps prompting for ID and password even i put correct ID and password. Not sure the solution here will solve my problem but i will give a try.
    I did some research and this is the article .
    seems to be helpful and the network security feature is not available in Vista Home Premium. Headache..:::(((((

  31. Hey Pirillo,

    Tried your “MacIPAddressYourMacUsername” solution and it DOESN’T work on a brand new HP DV 6450 (Vista Home Prem) trying to connect to numerous Macs running OS X Panther and Tiger. The Macs see and open the HP Public folder, but constant rejection from Vista logging to the Macs.

    How bout trying again?

  32. Here is the solution might help some of you here with Window Vista Home Premium and OSX file sharing.


    1. Run the registry editor and open this key: > > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlLsa
    . If it doesn’t already exist, create a DWORD value named > LmCompatibilityLevel > > 3. Set the value to 1 > > 4. Reboot

    Help this work for you!!


    (To Rob) YES! ANOTHER VISTA BUG FIXED! ANOTHER VISTA BUG simply because WE (mac users) DIDN’T HAVE THIS STUPID PROBLEM WITH WINDOWS XP! IF IN WINDOWS XP You used to click on SHARE a folder and PAF appeared on your MAC NETWORK LIST and now with VISTA that is almost IMPOSSIBLE to work around it is not a MAC BUG BUT A VISTA ONE!
    By the way… DID MICROSOFT WAS THE ONE TAKING THIS COUNTRY TO WHATEVER IT IS TODAY!? HA HA HA!!!! Well I wouldn’t look at the country state and mixed it with MSOFT if you still want to talk positively about MSOFT! LOL

  34. All of you! Stop this madness, IMMEDIATELY!
    OSX is a unix operating system, stop trying to conform to the Vista networking foolishness. Use real networking tools

    1. turn on Remote Login on the Mac (in System Preferences > Sharing)
    2. Install WinScp on the PC (
    3. with winscp, connect to mac as a mac admin user
    4. Start copying any and all files at blazing speed!

  35. Thanks, I ahve been trying for months to get my G% to talk to my HP,and ur tip did it!
    U rock!

  36. Thank you for your help in setting up a vista mac network, no-one else that I read advised using the IP address of the mac. Richard

  37. Hey, great tips but blueshifter has a point, anyway, and idea on how to do what blueshifter said but for the other way around? Remote login into Vista from OS X because I’m having problems connecting the normal way.

  38. I just bought a new laptop … It is brand new and supports Vista OS … I would like to shoot the son of a bitch that sold me this machine…I asked him before I bought it if indeed all these horror stories I had heard about VISTA were true… I am running XP on the desktop and going through a LINKSYS router . My last laptop was also running XP…Never had a problem. I bought this computer yesterday and doubt if I have had three hours sleep … It will in no way configure with the router ,in fact I could not even get online plugging directly into the modem on the wonderful new system…Isnt it amazing how this devide ( computers) are supposed to make our lives easier and less stressful and make us informative when in reality technology in this field has made all of us personal slaves to this form of communicating….
    Life was so much easier before the advent of the personal computer … Think of the times you were happiest in life…I can assure you it was not while you were online … The irony of all this. I used to live at 376 Addison Street in Palo Alto 77-80 and it had a garage behind the house that was rather delapitated … I was aware that Hewlett/Packard used to use this garage for something or other … In my wildest dreams I could never imagine that within tens years of my moving out of that house and using that garage that it would someday be a historical landmark…There is now a plaque in front of the house indicatig this is where computer technology began … It boggles the mind … I envy the people that are still technical rubes and live their lives without thinking of logging on to see who is doing what to whom and what they can buy for a discount…
    I thought Bill Gates was a good guy and as of late his charitable work was commendable…Now I have a laptop with a new advanced operating system that is the most stressful thing I ever encountered …VISTA is junk … XP was fine and why would anyone change a working system with something that is uncompatable with everything else …MONEY …Microsoft has done it again …. I am surprised there are not a million class action suits against them… The people that praise VISTA are happy just for the fact that they could get online wirelessly…I have not heard ANYONE say what a great improvement it is over XP … All the comments have been about being able to get online …NOTHING about the system … Cest la vie …
    K. Gerber

  39. Thanks for this. The tip certainly works – but, as others have pointed out, transfer is very slow. Reading blueshifter’s message solved that problem, and I am now happily typing this while transferring the contents of my iMac’ hard disk over to the new portable with an acceptable degree of speed. WinSCP ( does a fine job

  40. Really it’s not a Vista bug but a OSX authentication trouble. In fact also Linux use Samba and here it works perfecty.

  41. The IP solution for connecting from my Toshiba to my iBookG4 has worked for me, speeds are really good on ethernet, but horrible on wireless.
    What I can’t do is connect from the Toshiba to my iBooG3, which is running OSX 10.3.9, login/pass are “incorrect”.
    I also can’t find the way to connect from the Mac to the Toshiba.
    Has anyone found a solution to these issues?

  42. The router issue may be real, in as much as there was a similar problem I had after the Apple OSX network driver update last summer. Apple support told me the same kind of story as MS is doing. I didn’t really believe it, but did upgrade my router software, (an ActionTec on Qwest’s network). It fixed the problem. here’s what happened then:

    Windows XP and Vista machines plus Apple OSX (.4) worked fine prior to my upgrading the network patch by Apple (last August?). Immediately, my OSX stopped communicating to the network via wireless and nothing I could do would fix it. Wired connections worked fine. Windows machines continued to run fine. I upgraded the router to the latest software rev. and the OSX immediately starting working again. I was down for over 2 weeks. until I got this figured out.

    So it *might* be that the Vista network drivers are slowing stuff down, because they are implementing newer protocols (including IPV6) and some routers may encounter problems. worth noting is that when I updated my Vista network drivers for the card I was running, my Vista machine got faster on the network. Legacy drivers again?

  43. IT WORKED!!! Thank you, I luvs you :o) I can see my pictures from my Mac Mini from my Windows Vista laptop without having to move the external drive back and forth :o)

  44. In the point 3 of your tutorial you say that in order to access to your mac files you have to insert a user,password when prompted.You are suggesting to do so following the combinationMacIPAddressYourMacUsername .I’m doing this inserting all the possible and immaginable combinations ,but I get always an error.Any help would be highly appreciated.Thank you very much and sorry for my english.

  45. Chris, thank you so much for writing this article! I’ve been trying for about an hour to figure this out running between my Mac and my new Vista computer again and again. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working like it did in XP where I just put in my username and password. At least that’s one more Vista bug to file into my head!

    PS- I probably could have saved all that time by Google searching this right away! But first I configured a VNC server and client to look at my Mac from my Vista PC, so I could stop running back and forth from room to room. Oh well, live and learn!

    Thanks man!


  46. The login.password issue was exactly what I was looking for – had both machines talking to each other. Then I upgraded from an old router to a wireless one for the new Vista laptop and discovered that the Mac was no longer able to connect to the PC. It saw the PC, but was unable to see the share points I’d set up.

    After repeatedly going through all the networking and sharing panels on both machines, plus the screens in the router config, I finally realized that both the Norton Firewall and the Windows firewalls were on at the same time.

    I turned off the Norton firewall and boom – I could connect!

    Here’s another trick I figured out because I cannot seem to set the Mac (OSX 10.4) so that areas outside the home directory can be accessed via network, such as files on other volumes.

    I turned on the ftp function in the Mac Sharing panel, and use an ftp client to connect. When I connect via ftp, I can access the whole machine’s hard drive space except for protected directories.

  47. For those who are continually getting password errors, remember that case sensitivity is important in both username and password – this caught me out a little, thanks Rocco.

    Also, has anyone else had an issue where on their Vista machine, when transferring files from the Mac it is very fast (over 400Mbps on a Gbps LAN with jumbo frames on!), but when copying the same file back it is extraordinarily slow – maybe 100 times slower or more?

    I’ve tried Blueshifters recommendation to use WinSCP, which improves the situation, but still VERY slow transfer…

  48. It’s times like this that make me wish I could spell Haleluija!

    Now to sift through the rest of the thread if the accessing Vista from OS question is answered.

  49. Followed the instrutions here to the “T” connected to the mac ok , and files dropped in the folder on the mac can be seen on the pc, still get empty folder the other way around???

  50. Thanks for the tip’s on this one. I have been trying to get file sharing setup for the best part of a day. Then I came across your blog entry. I followed your steps and all is talking great now. Many thanks dude

  51. thanks so much- i got everything set up to the point where i could see the network, but it wouldn’t let me log on- the tip about logging in using the IP is really the turning point.

    Awesome, useful and very clearly described steps.

  52. It’s 3:30am and I’ve been struggling with this for a truly unhealthy length of time. I just assumed that I was configuring something wrong… and it turns out it was this “IP username” nonsense! Your insight worked like a charm! You’re a lifesaver, Chris! ;^)

  53. I know why it doesn’t work… and why it’s getting harder to use. It has nothing to do with code, or open vs closed or even PC to mac or vis a vis. The real reason? Money. Mobile me is on both my vista and my mac. it boasts it will make all this so much simpler. I have no doubt it would. since it costs money to use. why give away the milk when you can charge to use the cow, right? and so it goes. eventually we will probably be paying regular licensing fees just to use our os, and what would we do? pay. because what choice would you have? Don’t like this? Use open source. Unfortunately, I’m not tech savy enough for that, so I guess I’m screwed.

  54. Thanks! Works in Windows 7 also. I was able to connect by providing the domain of my Win7 box but had to keep entering this each time I logged out of the Win7. I had tried using the username and .localusername to no avail. But the IP did the trick!


  55. Gosh, just use Filezilla and turn on FTP Sharing on the Mac. Note the IP address. Open Filezilla on the PC and use the IP as the host, the Mac’s login info as the user/pass. Works over wifi and wired connections. Very simple, easy, and free.

    1. this was the best freakin idea ever. file sharing through networking and network mapping blah blah. Vista is the worst! I agree with Thomas, and I’m using his procedures. Fool proof, fools.

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