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 Then again, the knowledge base article 932134 (An outdated network router may not function correctly when you use it together with new networking features in Windows Vista) is already pointing the finger of blame.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?