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Sharing Files

Most people's main purpose in setting up a wireless network is to share their Internet connection. Second only to that is sharing files locally, or over the Internet using local file servers on your end or remotely. You can set up file sharing on both Windows and the Macintosh with relative ease, and you can even share files between the two operating systems (with some caveats).

Sharing Files in Windows XP

Sharing files varies among different versions of Windows, although the basics are the same. We concentrate on XP as the simplest and newest version.

1.
From Control Panels, open Network Connections, open Wireless Network Connection, and click the Properties button to open the Properties dialog.

2.
Make sure both Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks are checked, and click OK (Figure 4.29).

Figure 4.29. Enabling file sharing in Windows XP.


3.
Locate the folder you want to share, right-click it, and choose Sharing and Security.

4.
In the Network Sharing and Security part of the Properties dialog, check Share This Folder on the Network, enter a name for the shared folder, and if you want people to be able add and modify files on your computer, check Allow Network Users to Change My Files (Figure 4.30).

Figure 4.30. Sharing a folder in Windows XP.


5.
Click OK.

Accessing Shared Files in Windows XP

Once you have shared a folder in Windows XP, you can access that folder from other PCs running Windows.

1.
On another computer, from its Start menu, choose My Network Places.

2.
Click View Workgroup Computers. By default, Windows shows you just the machines in your own workgroup. To reach computers in other workgroups, use the location bar at the top of the window to navigate up a level.

3.
Double-click the name of the computer to which you want to connect.

4.
Typically, Windows prompts you to enter the name and password for access; it's not wise to have unprotected folders, but some people still do.

The shared folder is now mounted, and shows up in lists of available volumes in My Computer and other views. You can open and browse it just as you would any other volume. You can also use the Map Network Drive option in the Tools menu to set a remote volume to mount automatically with the same drive letter each time you restart.

Sharing Files on the Mac

The process by which you share files is very different between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.

Configuring File Sharing in Mac OS 9

In Mac OS 9, if you're the only person using file sharing among your computers, you can skip some of the configuration steps. Otherwise, you must work through all the steps below.

1.
From the hierarchical Control Panels menu in the Apple menu, choose File Sharing to open the File Sharing control panel.

2.
In the Start/Stop tab, make sure you have an owner name and computer name entered. If there's any chance someone else could access your Mac, enter an owner password (Figure 4.31). Always enter a password if you enable TCP/IP file sharing in the next step.

Figure 4.31. Configuring the File Sharing control panel in Mac OS 9.


3.
Click the Start button in the File Sharing section of the control panel, and if you want File Sharing to be available over TCP/IP as well as AppleTalk, check Enable File Sharing Clients to Connect over TCP/IP. If you are the only person who connects to your computer from other machines, you're done, because you only need your owner name and password to connect.

TIP

Enabling file sharing over TCP/IP is necessary if you want to share files over the Internet.

4.
Click the Users & Groups tab. You can create users and groups if you want fine-grained control over who can access which folders, but for this situation, just double-click the default Guest user, select Sharing from the Show menu, and check Allow Guests to Connect to This Computer (Figure 4.32).

Figure 4.32. Configuring a guest user to be able to connect.


5.
Select a disk or folder to share, Control-click it, and from the hierarchical Get Info menu, choose Sharing to open the Get Info window's Sharing view (Figure 4.33).

Figure 4.33. Sharing a disk in Mac OS 9.


6.
Check Share This Item and Its Contents, and from the pop-up menu next to the Everyone line, choose the privileges you want to give to people who connect.

NOTE

Read & Write privileges let users see, copy, add, change, and delete files. Read Only privileges let them see and copy files. Write Only (Drop Box) lets people copy files to the folder without being able to see anything else that's there. And, of course, None prevents them from seeing or touching any files.

7.
Close the Get Info window.

Configuring File Sharing in Mac OS X

The process of sharing files is a bit easier in Mac OS X.

1.
Open System Preferences, and click the Sharing icon to display the Sharing preference pane.

2.
In the Sharing tab, select the On checkbox next to Personal File Sharing. If you want to share files with Windows users or via FTP as well, select the checkboxes next to those services as well (Figure 4.34).

Figure 4.34. Configuring Sharing preference pane in Mac OS X.


3.
To share files, put them in the Public folder in your Home folder, at which point anyone can access them.

TIP

Once file sharing is turned on, anyone who has an account on your Mac OS X machine can access it using a normal user name and password, but they'll be limited to seeing the files that they can see when logged into the machine normally. If your account is an administrator account, you can see almost everything.


Accessing Shared Files in Mac OS 9

Once you've shared your files on a Mac, you can access them from other Macs. In Mac OS 9, follow these steps.

TIP

If you want to access files shared on a PC from a Mac running Mac OS 9, you need a program called Dave from Thursby Systems. Visit www.thursby.com/products/dave.html for more information.


1.
From the Apple menu, choose Chooser.

2.
In the Chooser, click the AppleShare icon.

If any of your Macs use AppleTalk to share files, they appear in the list under Select a File Server (Figure 4.35).

Figure 4.35. Browsing for shared Macs in the Chooser.


3.
Either double-click a Mac in the list, or click the Server IP Address button and, in the dialog box that appears, enter the IP address of the server to which you want to connect and click the Connect button (Figure 4.36).

Figure 4.36. Entering the IP address of a shared Mac.


4.
In the dialog that appears, enter your user name and password for the Mac that's sharing the files you want to access, and then click Connect (Figure 4.37).

Figure 4.37. Entering your username and password.


TIP

Check Add to Keychain if you don't want to type your password each time you access this Mac.

A dialog appears with a list of accessible volumes (Figure 4.38).

Figure 4.38. Selecting a volume to access.


5.
Select the volume you want to access and click OK.

The Mac to which you're connecting appears on your Desktop like any other disk icon, and you're done.

Accessing Shared Files in Mac OS X

To access shared files in Mac OS X, follow these steps.

1.
From the Finder's Go menu, choose Connect to Server to bring up the Connect to Server dialog (Figure 4.39).

Figure 4.39. Accessing shared Macs in the Connect to Server dialog in Mac OS X.


2.
If the Mac you want to access appears in the list of servers, double-click it to mount it. Otherwise, the Mac is probably only sharing files using TCP/IP; type its IP address in the Address field at the bottom of the dialog, and click Connect.

TIP

You don't have to type afp:// at the start of the address if you're connecting to another Mac sharing files via the AppleTalk File Protocol (AFP); however, to connect to Windows, FTP, and WebDAV servers, you must prefix the IP address or domain name with smb://, ftp://, or http://, respectively.

A Connect To dialog appears, asking for your name and password (Figure 4.40).

Figure 4.40. Entering your username and password.


3.
Enter your name and password, and click Connect.

TIP

Click Options and check Add Password to Keychain if you don't want to type your password each time you access this Mac.

A dialog that lists accessible volumes appears (Figure 4.41). If you're connecting to a Mac OS X machine with an administrator account, you see at least two volumes: one for the hard disk and another for your Home directory.

Figure 4.41. Selecting a volume to access.


4.
Select the volume you want to access and click OK.

The Mac to which you're connecting appears on your Desktop like any other disk icon, and you're done!

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