Troubleshoot Mac-to-PC network

I’m a Mac. He’s a PC. We make it work.

We wanted to be able to share a folder from Chris’s hard drive, so that I can connect to it as a server. (This way, the folder content resides on his computer and doesn’t take up my storage space.) We’ve done it before, but for some reason were unable to set it up again last night. So, in another note to self, here are the things we tried (assuming the PC folder has been shared).

The usual way:

  • Network Utility (in Applications > Utilities): make sure I can ping to his PC’s IP address.
  • In Finder, under Go > Connect to Server…: for the server address, enter smb://His-Computer-Name/path/to/shared/folder
    • If the connection works, a prompt for username and password appears. Chris enters his username and password (the same that he uses to log in on his machine). The folder is now accessible from my Mac.

When this didn’t work right away, we tried changing a few other settings on the Mac:

  • System Preferences > Network: Select the internet connection (for me, it’s Ethernet). Click “Advanced…” and go to the WINS tab. For “Workgroup” enter WORKGROUP and for “WINS Servers” enter the IP address of the PC.
    • We tried “Connect to Server…” here and failed.
  • Using the Terminal, enter smbclient //His-Computer-Name/path/to/shared/folder
    • Chris’s password was requested and submitted without any error messages
    • I attempted ls and received NT_STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED listing
    • We tried ”Connect to Server…” here and succeeded.

So, it’s not apparent which step actually solved the problem; Chris thought that perhaps accessing the PC via command line helped clear some problematic settings. In any case, we can try these steps again next time!

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