FAQ on connecting Mac (OS X) to a Windows network?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 8, 2003
Yet another question in my possible switch from Windows....

I'd be buying a notebook (probably PowerBook) which would be used predominantly at home. However, there are instances at both home and the office that I would need to connect to Windows PCs:

At home, we have a network (no domain, just a workgroup) set up through a router..curently with one Windows XP PC and one Windows 2000 PC - and the obvious possiblity of the Mac being added.

At work, I would need to connect to the other PCs and Windows servers (2000 server, SQL, Exchange and Small Business Server).

I was hoping to find information on what to expect should I abandon my Dell laptop for a Mac (Would they talk natively, or would I need to add a program like Samba, etc).

Is there a quick answer to this, or somewhere I should head to find out more information on this?



macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2002
Chinatown NYC
Samba is already built into OS X. In terms of connecting to other PCs, it's quite seamless. Just select "connect to server" from the Finder (equivalent to Windows Explorer), and the PCs in your network automatically show up. Select a computer to connect to , and then you'll be presented with a dropdown for which shared folder you want to connect to. Basically, it's just like mapping a drive letter to a shared folder in Windows.

I have a PC desktop at home that I use as a file server, and networking was no problem.

Hope this helps!


Moderator emeritus
Nov 28, 2001
down in Fraggle Rock
connecting to a windows server is actually no different than connecting to another mac. the windows machines show up in the network browser just like macs. networking also works flawlessly with linux and unix machines.


macrumors 65816
Dec 3, 2002
i feel i must mention, while connecting the mac to the pc is easy, sometimes getting the pc to look at the mac is another story. i should probably post this as another thread but i'll ask, as it's on topic. when i've mapped a pc to my mac, i've been able to see everything on the machine, just like when i'm on a pc, but when my friends try to access my machine they have to have an acct set up, and then they're only allowed to see what's in their personal user folder, where i can't do anything! now, this is completely different than what i've done on pc's, and a bit frustrating. is this some kind of built-in security by osx? i finally found a something resembling a work around (by changing ownership) but surely there's got to be an easier way to share files w/windoze than this drop box thing?