How to Share OS X Mountain Lion Files With Windows 8

Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Mountain Lion and Windows to Share

Sharing files between OS X Mountain Lion and a Windows 8 PC is surprisingly easy, although changes in Windows 8 make the process a bit different than it was with Windows 7, Vista, or XP.

This guide will take you through the process of configuring both your Mac and your Windows 8 PC to make your Mountain Lion files accessible from the PC. If you need to access Windows 8 files on your Mac, we have another guide that will take you through that setup process. It will show you how to set up Windows 8 file sharing, including defining access rights, so you can share your Windows files with your Mac.

This guide is made up of multiple parts, each of which will help you complete one or more of the steps necessary to set up file sharing from a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion or a PC running Windows 8. Complete each step below before proceeding to the next one.

Let's get started.

What You Need to Share Your Mountain Lion Files With Windows 8

of 03

File Sharing - Set Up Your OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8 Workgroup Names

Setting Workgroup Name in OS X Mountain Lion
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8 must have the same Workgroup name before they can share files. The Workgroup name is a method of file sharing that was developed by Microsoft many years ago.

Originally, the term "workgroup" denoted a collection of computers or other devices that were shared on a peer-to-peer network; that is, a network where there was no dedicated server. Windows allowed each device to be part of one Workgroup. Using this method, you could partition a network so that only devices with the same Workgroup name could be shared.

The first step in the file sharing setup process is to verify that the Mac and PC have the same Workgroup names or to change the names to match, if necessary.

These instructions will work for OS X Mountain Lion and late,, if you need to set the workgroup name for other versions of OS X, you can do so by using the instructions from the following list:​

of 03

File Sharing With Windows 8 - Set Up OS X Mountain Lion's File Sharing Options

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Mountain Lion offers quite a range of file sharing options, including the option to share files with Windows PCs using SMB (Server Message Block), the native format used by Windows.

In order to share files and folders on your Mac, you will need to select the folders you want to share, as well as define their access rights. Access rights allow you to restrict who can view or make changes to a file or folder. By defining access rights, you can create items such as drop boxes, where a Windows 8 user can drop a file into a folder, but can't see or make any changes to other files in that folder.

You can also use the Mac's file sharing options to enable user-based sharing. With this option, if you use the same login on the Windows 8 PC that you use on your Mac, you can easily access all of your user files from the Windows PC.

No matter how you want to set up your Mac's file sharing, this guide will help you through the process.

of 03

File Sharing With Windows 8 - Access Your Mountain Lion Data From a Windows 8 PC

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

With the Workgroup names configured, and your Mac's file sharing options set up, it's time to head over to your Windows 8 PC and configure it to allow file sharing.

File sharing on a Windows 8 PC is disabled by default. But surprisingly, you don’t have to turn on the file sharing service to actually see and work with the Mac folders you set up for sharing. Instead, you can use a simple access method based on your Mac's IP address or your Mac's network name to gain access.

The IP address or network name method is certainly a quick way to share those files from your Mac, but it has its drawbacks. That’s why this guide will show you not only how to access your shared folders using your Mac's IP address or network name, but also how to turn on the Windows 8 PC's file-sharing services.​

Once the file-sharing services are enabled, you can select the file sharing method that works best for you. Whether it's the quick IP address/network name method or the file sharing service method (which is easier to use, but takes a bit longer to initially set up), we've got you covered in this guide.