How to Access Windows 7 & Windows 8 Shared Folders from Mac OS X

What prerequisites must be met in order to be able to access, from Mac OS X, network folders shared by Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers? In this article I will detail all the dependencies that must be met in order for things to work well and also suggest a solution for what to do when things go wrong. Read on to learn more.

Prerequisites - What To Do Before It Will Work

First of all, your Windows and Mac computers should be part of the same workgroup. Here’s how to change the workgroup settings in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X:

Then, file sharing needs to be appropriately set up on all network computers. Here are a some guides to help you:

This procedure won’t work if the user accounts you defined on your Windows computers have no password set. You must set a password for them, in order to access their shared folders successfully.

How it Should Work - Access Network Shared Folders from the Finder

If the Mac OS X is not picky, all should work well if all the prerequisites are met. To access a shared folder from a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer, open the Finder.

Then, in the Shared section, find and open the Windows computer you want to connect to.

How to Access Windows 7 & Windows 8 Shared Folders from Mac OS X

Depending on how file sharing was set, you might need to press Connect As and enter the user name and password of a user account that has access to the folders shared on that Windows computer.

If you are connecting to a Windows 8 computer, select Registered User, type the email address of the Microsoft account you are using on it, its password and hit Connect.

How to Access Windows 7 & Windows 8 Shared Folders from Mac OS X

If you don’t want to enter the log in details each time you connect to that computer’s shared folders, check the box which says "Remember this password in my keychain", before you connect.

Now, the Mac OS X Finder should be displaying the folders shared by the selected Windows computer.

How to Access Windows 7 & Windows 8 Shared Folders from Mac OS X

You can browse the shared folders you want to access and work with them as if they were local folders.

Conclusion

In theory, sharing files and folders between Windows computers and Macs should not be a hard thing to do. However, it can happen that, even if you meet all the prerequisites detailed in this tutorial, accessing Windows shared folders still doesn’t work. Apple’s OS X is picky like that when it comes to networking with non-Apple operating systems and devices.

The last thing you could do is to map a Windows shared folder in OS X, so that OS X remembers the login credentials and the exact IP address of the Windows computer you are trying to access. This tutorial can be found in the list of articles recommended below.