Setup Windows Shares on Mac OSX


This is an article I found quite difficult to find when I was experimenting so I shall go into depth as of an improved method to get Windows Shares working on the likes of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012. It is made possible by the technique inbuilt into Mac OSX of SMB (Server Message Block), this allows us to connect to Windows Server 2008 (R2) to share drive volumes.

Starting on the Mac, in this case I am using a Macbook Pro running OSX Yosemite however this does work on OSX El Capitan.

Navigating to System Preferences we select the Sharing menu which will reveal the settings below, you need to enable File Sharing by pressing the tick under the On column. Once this has been done we need to navigate into Options…

OSX File Sharing

Enable File Sharing, then continue to select ‘Options…’

Once we’re in the Options menu you need to select to be able to share files and folders over SMB and the account(s) you wish to be able to do this, you may be prompted for a password if your Mac account is password protected.

OSX SMB Settings

Select Share files and folders using SMB and the account you wish to enable this on, you may select all or more than one. To finish press done.

Once this is done we need to navigate to the Windows Shares server over SMB so that we can connect the volume to the PC.

Open a Finder Window and use the shortcut (Command Key + K) or you can navigate to the top of the window and select Go -> Connect to a Server… (As seen below).

OSX Connect to Server

Select ‘Connect to Server…’

Once this has opened you shall be presented with a box which asks you to enter an IP address. This may be local however I’ve found it also works externally to a server that isn’t hosted locally on the network. The format for this is the following, please note the share must exist and you must have permissions to access it to connect:

Connection Format: Protocol://IP Address/ShareName

Example: SMB://192.168.0.2/Matthew

SMB Mac OSX

SMB Server IP / Share

Note you will be asked for credentials of a user on the Windows Server once selecting ‘Connect’.

At this point the Mac is ready to connect the server and you may wish to navigate beyond the Windows steps if you’ve already completed these. Starting on the Windows Machine you need to open Computer Management, on Windows Server 2008 R2 you’re able to search for this.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Shares

Once open select and expand “Shared Folders” then double click Shares to see all available/current shares.

To see your current shares you’ll be able to see everything in the list that is currently being shared. To create another one navigate to Action -> New Share.

New Share Windows Server 2008 R2

Action -> New Share

 

You shall then need to browse for a file path and location of the share, please note it can be on any drive and doesn’t have to exist. You’ll be prompted to let Windows create the share if you select a location that currently doesn’t exist.

After selecting it’s location you’re able to name the share and it shall show you its Windows Share Path such as “192.168.0.2/Matthew”. The Share name will populate the path below, in my screenshot it has used the Server Hostname rather than the IP but either will allow connection if you’ve setup the hostname DNS. For offline settings you’re able to select all files being available offline, certain ones or none at all and this is up to personal choice. After this menu you have the ability to select who has permissions and yet again these are personal choice between read only, full access or custom access.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Share Names/Path

Share Name, Path and Offline settings.

 

Upon finishing you’ll now have a Windows Share. Navigating to the IP and /Sharename using the SMB protocol will now prompt a login box to login with your Windows Server account credentials. Once you press connect the connecting screen may stay idle for a while especially if the server is external.

As seen in the screenshot below it now duplicates all changes and files on both sides so they’re available via the Windows shares.

Windows Shares replication

Windows Shares replication across Mac OSX and Windows Server 2008 R2

 

Concluding my Windows Shares article and guide I have highlighted how to connect from Mac and setup an accessible Windows Share on Mac OSX. Please note that all drives must be formatted as NTFS and NOT FAT32. Windows C:\ drive is an example of NTFS.

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