Moving Files from Windows to Mac

When you make the switch from a Windows box to a Mac, you are going to need to copy all of your data files over to the Mac. The quickest way to do that is over a network. Yes, you can use “old school” media such as CDs, DVDs or USB thumb drives, but this is very tedious and will take forever. Networking the Windows and Mac machines is actually not very hard. It is not quite as straightforward as networking two Windows machines together, but if I can manage to do it on my second day using OS X, it can’t be too hard.

Networking Windows and Mac OS X

Windows and Mac come from different ends of the operating system spectrum, but luckily both are easy enough to use that networking them together isn’t brain surgery. Here is how to set it up so as to be able to move files from your Windows machine to the Mac. I am going to assume you know at least some basic networking here.

  1. Under Windows, you need to find our your workgroup name if you don’t already know it. So, go to Control Panel -> System -> Computer Name. Your workgroup will be listed. Make note of it as you will need to set the Mac up to use it.
  2. Find the folders your data is in that you want to move and enable file sharing on those folders if not already done.
  3. Now, on the Mac, go to System Preferences -> Sharing. Enable file sharing on the Mac by checking that option. Next, click Options and be sure “Share Files and folders using SMB” is checked. Select your Mac username from the list by checking that. Hit Done.
  4. Next, go to Network under System Preferences. Hit the Advanced button. Go to the “WINS” tab and enter or select your workgroup name. Hit OK.
  5. In Finder, select “Connect to Server…”. Enter “smb://[IP ADDRESS]/[SHARE NAME]” and hit Connect. [IP ADDRESS] is the IP address of your Windows machine. [SHARE NAME] is the name you assigned to the shared folder on your Windows machine. If you do not know the IP address of your Windows machine on your network, go to the command prompt and type in “ipconfig”.
  6. If all works correctly, the Mac should be able to connect to and display the files in your shared folder inside of Finder. From there, you can copy the files over to your Mac and place them wherever you want.

To all long-time Mac users, it is quite possible that some of this isn’t necessary to get the job done. All I know is it worked for me.

Comments

  1. Jim Winter says:

    Excellent instructions and worked a treat! Many thanks.

  2. kevin miller says:

    I dont see connect to server in finder.. :(

  3. i did n’t get server it says server not found tay again

  4. I had to tweek and fiddle with some things as I went through your steps … I had no idea what I was doing but this article was invaluable! Thank you.

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