Tips for Connecting to Shared Computers with Leopard

What you might see when you connect.

One of the things that threw me for a loop when I started using Leopard on my computers was the way Leopard identified folders on shared disks when a shared computer is set up to synchronize with an iDisk. Here are two examples.

In this first example, I’ve connected to my PowerBook, which happens to be running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. (As I explain here, although my 12-in Powerbook met the minimum requirements for running Leopard, it didn’t run it as well as I liked, so I downgraded it back to Tiger.) The PowerBook’s hard drive is a bit too small for me to turn on iDisk syncing, which basically copies the contents of your iDisk to your hard disk. So iDisk synching is disabled on this computer.

Home DirectoryNote that connecting to the computer using my user account on that computer offers only two options: mlanger (my home folder) and On the Go (the computer’s hard disk). Because I’m logged in with my regular user account on that computer, I have full access to the entire hard disk.

Home as GuestIf I connect to that same computer as a guest, I get only one option: mlanger. Selecting that folder offers access to just the public folder on my Home folder on that computer, with a Drop Box for incoming files. This is the default guest setup on a computer running Mac OS X Tiger.

In this next example, I’ve connected to my iMac computer, which is running Leopard and has two user accounts: mlanger (or Maria Langer) and captvideo (or Capt Video). iDisk synching is enabled, so a network volume icon containing the contents of my iDisk appears on my iMac’s desktop.

When I’m connected to the computer with my regular user account, I have access to numerous items:

  • Home DirectoryCapt Video’s Pubic Folder and Maria Langer’s Public Folder are the public folders for the two accounts on the computer. Selecting one of these would display the contents of the appropriate public folder, along with the Drop Box folder within it. In addition, if I logged in as a guest, only these two folders would be listed for the shared computer.
  • mlanger is my iDisk. Unfortunately, my .Mac account name is the same as the account name on my computer — and yes, the passwords are different — so there’s a bit of confusion there sometimes.
  • mlanger_HomeDir is my home folder on the iMac. You can see the contents in the screenshot here; I’ve added a few folders to customize it a bit.
  • Thinking Big is my hard disk on the iMac.

Of course, the more user accounts or shared items there are on a shared computer, the more items will be listed. Your access to items is limited based on your privileges set up on the computer on which they reside.

Chapter References

Product ImageYou can learn more about related topics in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide:

  • Networking and File Sharing, Chapter 20
  • Multiple Users, Chapter 21

File Sharing: Tiger & Vista, Part 2

A solution for Vista network connection to Macintosh problems.

Back in December, 2005, I wrote an article titled “File Sharing: Tiger & Vista,” in which I reported my efforts in getting my Dual G5 running Tiger to talk to my Dell laptop running Vista. As that article explains, I was able to set up Vista so Mac OS could connect and access the Dell’s files. But I was unable to get Vista to connect to the Dual G5 to access the Mac’s files.

I won’t bore you with my attempts to resolve this problem. It was very frustrating. Microsoft claimed it was an Apple support issue and Apple claimed it was a Microsoft support issue. You know the drill.

In reading through my feeds today, I stumbled across a post on, “Fix a Vista to Mac failure to connect problem.” The author of the article, shoutdown, had found a thread on the forum with instructions for fixing the problem: “Will not accept my password when connecting to WORKGROUP computer.”

I read the thread and followed the instructions. Not only was I able to [finally] connect to my Mac from Vista, but Vista had remembered the password I’d used on all my attempts and just connected me without prompting for a password. What’s even more amazing is that it also allowed me to [finally] set up my shared printer, an HP LaserJet 2100TN directly connected to my G5 via Ethernet, on Vista and even — can you imagine? — print a page!

The problem evidently has something to do with Vista security (what else is new?). From robg on

…it seems the problem is that Microsoft has disabled LM and NTLM authentication, which is what OS X’s version of Samba uses. Microsoft’s preferred solution is to upgrade to Samba 3, which supports NTLMv2, as does Vista.

rogb thoughtfully provides the link to the fix for folks running Vista Home versions, which don’t include Administrative Tools. (I’m running Ultimate, for reasons I’m still unclear about, so shoutdown’s link worked fine for me.)

The bottom line: If you want to connect from your Mac to a Vista machine, read my original “File Sharing: Tiger & Vista” article. If you want to connect from Vista to a Mac, start by reading “Fix a Vista to Mac failure to connect problem.”

File Sharing: Tiger & Vista

Stuck? This might help.

I’ve been working with Vista on my new PC for a few months now. I’d originally done an install over Windows XP, but the other day I did a clean install of the Vista Gold Master, wiping the computer clean so there was no old stuff on there. (When the only thing you use a computer for is to run software you write about, this is pretty painless to do.)

Connect DialogThis resulted in a problem: My PC could no longer access folders on my Mac. I simply could not log in. (For some reason, my computer insisted on inserting its name in the User Name field in the Connect dialog; see screenshot.) And, on the Mac side, I could no longer mount a predetermined folder from my PC on my Mac.

This was a big pain in the butt. When I write about Windows stuff (in this case, Excel 2007), I use screenshot software that dumps the resulting screenshot in a folder on my Mac. I then open the file in Photoshop, do some basic image editing, and save it for use in the manuscript, which I’m working on on my Mac.

So now I could no longer have Windows screenshots automatically saved on my Mac.

Okay, so I was going to have to do some extra work with Vista installed. But the problem was, I couldn’t get networking between the two computers to work at all. And that was something I could not work with.

I spent a lot of time searching Microsoft and Apple tech support databases for help on the problem. (Do you know that if you search the Mac tech support databases for “vista” you come up empty? At least this week.) No answers. But one lead.

As you read this, keep in mind that I am not a Windows person. I’m a Mac person through-and-through but am often asked to write about Windows software. I was recently asked to write about Windows OS stuff and I told the editor that I barely knew enough to keep myself out of trouble and I certainly didn’t want to learn more. So if you’re a Windows person and am amazed with what you are about to read, remember this paragraph, have patience, and use the comments link to gently lead me on the correct path.

Network and Sharing CenterThat said, Vista, unlike XP, does not appear to support the “network places” feature. Instead,there’s a Network and Sharing Center where you can set up Sharing and Discovery options. I found that if I followed the following steps, I could create a Public folder that was accessible by my Mac:

In Windows:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Under Network and Internet, click Set up file sharing.
  3. Turn on the following Sharing and Discovery options:
    Network Discovery (may not be necessary)
    File Sharing
    Public Folder Sharing
    Password Protected Sharing (may not be necessary)
  4. Close the Network and Sharing Center Window. The settings are saved.

In Mac OS:

  1. Click Network in the Sidebar of any Finder window.
  2. Double-click the alias for the Vista PC.
  3. If prompted to Authenticate, enter a Vista User ID and Password.
  4. Connect to PCChoose Public from the pop-up menu.
  5. Click OK.

The Public folder is mounted on your Mac and can be used as a conduit for moving files between computers.

If that helps you, great! But if that was child’s play and you’re wondering why I bothered to take the time to write it and add the screenshots, maybe you can help me.

How can I access a Mac folder from Vista? Yes, I have file sharing turned in Mac OS on and a user specified on Mac OS. I’ve done all the basics, everything covered in the documentation. The problem seems to be that the Vista machine insists on adding the computer name to the Name field of the Connect box (see the first screen shot in this article). How do I get it to stop doing that? What am I doing wrong?

Use the comments link if you have some ideas for me to try.

Articles About Mac OS

Links to some older articles I’ve written about Mac OS.

Looking for articles about Mac OS? Try these.



Macintosh & Windows File Sharing

Maria Speaks Episode 15: Setting Up Macintosh and Windows File Sharing.

This episode is another podcast of one of the articles I wrote for the Web site. Informit is a great source of free articles and other information about computer topics. It’s also where you can buy books by Pearson Education authors like me at a discount. Visit the Informit Web site at Or link to my Informit articles by visiting the Articles page on my web site,

This article explains why and how to set up file sharing between a Macintosh and Windows computer. It covers file sharing in both directions — from Mac to PC and from PC to Mac. If you’re in a mixed platform, networked environment, keep listening to learn how to effortlessly share files between platforms.

This is an enhanced podcast. To take advantage of all features, view with iTunes 6.0 or later or on a video-capable iPod.