DSL Extreme
Where are you? Support > Knowledge Base > Macintosh > Mac OS X File Sharing

Mac OS X File Sharing  

Mac OS X File Sharing
File Sharing allows you to copy items from one computer to another, or to use files stored on another computer. Instructions and pertinent background information on sharing are provided here to help you.
Mac OS X 10.0 and later allows you to share the contents of your Public folder.
Others can also copy files to your Drop Box folder located in your Public folder.
You set up File Sharing using the Sharing and Network panes of the System Preferences application.
You can further define your Sharing privileges using the Info window.
Mac OS X offers services that allow you to both share with and connect to other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows.
I. Prepare to Share
Connect computers to each other or to Internet
To share between computers that are at the same location, connect them to an Ethernet network or an AirPort network. For more information, see technical document 106658 on the Apple web site: "Creating a Small Ethernet Network"
You may also share over the Internet. A single computer using any kind of modem to connect to the Internet can share files, but the "Connecting between remote networks" section below applies.
Computers need IP addresses
If your computer does not have an IP address that is valid for your network set in the Network pane of System Preferences, see technical document 106659 on the Apple web site: "Mac OS: How to Get an IP Address for Connecting to the Internet"
Note: Mac OS X versions 10.0 to 10.0.4 can only connect to AppleShare over TCP/IP. For information related to the TCP/IP requirement, see technical document 106262 on the Apple web site: "Mac OS X 10.0: Connecting to AppleShare or File Sharing Requires TCP/IP".
Connecting to the Internet and a local network (or LAN) at the same time
If you want to connect to the Internet while performing any TCP/IP activity (such as File Sharing) on a local network, your computers must be set up properly to do both at the same time. See technical document 106919 on the Apple web site, "Mac OS: How to Connect to the Internet and Share Files Locally at the Same Time".
File Sharing with other Apple operating systems
This article concentrates only on File Sharing for Mac OS X. When properly set up, various Apple operating systems (such as Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, and AppleShare IP) can connect with each other. Be aware that the sharing service has other names, such as AppleShare and Apple File Protocol (AFP). When you connect to any of them, their behavior is superficially the same.
Note: If you want to share with Mac OS 8, be sure to enable AppleTalk as described in steps 5 and 6 below. Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X can both connect over TCP/IP without AppleTalk, so this step is optional in the absence of Mac OS 8. Potentially, there may also be third-party AppleTalk software that runs on non-Apple operating systems.
Sharing with non-Apple operating systems
This article describes the most simple form of sharing available to Macintosh users (AppleShare). Other methods are available for communicating with other operating systems. See technical documents on the Apple web site.
106660: "Mac OS X: Sharing With Non-Apple Operating Systems"
19652: "Macintosh: Networking With a Windows PC"
Connecting between remote networks
Mac OS X can share over the Internet (TCP/IP), as can Mac OS 9 and AppleShare IP. This allows Macintosh computers in remote locations to share files with any type of Internet connection. For more information, see technical document 106661 on the Apple web site: "Mac OS: Sharing Between Remote Networks, Sharing Over the Internet"
All Public folders are shared. Only Public folders are shared.
See technical document 106662 on the Apple web site: "Mac OS X: Only Public Folders Are Shared"
File Sharing is for up to 10 users
Up to 10 users may connect to File Sharing simultaneously. If you need to connect more users at once, you should upgrade to Unlimited-Client version of Mac OS X Server (http://www.apple.com/server/ ).
II. Start Sharing
1. Place files to share in your Public folder.
2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. See Note 1.
3. Click the Network icon.
4. Choose the port you are going to share on (Built-in Ethernet or AirPort) from the Show pop-up menu. See Note 2.
5. Click the AppleTalk tab.
6. Click the checkbox to select Make AppleTalk Active.
7. Click Save.
8. Click the Show All icon in the upper left corner of the window.
9. Click the Sharing icon.
10. In the Computer Name field, type the name you wish to appear on the network for your computer. See Note 3.
11. Click Start in the File Sharing section. For Mac OS X 10.2 and later, select Personal File Sharing.
Repeat this process on any other Mac OS X computer that you wish to receive File Sharing connections.
1. Users sharing between remote locations skip steps 3 to 8. Users of dial-up must connect before step 11.
2. Prior to Mac OS X 10.1, the Show menu was named "Configure."
3. If you change your Computer Name in the future, you must stop and restart File Sharing for the name change to take effect.
Managing privileges for shared data
Optionally, you can change the access privileges for items in your Public folder.
To change privileges for your entire Public folder:
1. Select your Public folder in a Finder window.
2. Choose Show Info from the File menu.
3. Set the Show pop-up menu to Privileges.
4. You may now adjust user access privileges for the folder.
You can use the same steps for items in the Public folder. The Show Info window in Mac OS X is dynamic, meaning that it will automatically refresh when you select a new item in the Finder.
III. Connect to a Sharing computer
How you connect to a Mac OS X computer that is sharing depends on two major factors:
the version of Mac OS on the connecting, or "client," computer
whether the client is local (on the same network) or remote
The steps you need to follow are found in technical document 107369 on the Apple web site, "Mac OS: How to Connect to File Sharing or Apple File Services (AFP)".
IV. Troubleshooting
1. First, be sure you have followed the steps in this article correctly and reviewed the topics in Section I.
2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
3. Click Network.
4. Choose the network interface you are using from the Configure pop-up menu.
5. Click the TCP/IP tab.
6. Check to be sure that your computer has an IP address that is valid for your network. If your Configure menu is set to Manually, you also need to ensure that the Router and Subnet Mask entries are correct for your network. If you are not sure, check with the network administrator or Internet service provider.
7. Double check your physical connection: a phone line, Ethernet cable, or AirPort card and antenna. Be sure that what you are using is properly connected. Try swapping cables, or check to see that your AirPort card is properly seated. You can search the Knowledge Base for "AirPort and install." Select the document that matches your computer.
8. For the most reliable AppleTalk connections, Spanning Tree protocol should not be used on the network. See technical document 30922 on the Apple web site: "Spanning Tree Protocol: AppleTalk Issues".


Search our Knowledge Base

Do the links above not match what problem you're trying to solve or question you might have? With over 600 articles and growing our Knowledge Base most likely has what you're looking for.

Enter a Search Term: Or do an Advanced Search

Don't want to search? Go to our Knowledge Base directly

Send an Email to a Representative

Sales & Information

Have some pre-sales questions about our packages or features?

Billing Department

Have a question about your bill or upgrading your package?

Technical Support

Having problems with your Connection? Or setting up your email?

  I want to thank the person that helped me. They were great and I learned 2 new things about my email.  

From Talia S.
  • @wasi_r @DSL Extreme Thanks for the awesome service. I am loving it. Also thanks to @leolaporte and @TWiT
  • @jank0 Wanted to thank @DSL Extreme