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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

How do I connect a Mac to a PC?


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5tevie

 
Member Since: Oct 30, 2010
Location: Blackburn, Lancs, North West England
Posts: 321
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Mac Specs: Mac Mini Aluminium running at 2.4 GHz.

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Hello guys and guyesses,
I use a Mac Mini as my main computer but my wife insists on using a Windows PC running W7. I also have a laptop that dual boots into either Windows XP sp3 or Ubuntu. There is also a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. All of these devices can browse the www. do e-mails and any other task to do with the internet (Am I giving too much info here?)
Anyway, what I want to do is make it possible for either of us to view and work with files on any of the other computers. Maybe watch a film on the laptop when the actual file of the film is on my Mac or edit a Word doc and save to the original computer.
Is such a thing possible and, if it is, could some kind soul please explain how it is done. Just imagine that you are talking to the village idiot and that will set the right level of expertise.
Cheers,
Steve.

The trouble with letting people like me loose on the interweb with a debit card is that I now have the latest Mac Mini Aluminium running at 2.4 GHz with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 320 HDD and OS X 10.6.5 all wired up to a 70" LED screen ...... And not the faintest idea of how to use it.
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chas_m

 
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Okay.

The film thing is easy -- buy an Apple TV. As long as the media files are compatible with iTunes (ie, MP4/AAC) they can be streamed from either PCs or Macs. XP is supported, Ubuntu isn't. Believe me, you'll love the Apple TV.

The document thing is a little more complicated, but if network shares on the PC are available, the Mac will "just see" them. I'm not Windows-savvy enough anymore to walk you through the setup for a shared folder, but I remember it as being pretty simple and I'm sure someone here can guide you.

I might suggest, however, that a more "no brainer" solution would be to use a service like Dropbox as common cloud storage for the documents you are likely to share. That way you not only have a common "shared folder" you can access from any of your computers or mobile devices, but you also have both a local and "off-site" copy of the files, since the Dropbox/Copy/etc folder is duplicated on your HD and constantly kept in sync.

Dropbox offers 2GB of space for free, or you could use the service I like -- Copy.com. You get 15GB for free (or, if you'll use my referral code, 20GB). There are no strings, it works just like Dropbox -- just a lot more space free. And of course there are many, many other companies that offer something like this -- Box, Sugarsync, Amazon S3, Skydrive, and a bunch more.

Hope that helps!
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5tevie

 
Member Since: Oct 30, 2010
Location: Blackburn, Lancs, North West England
Posts: 321
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It DOES help, Chas. Thanks very much.
Just let me see if I have understood you correctly. (I'm old, you know)
I can send stuff from one computer to this "Drop Box" thing and then go to another computer and navigate my way to "Drop Box" to use the file.
OK, do I use it In Situ or do I download the file to the second computer? Because, if I have to download it, I may as well copy the file (.doc or movie) to an SD card and move the SD card over to the second PC.
Cheers,
Steve

The trouble with letting people like me loose on the interweb with a debit card is that I now have the latest Mac Mini Aluminium running at 2.4 GHz with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 320 HDD and OS X 10.6.5 all wired up to a 70" LED screen ...... And not the faintest idea of how to use it.
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MacInWin

 
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Member Since: Jul 07, 2008
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Dropbox is a cloud service that hosts files. You create a dropbox folder on the Mac and on the PC. Both connect to the same dropbox account. When you want to move a file from Mac to PC, just drop it in the dropbox folder and it will sync up the the cloud and then back down to the PC, where it will appear in the dropbox folder. When she moves it out of the dropbox folder on her PC, it will disappear from the cloud and from your dropbox folder as well. File moved, no sweat.

EDIT: Now having said that, the fact is that nothing beats the bandwidth of "sneaker net." The time it takes to go up and come back down will depend on your internet speeds, whereas copying to an SD card and carrying it to the PC doesn't have that bottleneck. But on the other hand, sneaker-net gets annoying pretty quickly.

- Jake
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5tevie

 
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OK, that sounds easy enough. I'll give it a try later and see what happens.
Ta very much for your help.
Steve

The trouble with letting people like me loose on the interweb with a debit card is that I now have the latest Mac Mini Aluminium running at 2.4 GHz with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 320 HDD and OS X 10.6.5 all wired up to a 70" LED screen ...... And not the faintest idea of how to use it.
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mrplow

 
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The shared folder idea, once configured, will solve all of your queries if you're talking about sharing between devices, watching movies etc on other devices.

The AppleTV solution is only of use if a) your content is in iTunes and b) you just want to watch it on a TV. It doesn't facilitate viewing device to device.

One last thing, Dropbox supports lan sync (not sure of any other 'cloud' solution that does but happy to be corrected). This means that when you add a file to dropbox on one device the other devices on that account will try and get the file over your local network first.

What I'd suggest is setting up shared folders for things like movies/videos and something like dropbox for documents.

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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5tevie

 
Member Since: Oct 30, 2010
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Mr Plow wrote ..... What I'd suggest is setting up shared folders for things like movies/videos and something like dropbox for documents.

That sounds a bit like what was suggested to me by a bloke I was talking to originally when the whole idea of doing this "Swapping files" malarkey cropped up. He had been on to Google to try to figure it out but without success. What he told me was that trying to organise "shared" folders between a Mac and a Windows PC was a bit to complicated for him and, to be honest, he's much more computer savvy than I am.
So my next question is, Can anybody tell me how to make a folder shareable on a Mac desktop? I can maybe then go to a Windows PC forum and ask how they share folders so then, with both lots of info in front of me in black and white, maybe I can cobble together a Fix-it.
Many thanks,
Steve.

The trouble with letting people like me loose on the interweb with a debit card is that I now have the latest Mac Mini Aluminium running at 2.4 GHz with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, 320 HDD and OS X 10.6.5 all wired up to a 70" LED screen ...... And not the faintest idea of how to use it.
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mrplow

 
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Here's a good place to start.

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

Post back with further questions once you've worked through the tutorial

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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vansmith

 
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The documents one is easy - use something like Google Docs. The documents are available online (so all your PCs will be supported) and the mobile app works for both Android and iOS which means you'll be able to edit the files on every device and see them everywhere else. Getting started guides are here. To use it on your mobile devices, search for Google Drive in Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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