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Creating Mac Shares


Creating Mac SharesThis post covers a few different things – the title doesn’t do it justice. We’ve got a network theme working this week and we’re going to keep it rolling with shares.

If you’re coming from Windows you’re probably a little surprised at how your Mac handles sharing compared to Windows. If you’re familiar with UNIX and Linux it probably all makes perfect sense.

Here’s what the screencast covers:

  • Gain access to an external drive, that isn’t shared, connected to a different machine
  • Share a USB drive on the local machine
  • Copy contacts (.vcf) from a Windows machine directly to a Mac-formatted iPod.

Sounds like a lot, but we’ll use some simple tools to make it really easy.

In Windows you may have right-clicked folders and drives and found menu items for sharing the resources on the network. You don’t see those on the Mac, do you? Your Mac figures you keep everything in your home folder, which you can easily share in System Preferences. But when you add a second internal drive to your G5 or plug in a USB drive, you have no way to share them.

We have two techniques and a different tool for each. First, we’ll connect to a remote computer and create a symbolic link using the ln command (Terminal). The link will make an external drive, an iPod in the screencast, appear as a subfolder in the Public folder on the remote machine.

When we connect to the remote computer we can see the iPod contents via the Public folder.

Read more about ln and symbolic links here. In the Windows world you might have used Server Manager or the MMC to create a remote share. We’re not really creating a remote share, we’re linking additional resources into an existing share.

Next we’ll use Hornware’s SharePoints, a donation-ware tool that makes sharing folders and drives connected to your Mac a cakewalk.

Here’s the cool part: We’ll access the shared iPod from a Windows machine. If you keep all your contacts on a PC laptop this is a good way to copy them to your Mac-paired iPod.

The ln part of the screencast was inspired by this post on MacOSXHints.

Note: This screencast assumes some familiarity with Terminal. If you’re confused by the screencast, see Murphy Mac’s Terminal category in the Sidebar to the right. You might want to watch this first. Be careful with the Terminal! Its power can be dangerous!

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4 comments to “Creating Mac Shares”

  1. Hi Murphy, thanks for your excellent tutorials. I discovered them just a week ago but I’ve worked my way back through most of your archive and I learned a lot. One thing I’d like to do however, is connect to my iMac’s home folder from my MacBook when I’m not at home, i.e. over the internet, and get the files I want from there (over a secure connection, of course). I haven’t got a clue on how I should go about it, though. Would you think that’d be an interesting subject for a future tutorial? I believe it might be of interest to many people, too.
    Even if you don’t, I’ll keep visiting your site. tho. thanks a lot!

  2. That’s a great topic Buster, and there are a couple different ways to do it. Send me an email – murphy at murphymac dot com and I can get you started.
    I need to know how your Internet access is set up with regard to a router.

    We’ll get a screencast on this soon.

    Thanks for visiting –


  3. Even after more than three years, your screencasts are still useful! It made it pretty easy for me to understand how to do what I was trying to do: share a CD on my Mac to a Windows computer. Thanks!

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