Get Leopard and Windows to play nice

Mac OS X and Windows machines don't get along, right? Wrong. Try our tips for cross-platform happiness on your network.

Configuring a Mac to participate in a Windows network, step 2: In the Advanced Network Options dialog, click the WINS tab and fill in the NetBIOS name and the workgroup name. If a WINS server is used on the network, fill in the address.

Configuring a Mac to participate in a Windows network, step 2: In the Advanced Network Options dialog, click the WINS tab and fill in the NetBIOS name and the workgroup name. If a WINS server is used on the network, fill in the address.

One of the major selling points for Macs and Mac OS X Leopard these days is their ability to work well in a largely Windows world. Apple offers two ways to accomplish this task: Leopard's ability to share files and printers with Windows machines, and the ability of Intel-based Macs to run Windows using either Boot Camp (which is included free as part of Leopard) or third-party virtualization tools.

Although Leopard and Windows typically play well together, understanding some of the nuances for getting a new Mac to talk with your existing PCs -- or getting the best experience running Windows on that new Mac -- can sometimes be a little challenging. In this article, we'll look at some of the details you should understand to get the best of both worlds.

When Leopard and Windows need to talk on a network

Our first set of tips relates to those situations where you have one or more Macs running Leopard that need to share files or other resources with Windows machines over a network connection. For the most part, these tips apply to home or small office environments.

Configuring network settings

On a Windows network, NetBIOS names, workgroups and Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) settings play a key role in communication among computers. As advanced Windows users know, the NetBIOS name for a computer establishes its identity on a network.

A workgroup identifies a group of computers that can communicate using SMB (short for Server Message Block ), the native file and printer sharing protocol for Windows. In the My Network Places window, individual computers are displayed within the context of their workgroups.

This is possible because SMB supports the discovery of devices on a local network using broadcasts to determine which devices are available. Normally, one PC in a workgroup, typically the first one powered on, assumes the role of the master browser on a local network and maintains a list of available devices.

Workgroups are commonly used in home and small business environments, since they provide some organizational capabilities but don't require a centralized server to manage them. A related feature in some larger environments is WINS, which provides a mechanism for enabling device self-discovery in environments where there are large numbers of PCs and other SMB devices, or where there are multiple network segments connected via a router.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windowsleopard

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ryan Faas

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?