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.

The only other thing you need to do to share a printer with Windows computers is to be sure that SMB file sharing is enabled (as outlined above), and the printer will be shared using SMB.

When Leopard and Windows coexist on a single Mac

There are now a range of options for running Windows and Windows applications on a Mac. The primary choices are Apple's dual-boot option Boot Camp, which comes free with Leopard and works with any Intel Mac, and the virtualization tools Parallels Desktop for Mac (US$79.99) and VMware Fusion (US$79.99).

Sun's open-source VirtualBox is a free virtualization option that is beginning to gain popularity despite entering the game well behind the commercial options and offering more limited and less polished features -- for instance, VirtualBox lacks DirectX support for Windows.

While the following tips aren't full-scale guides to any of these products, they do address some common pitfalls.

Ensuring access to Mac and Windows data

Whether you're using Boot Camp or a virtualization product, you'll want to make sure that you have easy access to all your files and folders in both Windows and Mac OS X. But because Mac OS X and Windows rely on different types of formatting for hard drives, that's not always as simple as it sounds.

When dual-booting

If you're using Boot Camp, your hard drive will be partitioned, and one partition will be formatted for access by Windows. You'll be offered two formatting options for the Windows partition: FAT32 and NTFS. Mac OS X can read and write to drives formatted using FAT32, so if you use FAT32, you'll be able to access any files and folders on your Windows partition when your computer is booted into Leopard.

However, Mac OS X does not include full support for NTFS. As a result, if you opt for NTFS, you'll have read-only access to your files on your Windows partition when you boot into Leopard, which can be problematic if you need to make changes to a document or want to add, move or delete files.

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