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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Configuring Traditional File and Folder Sharing

When AirDrop won’t do (you need to browse another computer’s files or share with Windows/older Macs), you need to turn to the traditional file sharing features built into OS X. El Capitan provides consolidated controls for sharing files, regardless of what type of computer you want to share them with. You set up file sharing by first enabling sharing for your Mac and then choosing the protocols available for accessing the files. Finally, you decide which folders should be shared and who should see them.

Enabling File Sharing

Before your Mac can make any files or folders available over a network, you must enable File Sharing.

  1. In the System Preferences, click the Sharing icon.

  2. Click the checkbox in front of the service labeled File Sharing.
  3. The details about your sharing configuration are displayed on the right side of the sharing window.
  4. Close the Sharing Preferences panel, or continue configuring other sharing options.

Choosing File Sharing Protocols

Files can be shared over AFP (Legacy OS X) or SMB (current OS X and Windows). If possible, stick to SMB for the best speeds.

To choose which protocols can be used to access the files on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. In System Preferences, click the Sharing icon.

  2. Click the File Sharing service label.
  3. Click the Options button to display the available sharing protocols.

  4. Check or uncheck the protocols that you want to use. If you are only sharing between El Capitan machines, all you need is SMB.
  5. If you want to use SMB to share specifically with Windows systems, you must enable each account for access. Within the Windows File Sharing section, check the box in front of each user that should be allowed to connect.

  6. Enter the password for each account and click OK.

  7. Click Done.
  8. Close the Sharing Preferences, or continue configuring sharing options.

Selecting Folders and Permissions

After enabling file sharing and choosing the protocols that are used, your next step is to pick the folders that can be shared. By default, each user’s Public folder is shared and accessible by anyone with an account on your computer. (See Chapter 14, “Securing and Protecting Your Mac,” for configuring user accounts.)

  1. In the System Preferences, click the Sharing icon.

  2. Click the File Sharing service label.
  3. Click the + button under Shared Folders to share a new folder.

  4. Find the folder you want to make available and then click the Add button.
  5. Close the System Preferences, or continue configuring sharing options.

Setting Folder Access Permissions

By default, your user account has full access to anything that you share. The default user group named Staff, and everyone with an account on the computer, has read-only access.

To change who can access a file share, complete the following steps:

  1. In the System Preferences window, click the Sharing icon.

  2. Click the File Sharing service label.
  3. Click the Shared Folder name that you want to modify.
  4. Click the + button under the Users list to add a new user (or – to remove access for a selected user).

  5. A window for selecting a user displays. Within the Users & Groups category, pick the user or group and click Select.

  6. Use the pop-up menu to the right of each user in the Users list to choose what the user can do within the shared folder.
  7. Close the System Preferences.

Browsing and Connecting to Network Shares

Browsing and connecting to a local network share to find shared files you want to access is similar to browsing through the folders located on your Mac. To browse for available network shares, do the following:

  1. Open a new Finder window and make sure the Shared sidebar section is expanded.
  2. Click the computer that is sharing the folders and files that you want to access.
  3. If you have not logged into the computer before and saved your password, a list of the publicly accessible file shares is displayed in the Finder window.
  4. Click the Connect As button on the upper right of the Finder window.

  5. Enter the username and password that you have established for accessing files on the server.
  6. Click Remember This Password in My Keychain to enable browsing directly to the file shares in the future.
  7. Click Connect.

  8. The file share list updates to display all the shares that your user account can access. Double-click the share you want to use.

  9. The share is mounted as a disk and can be used as if it were local to your Mac.

Connecting to Remote Shares

Sometimes file shares aren’t directly browseable because they’re hiding their available shares, or they are located on a different network from your Mac. To access remote shares by URL, follow these steps:

  1. When you create a new file share on your Mac, El Capitan provides you with a list of URLs that can be used to access that file share (see step 3 of “Enabling File Sharing”). You can use these URLs to directly access a file share rather than browsing.

  2. Choose Go, Connect to Server from the Finder menu.

  3. Enter the URL for the file share in the Server Address field.
  4. Click + if you want to add the server to the list of favorite servers.
  5. Click Connect to connect to the server and view the available shares.

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