There are many methods of transferring files between MAC and Windows based computers, but they do not always meet everybody’s needs. Using a cloud service in part relies on your upload speed, which is still pretty slow for most people using WiFi.
External hard drives can be quite costly, and USB sticks work fine for small amounts of data, but if you’re doing a full backup or hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes, it soon becomes impractical.
By far the fastest and most efficient method of PC to MAC and Mac to PC file transfers, is via Ethernet cable (LAN). Because the connection is direct and wired, the transfer will not be interrupted.
A standard Cat5e cable transfers data at 125 megabytes per second, which is at least double the speed of USB 2.0 and much faster than the average wireless upload speed.
Below is a step by step guide to transferring files between the two operating systems via Ethernet cable, which will produce lightning quick speeds.
Step 1: Hook Up The Ethernet Cable
Whether you are using desktop computers, laptops, or one of each, you will first need to hook up a crossover LAN cable between the two machines. These can be purchased for just a few dollars from Amazon or virtually any computer store.
Step 2: Switch Off Password Protection On PC
First you need to turn off passwords so you have no errors with your connection later on. To do this go to the Windows PC Control Panel and open the Network and Sharing Center.
This can also be accessed via the connection icon in the system tray at the bottom right corner of your display.
On the left hand panel of the new window click Change Advanced Sharing Settings and check Turn off password protected sharing.
Step 3: Identify Windows IP Address
Now you need to check the connection has been recognized and then identify the IP Address of the Windows machine. On the left hand panel of the Network and Sharing Center open Change adapter settings, and you should see an icon for the Local Area Connection.
This is your LAN/Ethernet Connection. Click the icon and check that the connection has been established, which you’ll know if it displays a speed and duration.
Now click the Details button. What you need to note down from here is the Autoconfiguration IPv4 Address, which is the IP Address of the Windows computer.
Step 4: Choose What To Share
Next locate the files and folders you wish to transfer. For example you might want to share your Videos Library. So go to Libraries, right click on Videos, and select Share With > Specific People.
We will be creating a new user called Everyone, so type Everyone with a capital E in the empty field and click the Add button. Then use the drop down arrow of the ‘Everyone’ user to select Read/Write.
Once this is done click Share and Next. This folder is now ready to be recognized by the MAC through the LAN connection.
Step 5: Access Shared Folder Using MAC
Jump over to your MAC machine and click the Finder icon. In the new window use the shortcut keys Command + K, which should bring up the Connect to Server window.
Here you need to first enter the smb:// protocol and then follow this with the IP Address noted from Step 3. Think of it like a web address, but without the http://.
Click Connect and when you’re prompted to login, check Everyone instead of Registered User.
If prompted, click ok and then it should display your shared folder. This might be one level deep, with the root folder named as your Windows machine’s User Profile name.
Step 6: Complete Your Transfers
All files within your shared Videos folder can now be accessed from the MAC, and for a permanent transfer you can copy and paste them to a new location on the MAC’s hard drive.
Alternatively if you want to transfer files from the MAC to the PC, simply paste them in to the shared folder. It might be worth creating a brand new folder on your PC called MAC to keep things tidy.
From now on your settings should be remembered and you can just plugin your Ethernet cable between the two computers at any time to carry on sharing folders.