Need to share files between a Mac and PC? No problem.

If you have files and media on PC you need to get to your Mac, you shouldn't need to download additional software, as long as your Mac and PC are on the same network. This is because Apple gives you everything you need out of the box, you just have to know where to look.

Switch to Mac

Every week our Peter Cohen brings you Switch to Mac — a column to help you move from Windows PC to the Mac and OS X!

The key is the Sharing system preference. Sharing enables you to share the Mac's resources on your network: You can share your screen with other users, share a printer connected locally using USB, perform remote administrative actions, and share Internet and Bluetooth connection too.

Sharing files between Macs and PCs is no problem, either. There's an advanced option to help you set it up; here's how to use it.

To share files on your Mac with a PC

  1. Hold down the command key and press the space bar to open Spotlight.
  2. Type sharing and find the Sharing system preference to open it.
  3. Click the checkbox next to File Sharing.
  4. Click the Options... button.
  5. Check the user account you'd like to share with Windows computers where it says Windows File Sharing. You'll be prompted to enter the password for that account.
  6. Click on the Done button to save changes.

That's it! Once you've shared your files you should be able to see your Mac's shared directory from Windows computers on the local network.