How to Create a Shared Folder on macOS

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How to Set Up File Permissions

You can use the shared folder method to give another user access to your files, exchange files with other users, or to receive files from others. Depending on your goals, you might want to specify the amount of access that you want to give another user when sharing your files with them. To set up file permissions, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Sharing dialog box by following the path Apple menu > System Preferences > Sharing
  2. Under Users, select the user from the list that you want to edit file permissions for. 
  3. Next to the username, you can select one of the following options:
  • Read & Write: The selected user can both open and copy files to and from the shared folder.
  • Read Only: The user can only view and open the contents of the shared folder but can’t copy files to and from the folder.
  • Write Only (Drop Box): The user can only copy the files to and from the folder but can’t open them.
  • No access: The user can’t view or copy files to or from the shared folder. 

Your choice will be automatically saved. Once you’re happy with the set permissions, you can close the Sharing dialog box. 

You can also change the file permissions of your shared folder in the Info section. To do that, follow the path shared folder > Get Info > Sharing & Permissions


Making a client connection from Windows ^

I trust that you are familiar with the myriad methods by which we can establish an SMB-based client connection to a file server:

  • The Map Network Drive command in Windows Explorer
  • Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path from the Run box
  • The net use command
  • Network Control Panel item

The following exhibit demonstrates the process of mapping a Windows drive letter to a Mac-based SMB share by using the archaic net use command.

Connecting to Mac OS X share from Windows

In observing the previous exhibit, the question probably arose in your mind, “What about authentication? What is going on here, exactly?” Well, the reason why I was able to run the above net use command without specifying Mac credentials is because I allowed access to the Everyone special identity. This identity works the same way in Mac OS X as it does in Windows—the same security precautions apply regarding its use, too.

If you want to make an authenticated connection to a Mac share by specifying credentials, then we should map a network drive using Windows Explorer.

Mapping a network drive in Windows

In the Map Network Drive dialog box, type the UNC path to the Mac share, and be sure to enable the Connect using different credentials option. Next, click Finish.

Configuring a mapped drive

You are now prompted for your “workgroup” credentials. Type in your desired Mac OS X account creds and then click OK.

Providing Mac OS X credentials

If all goes well, then the new mapped volume will appear in Windows Explorer:

Connection to Mac from Windows Explorer

How to Enable User Account Sharing

With file sharing turned on, you can now decide if you wish to share user account home folders. When you enable this option, a Mac user who has a home folder on your Mac can access it from a PC running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, as long as they log in with the same user account information on the PC.

  1. Just below the Share files and folder using SMB section is a list of user accounts on your Mac. Place a checkmark next to the account that you wish to allow to share files. You'll be asked to enter the password for the selected account. Provide the password and click OK.

  2. Repeat the above steps for any additional users that you want to have access to SMB file sharing.

  3. Click the Done button once you have the user accounts you wish to share configured.

How to Define Access Rights

Folders you add to the shared list have a set of defined access rights. By default, the current owner of the folder has read and write access; everyone else is limited to read access.

You can change the default access rights by performing the following steps.

  1. Select a folder in the list of Shared Folders.

  2. The Users list will display the names of the users who have access rights. Next to each user's name is a menu of available access rights.

  3. Add a user to the list by clicking the plus (+) sign just below the Users list.

  4. A drop-down sheet will display a list of the Users & Groups on your Mac. The list includes individual users as well as groups, such as administrators.

    You can also select individuals from your Contacts list, but this requires the Mac and the PC to use the same directory services.

  5. Click a name or group in the list, and then click the Select button.

  6. To change access rights for a user or group, click their name in the Users list, and then click the current access rights for that user or group.

  7. A pop-up menu will appear with a list of available access rights. Four types of access rights are available, but not all of them are available for every type of user.

    • Read & Write. The user can read files, copy files, create new files, edit files within the shared folder, and delete files from the shared folder.
    • Read Only. The user may read files, but not create, edit, copy, or delete files.
    • Write Only (Drop Box). The user may copy files to the drop box, but won't be able to see or access the contents of the drop box folder.
    • No Access. The user will not be able to access any files in the shared folder or any information about the shared folder. This access option is primarily used for the special Everyone user, which is a way to allow or prevent guest access to folders.

  8. Select the type of access you wish to allow.

  9. Repeat these steps for each shared folder and user.

  10. Depending on the type of computer you are trying to share files with, you may also need to configure a Workgroup Name.


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