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If you have a mixed network of Mac and Windows PC’s, chances are good that you’ll be wanting to move files between the two operating systems. The easiest way to share files from Mac OS X to Windows is to enable Samba support for a given user account on the Mac. This tutorial will how to share files between Mac and Windows PC this way.
Samba (SMB) may have a funny name but it’s essentially just Mac OS X to Windows file sharing support. Because it’s not required by all Mac users or for Mac-to-Mac sharing, it’s actually a separate unique sharing option within Mac OS X File Sharing panel, and enabling it allows a Windows PC to connect to the Mac without any additional software. Let’s cover exactly how to enable this feature, and then how to connect to a shared Mac from a networked Windows PC so that you can swap files back and forth with ease.
Enable Mac to Windows File Sharing in Mac OS X
First you need to enable the Windows to Mac file sharing functionality, this is a simple preference toggle in Mac OS system settings on the Mac:
With SMB enabled, we now can connect from the Windows PC to the Mac. If you already know the Macs IP address you can skip this first part of this and go directly to the Windows PC to access the shared users directory.Connect to the Mac File Share from a Windows PC
With SMB and Windows File Sharing enabled, you can now connect to the Mac from any Windows PC. First you’ll get the Macs IP address that you need to connect to, then you’ll connect to that from Windows:
Back at the ‘Sharing” system preference panel, take note of your Macs IP address as seen below, discard the afp:// portion and pay attention to the numbers in the format of xx.xx
From the Windows PC connecting to the Mac:
Go to the Start menu and choose “Run” or hit Control+R from the Windows desktop
Enter the IP address of the Mac in the format of \192.168.1.9 and choose “OK”
Access to the shared Mac directory and user files appear as any other folder within Windows. You’re free to copy or access individual files, or perform more substantial tasks like moving an iTunes library from a Windows PC to a Mac.
This process of connecting to the Mac should be identical from Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows 8 or RT, and enabling file sharing on the Mac is the same in MacOS Catalina 10.15, MacOS Mojave 10.14, macOS High Sierra 10.13, macOS Sierra 10.12, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, and OS X Mavericks 10.9, and El Capitan 10.11, OS X Yosemite 10.10.x. SAMBA has been a supported Mac protocol for a very long time, so technically you will find that older Macs and OS X versions will also be supported by this.Connecting to a Windows PC from a Mac
Going the other direction, you can connect to a Windows Shared PC very easily from a Mac running Mac OS X:
From the Mac OS X Finder, hit Command+K to summon “Connect To Server”
OR: In the “Server Address” field, simply enter the IP of the Windows share to connect to preceded by smb://
For example, to connect to a Windows share at 192.168.1.115, the smb address would be: smb://192.168.1.115
Note that an issue with some versions of Mac OS X Mavericks causes smb:// to use Samba2 rather than Samba1, which may cause connection errors with some servers. If you run into such a problem connecting to a NAS or SMB Windows share from OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you can forcibly use Samba1 with the cifs:// prefix like so: cifs://192.168.1.115 – this is not the case with Mac OS X Yosemite or other versions of MacOS and Mac OS X.What about the .DS_Store files?
Depending on the Windows PC settings, you might see a bunch of .DS_Store files on the Mac file system. These are normal but if you’re peeved by them, you can disable .DS_Store files by entering the following defaults write command in Mac OS X’s Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
If you want them back, just switch that to ‘false’ at the end.
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After months in beta since its unveiling at WWDC 2014 in June, Apple released OS X Yosemite in October for Mac users to download and install for free. We’ve spent time with the new operating system to bring you our OS X Yosemite review.
The successor to OS X Mavericks and the second iteration in Apple’s current California places naming convention, Yosemite has a new design, new cloud features, an improved Notification centre and new Continuity features that aim to improve the communication between your iOS device and your Mac (but it doesn’t always work).
Read on to find out more about Yosemite’s new features and whether they’re actually any good in our OS X Yosemite review.OS X Yosemite review: Upgrading & compatibility
Any owner of a sufficiently powerful Mac can upgrade to Yosemite for free. In order to do so, go to Apple’s site, and find the Yosemite page. Here’s a
Your Mac will need 2GB of RAM to run Yosemite, and 8GB of available storage. You’ll also need to be currently running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard or later, because you’ll need the Mac App Store to download the update.
Yosemite will run on the following Macs:
iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
Xserve (Early 2009)
The system requirements for Yosemite are the same as those for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the current operating system for Mac.OS X Yosemite review: Design
The first thing you’ll notice when you download and install OS X Yosemite is that it’s been significantly redesigned. It’s no surprise that the operating system now has a flatter and more minimalist look, with translucency, brighter colours, flatter icons and new typography, all of which are reminiscent of the redesign that was introduced to iOS with iOS 7 in 2013.
These new aesthetics likely stem from Apple’s design guru Jony Ive’s expanded role at the company, which means he’s now working closely with Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi on OS X.
Buttons have been tweaked, menu bars have been simplified and there’s a new Dark Mode option that offers darker menu bars, ideal for working in dark environments or if you simply prefer the look of the Dark Mode.OS X Yosemite review: Notification Centre
We love the new Notification Centre in OS X Yosemite, which has been significantly improved upon since OS X Mavericks. Now, instead of sliding the entirety of the content being displayed on your Mac off to the left to display the Notification Centre, it simply slides over the top of the content on the right side of the screen which is much more stylish and subtle.
You’ll now see ‘Today’ and ‘Notifications’ rather than just ‘Notifications’ like you used to see in Mavericks. In the Today tab, you’ll see an overview of what’s happening in the day ahead, including Calendar appointments, the weather and more.
We think that Notification Centre will soon replace the Dashboard, a feature that was introduced to OS X in 2005 when Tiger was released. For now, Dashboard remains, offering access to similar widgets as those found in the Notification Centre.OS X Yosemite review: Spotlight
Spotlight is another feature that came to the Mac with OS X Tiger, and has been a real boon to Mac users ever since. Now, in Yosemite, it’s more useful than ever, allowing users to not only search for files and applications on their Mac, but also news headlines, maps, the App Store, iTunes, Wikipedia and Microsoft Bing (not Google, of course. Microsoft is the lesser of the two evils apparently) for web search.
You can perform quick unit and currency conversions within Spotlight now too, which we’ve found to be immensely useful.
Plus, instead of simply typing into a tiny text box in the top right corner, Spotlight now appears smack bang in the middle of your Mac’s display, which takes a bit of getting used to but is much more convenient now that a large preview of the results of your search appears too.OS X Yosemite review: iCloud Drive
In OS X Yosemite, you can add iCloud Drive folders to the Finder, which we were pleased to see. We also like the ability to store files from our Mac in iCloud Drive folders and use them in various applications, even if it’s not the one that you created it in, on your iOS device.
Right now, iCloud Drive isn’t a way to share documents and files with colleagues or friends (you can use Mail Drop for that), but we suspect that Apple is working to make iCloud Drive even more useful in the future.
You will only get 5GB of iCloud Drive storage for free, though, which includes space for your documents, photos and backups so it’s highly likely that won’t be enough. You can pay 79p a month for 20GB of storage, £2.99 for 200GB of storage, £6.99 for 600GB of storage or £14.99 per month for 1TB of storage.OS X Yosemite review: Safari 8
Safari 8 is the new version of Apple’s web browser that comes with OS X Yosemite. Like the rest of the operating system, it has adopted the new design, and we rather like it. It’s cleaner and clearer, but keeps the features we loved from the previous version of Safari including Reading List, Shared Links (which now includes RSS feeds) and Bookmarks, which you can access by tapping the icon next to the back button in the toolbar. You also see Frequently Visited sites and Favourites in the Smart Search URL bar.
You’ll also get a new Tabs view, which shows you previews of all the tabs you have open a bit like you get in iOS 7 and 8’s Safari app. Simply tap the icon that looks like two overlapping squares on the right of the toolbar to see the Tabs view.
If you use the same Apple ID for your iPhone and iPad and have iCloud turned on, you’ll see the tabs you have open on those devices in Safari on your Mac in the Tab preview too.
Now, like Spotlight, Safari can also search for more thanks to the aforementioned Smart Search URL bar. It can search Wikipedia, Maps, iTunes and news, but just like Spotlight it doesn’t always show up the results you’d expect it to.
You can now use Safari’s Private Browsing mode in a separate tab rather than the whole window/application. See also: Why use incognito mode: Private mode isn’t just for pornOS X Yosemite review: Mail & Mail Drop
Mail has some great new features that could prove to be huge time-savers if used regularly.
The new Markup feature in Mail lets you add annotations and images to PDFs from within the Mail app, but we actually found it to be fiddly and temperamental during our testing. Sometimes, trying to get Markup to actually work took so long that we may as well have edited the image or PDF in Preview and then reattached it, which pretty much defeats the whole purpose of using it.
A better new feature in Mail in OS X Yosemite is Mail Drop, which lets you upload an attachment larger than 5MB to iCloud when you attempt to send it via email, which will then be automatically downloaded by the recipient of that email. You won’t even notice it’s happening (well, unless you’re on a bit of a slow internet connection as it can take quite a while to download the large files for you).
The catch, however, is that the recipient must be running OS X Yosemite on their Mac and must be using the Mail app, which narrows down its usefulness dramatically. That said, if you use Mail Drop to send an attachment to someone who doesn’t use Yosemite, they’ll receive a download link for the file instead, which can sometimes still be quicker (at least at your end) than services like Dropbox.OS X Yosemite review: Continuity
Here’s where our praise of OS X Yosemite begins to falter. Continuity was one of the features in the new operating system that we were most excited about. It should mean that the iPhone, iPad and Mac can communicate in ways that they never have been able to before, making life much easier and more efficient for anyone with multiple Apple products.
There are various elements that make up Continuity: AirDrop now works between the Mac and iOS devices (previously it only worked from iOS device to iOS device and Mac to Mac) and Handoff.
When Apple first announced that AirDrop would finally work between iOS and Mac, we were jumping for joy. It’s something that has frustrated us ever since AirDrop was introduced. It’s a quick and easy way to transfer files including images and documents between your devices (if you’re on the same WiFi network) so can come in very handy.
However, there are several catches to the new AirDrop features in Yosemite. The first is that it doesn’t work with all iOS devices or Macs. If you have a Mac that was purchased after 2012 and an iPhone 5 or later and/or iPad 4 or later, iPad mini 1 or later or a 5th gen iPod touch or later, then in theory, you should be able to use AirDrop between OS X and iOS.
But, we actually had so much trouble trying to get OS X Yosemite to work that it drove us round the bend. It did work, eventually, though not particularly reliably, but the point is that not everyone is going to go to as much effort to get it fixed as we did. In fact, if we hadn’t been trying it for the purpose of this review, we would have given up on it long ago. If you find that you’re having trouble getting AirDrop to work, take a look at our AirDrop troubleshooting guide.
Instead, we’d recommend using the iCloud Drive feature. It’s actually a quicker and easier way to copy files to your iPhone than using the currently crappy AirDrop, as you can simply drag and drop files into the iCloud Drive folder and they’ll be accessible on all of your other devices.
AirDrop between iOS and Mac is a step in the right direction, but right now it’s in need of some serious improvements so is a bit of a let down for us.
Similarly, Handoff is a feature that got us excited when OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 were first unveiled. In theory, it’s supposed to let you begin working on something on your iPhone or iPad – say an email or a pages document, for example – and pick up immediately from where you left off on your Mac, and vice versa. Your devices are supposed to be able to detect that you are approaching and are mid-email, and should prompt you to continue writing the email right away. It should even work with Safari, which is quite cool.
However, just like with AirDrop our experience with Handoff so far has been far from satisfactory. It seems to work better from iPhone to Mac than the other way around, with prompts appearing when we approached our Mac while writing an email in our iCloud account, but not appearing on the iPhone when we wanted to pick things up there and head out.
One feature in Continuity that does seem to work quite well, however, is the ability to make or take phone calls from your Mac, and also to be able to pick up and reply to messages, even if they’re not iMessages, right from your Mac too. You’ll get notifications on both your Mac, iPad and iPhone if you miss a call, which is handy when you leave your phone in your bag, for example.OS X Yosemite review: Verdict
Overall, we really like OS X Yosemite, and we think that many of the new features introduced with the update are a step in the right direction, even if they’re not quite up to scratch yet.
We really wish Continuity worked correctly, and it’s a shame that those features don’t work at all on Macs that are more than two years old, but we’re pleased to see that Apple has at least attempted to introduce them. We’ll suspect have to wait for an update to Yosemite, or perhaps even for the next version of OS X 10, before we can really say that Continuity is a feature that we find useful, which is a real downfall when you consider that it should be one of the flagship features of this OS X update.
However, we love the design of OS X Yosemite (though we know not everyone agrees) and improvements to Notification Centre, Mail, and iCloud have already changed the way we work on our Macs in a very positive way.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at the new features and how well they work in OS X Yosemite, check out our sister title Macworld UK’s OS X Yosemite review.
Emoticons are arguably the 21st century’s most popular way to communicate when using computers and smartphones. Starting with combinations of text characters, smilies have evolved into emoticons with the development of Unicode fonts that automatically substitute an image of a smiling face for a specific set of characters. For example, various OS X apps such as iMessage, iChat, etc. that make use of emoticons, will automatically substitute an image of a smiling face if you enter the “:)” text for a smile.
You can also set your own global text substitutions for emoticons, so that you can quickly access them in multiple programs. While this is more useful for enhancing e-mails, chats, messages, etc., OS X also supports the use of emoticons and other symbols in your file names. This is a really unique way of naming files since you can easily search and characterize them using an image instead of simple text characters.
Now, you should know that your Mac does not support dynamic substitution of text in file names with emoticons. For example, if you type “:)” in a file name, OS X will not replace it will a smiley. In order to name your files using emoticons, you’ll have to use OS X’s Character Viewer. To do this, simply follow the steps below:
1. Enable the Character Viewer and open it, using the steps outlined in this article.
2. Locate an emoticon that you would like to use. Use the Emoji section for this.
3. Select the file/folder whose name you want to edit, and press “Enter” to edit its file name.
Tip: You can also use this method to use other symbols in file names.
This method also lets you search for a file using Spotlight. After you have added a symbol to the name of the file, you can easily perform a Spotlight search for that symbol to quickly reveal it. However, do know that for the search you will need to use the character palette to enter the appropriate symbol.
This method can be more difficult to manage than fun for some, but it does provide a unique naming option. Also, you should know that all these symbols are Unicode-based and will not work in some services that do not support Unicode. For example, if you frequently use Terminal in OS X, you’ll find that adding symbols to file names will have them appear as “question marks” in Terminal, which will undoubtedly make them more difficult to identify and manage.
Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube
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If the worst happens and your Mac crashes and won’t start, what can you do? Of course you should do Time Machine backups regularly. Unless you do that, you won’t get your machine back exactly as it was if trouble strikes, but it’s worse than that.
The recovery disk, a secret partition which is part of the Recovery System, resides on your system drive, and while it contains useful tools to recover your data and move on, it’s no good if you can’t get to it.
In this article, we talk about the Recovery Disk hiding on your system, and how to prepare for the worst case scenarios by making a copy of it as a bootable recovery disk.I am Broken; Recover Me
The Recovery disk is the best friend you never knew you had. Tucked away in a 650Mb partition on the system drive is a set of tools you can use to fix and restore your drive should it crap out on you.
It’s not an installer. It’s a fixer, a toolkit. It props up your broken machine long enough so you can reinstall or restore your system. With the tools it contains, it can:
Restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup
Verify and repair connected drives using Disk Utility
Check your Internet connection or get help online using Safari
If all else fails, install or reinstall OS X
To start your computer with Recovery, restart and hold down “Command + R” before the startup chime.Saviour in the Cloud
Maverick and Yosemite have a feature that when you have Internet access, you can boot your machine from a Recovery partition up in the cloud. But this doesn’t save you if your drive is unstable and you have no Internet access, which of course can happen.
One option is putting the recovery partition on an external drive by using the Recovery Disk Assistant (download it here).
First, you will be asked if it’s okay to use this software:
Note: if you want to use an SD card, here’s a tip. Putting the card into the internal SD card slot in your Mac won’t work as the Recovery Assistant only polls the USB ports. Put your SD card into a USB adapter, and it will be seen.
Now choose the volume you want to store the Recovery Disk on:
The Assistant will now create your external Recovery drive.
Once you have a recovery disk, you can recover your Mac when trouble strikes.
To recover your machine, simply boot or reboot holding down “Command + R” and your Mac will search, first the recovery partition, then the Internet and any external drives you have made with Recovery tools on them and then load the tools.
That’s all good, but the Assistant app is limited. It only allows the creation of OS X Recovery disks on an external drive or flash drive via USB. Can you make an optical disk?Seeing the Unseen
To burn an optical Recovery Disk (and a CD will suffice, as it’s deliberately only 650Mb in size), you will need to locate the hidden Recovery tool files on your drive and burn them to a disk.
Open Disk Utility. You will notice the menu probably looks like this:
What we are looking for is the Debug menu. If it’s not there, you need to activate it with Terminal. Close Disk Utility (because the menu won’t activate in an open program), open Terminal and type the following:defaults
Open Disk Utility again, and you will see the Debug menu is now showing between the Window and Help menus.Burn it!
Now that you can see the Recovery HD partition, you can burn it to a disk. Select the drive image you just created:
While you can save a tiny bit of space when saving Recovery Image by checking the compressed box, you don’t save that much space, and compressing it adds a little uncompressing time when unpacking it for burning. But it’s your choice.
Once you have a disk image isolated and saved to disk:
Once the disk has burned, test it by booting from it. Hold down the “C” key as you start or restart.
Another thing you might want to do for safety’s sake at some point is make a bootable disk installer for your OS, but perhaps we’ll go into that another time.
Photo source: DVIDSHUB
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.
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If you recently purchased a Mac or if you have been required to use a Mac for work, you might be frustrated trying to use OS X if you have been a long-time Windows user. This is completely understandable and Apple really doesn’t care to change their OS to match that of Windows anytime soon.
Apple loves OS X the way it is and it will probably remain the way it is for the remainder of its life. This means you’ll need to get used to some of the differences between Windows and Mac. In my view, OS X could still be made to be easier to use by default, but unfortunately, you have to manually make some changes to make things better.
Table of Contents
In this article, I’m going to give you a couple of my favorite tips for Windows users who have to use a Mac and OS X. Once you get used to OS X, you may even like it more than Windows, which is what happened to me. There is a small learning curve, but it’s worth the effort. Also, be sure to check out my post on programs and features in OS X that are equivalent to Windows.Tip #2 – Add Applications to the Dock
The other major change that is most jarring for Windows users is the lack of a Start button. There simply isn’t any central button in OS X. You have the small Apple logo icon at the top left, which can do a few things like get you to System Preferences or let you restart/shutdown your computer.
You can also use Launcher (the silver/grey rocket icon in the Dock), but I never find myself using that for some reason.Tip #3 – Eject Drives using the Trash
This would be like dragging your USB drive into the Recycle Bin in Windows, which basically means delete everything! So obviously, people don’t even like the idea of throwing anything that has important data on it into a trash can!Tip #4 – Tweak Finder
Finder is basically like Windows Explorer. A much simpler version of Explorer in my view. However, I prefer the more detailed and cluttered view of Explorer than the streamlined Finder. It’s just too simple.
On the General tab, you can also edit the New Finder window shows option and pick something other than All Files. I prefer to pick my home folder, which matches more to Windows explorer.Tip #5 – Learn to Use Spotlight
Using Spotlight is the best way to find your files, change settings in OS X, find apps to install, find emails, find calendar events, etc. It also shows results from the web, so you could search for Apple and get suggested websites and even a map to the local Apple store.Tip #6 – OS X Uses Spaces & Full Screen
Another thing you have to get used to is understanding how those three buttons at the top left of every window work. In Windows, you have three buttons: a minimize button, an expand button and a close button. In OS X, you have a red close button, a yellow minimize button and a green button that expands, but differently depending on the program.
Well, in OS X, the app has basically gone into its own space. If you scroll up with three fingers, you’ll see something called Mission Control. Basically, it shows you a thumbnail of each desktop or program that is using its own space.
On some apps, however, the app will expand to full screen, but it will not go into its own space. It’ll basically remain on the original desktop, just taking up most of the screen. Most third-party apps like Microsoft Office now support the full-screen mode that go into their own space.Tip #7 – Install Programs from the Mac App Store
By default, Apple tries to protect you by only allowing you to install apps from the Mac App store and from identified developers. In one sense, it’s good because it keeps you a bit safer without having to do much on your part.
If you want to install a new program, the best place to go is the Mac App store. Whereas Windows software is usually downloaded from everywhere on the Internet, most programs you’ll ever need to install on your Mac will be available in the Mac App store. If you really need to install something from some other place, you can go to System Preferences – Security & Privacy and select Anywhere under Allow apps downloaded from.
So hopefully those are some good tips for beginner Mac users who pretty much used Windows for their entire lives. There are a lot of other differences, but if you can get through these major ones, you’ll enjoy using your Mac rather than wanting to beat it. Enjoy!
The standard terminal appearance is just boring old black text on a white background. Apple included a few nice preset themes too, but to really make your terminals appearance stand out you’ll want to take the time to customize it yourself. While some of these tweaks are admittedly pure eye candy, others genuinely improve the command line experience and make using the terminal not only more attractive but easier to scan.
Follow along and try them all, or just pick and choose which makes the most sense for you.Modify Bash Prompt, Enable Colors, Improve ‘ls’
At a bare minimum, let’s get a better bash prompt, improve the output of the frequently used ls command, and enable colors. This is all done by editing the .bash_profile or .bashrc located in the home directory, for the purpose of this walkthrough we’ll use .bash_profile:
Open Terminal and type nano .bash_profile
Paste in the following lines:
alias ls=’ls -GFh’
Hit Control+O to save, then Control+X to exit out of nano
The first line changes the bash prompt to be colorized, and rearranges the prompt to be “username@hostname:cwd $”
The next two lines enable command line colors, and define colors for the ‘ls’ command
Finally, we alias ls to include a few flags by default. -G colorizes output, -h makes sizes human readable, and -F throws a / after a directory, * after an executable, and a @ after a symlink, making it easier to quickly identify things in directory listings.
Pasted in properly, it should look like this:
Open a new terminal window, run ls, and see the difference. Still not satisfied with the appearance, or have you already done that? There’s more to do.Enable Bold Fonts, ANSI Colors, & Bright Colors
This will be theme and profile dependent, meaning you will have to adjust this for each theme. Most themes have ANSI color on by default, but enable it if it’s not.
Choose your profile/theme from the left side list, then under the “Text” tab check the boxes for “Use bold fonts” and “Use bright colors for bold text”
This makes things like directories and executables be bold and brighter, making them easier to spot in listings.Consider Customizing ANSI Colors
Generally it’s best to adjust ANSI colors to be near their intended color mark but in the realm of being easier to read, a shade of grey to replace black for example.Adjust Background Opacity, Blur, & Background Image
After you have colorization squared away, adjusting the terminals background appearance is a nice touch:
Back in Terminal Preferences, choose the theme from the left side, then go to the “Window” tab
Opacity and blur alone tend to be enough, but going the extra step to set a background picture can look either really nice or completely garish. You make the call.Install a Theme
Another approach is to use Terminal themes like IR Black, which are simple to install, add custom colors, and make the command line much more attractive. Here are three popular themes:
You can also easily create your own by spending some time with Terminal Preferences and setting colors and fonts to what you like.New Terminal vs Old Terminal
Put it all together, and you should have something like this:
Which is a bit more interesting to look at than this, right?
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