Drive sharing – Windows and OS X

I’ve been reading this excellent guide at MacRumors on sharing between OS X and Windows, but unfortunately, it doesn’t give me all the answers I need. Here’s the situation I have:

  • Powerbook in the study on Ethernet (occasional wireless) to router/switch;
  • Windows PC in the family room on wireless;
  • external USB HDD containing iTunes Library, digital photos, backups and software installers presently attached to Powerbook.

Here’s the situation I want:

  • Powerbook and Windows PC in current localities connected to network by current methods;
  • USB drive attached to Windows PC sharing entire contents to entire network at a useful speed.

I’ve followed the MacRumors guide linked to above, and it works, but accessing the USB drive from the Powerbook is deathly slow. I’ve covered off all the things I think it might be – firewall software, PC going into Suspend, etc., but to no avail, so I’ve moved the USB drive back to the study and attached it to the Powerbook.

Anyone out there got a clue on this? I’d really like the USB drive attached to the Windows box as when I move about with the Powerbook, the USB drive becomes unavailable, with isn’t want I’m after. All I really want is an acceptably quick speed across the network, which doesn’t seem to be happening.

5 Replies to “Drive sharing – Windows and OS X”

  1. I recommend using Foldershare…it is a combo website. local app stub that is available for both Windows and Macos. It is now free as it is now a MS product. It can allow sharing very easily with multiple computers, both locally and remote. It also navigates thru firewalls transparently.

  2. Kinda a stupid question here but aqs long as you format the external drive as FAT (windows xp ushally NTFS and OSX HFS ) both should be able to read the files by using it as a usb drive? but the pc will see all the ._MAC files.

    Or are you after a fully blown network drive.

    If so I read an article about someone turning an old xbox into a filer server which had Samba shares for windows and an normal for osx.

    or if you just want to use it as a usb drive connected to a windows machine and have osx access it I have never had any problems with samba shares before.

    Reeally if all your after is acceptable speed put the xbox on the network and use it as a file server. Its cheap and can still play games at the end of the day :o).

  3. Campbell, I plan to go full network drive with either a Linksys NLSU2 or a Netgear SC101 – as soon as I can get one for a decent price on eBay…
    Until then, the drive is formatted as FAT32, and works just fine if I put in on the Windows PC and share it; except for the fact that access to it is REALLY slow from the Powerbook. More slow than it should be.

  4. Not sure if this will work for you but I am working with a similar situation of sharing attached drve with the mac. this works great.

    Imac has all the drives attached. want to share with my pc at work.

    Install hamachi on both machines. HamachiX for OS X and hamachi on XP both are found under downloads at

    load them both and create a VPN(reallly cool art)

    enable windows sharing of course on the mac.

    Load sharepoints on the mac

    share the attached storage on the mac.

    Now almost there… on Explorer on XP in the address bar enter \5.x.x.x”your mac name” then let it find it. if in doubt look in the windows sharing in OSX prefs unders sharing /windows at bottom for complete address. the 5.x.x.x is the hamachi vpn address.

    The cool part is that the router do not need ports opened and no admin needs to give you permission. Because Hamachi ROCKS! zero config VPN

    The speed is fast and minimizes config time.

    Not sure if this is a real help but I thought it may help us double life OS-X/XP croud.

    for more info go to or listen to show 18

    good luck!

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