If you have multiple computers at home and want to easily share files between them, you can connect them using an Ethernet cable. File sharing from one machine to another is possible on Mac and Windows.
Part 1 of 3: Connect the computers
Step 1. See if your computers have Ethernet ports
Ethernet ports are large rectangular ports usually identified by a 3 box icon. You will find them on one side of your case (on a laptop) or on the back of the central unit (on a laptop).
On iMacs, the Ethernet port is on the back of the monitor
Step 2. Purchase an Ethernet adapter if necessary
If your computer does not have an Ethernet port, you will need to purchase a USB Ethernet adapter. You will find this kind of accessory online (for example on Amazon) or in computer hardware stores (like GrosBill).
If you have a Mac, be sure to check your USB ports. There may be only USB-C ports (oval ports instead of rectangular ports), which means you'll also need an Ethernet to USB-C or USB to USB-C adapter
Step 3. See if you have a crossover Ethernet cable
Although most Ethernet ports support both conventional Ethernet cables and crossover Ethernet cables, you will avoid possible errors by using a crossover Ethernet cable. To find out if this is the case, look at the colored wires at each end of the cable.
- If the colors are not in the same order on each end, you have a crossover cable.
- If the colors are the same from left to right on each end, you have a regular cable. This cable can still be used on most computers, but if you are connecting 2 older machines and you have problems, go for a crossover cable.
Step 4. Insert one end of the cable into the first computer
The end of the Ethernet cable must go into the dedicated port on your computer (lever facing down).
If you are using an Ethernet adapter, insert the USB end of the adapter into one of the available USB ports on your computer
Step 5. Insert the other end of the cable into the second computer
The other end of the Ethernet cable should go into the Ethernet port on the other computer.
Again, if you are using an Ethernet adapter, connect it to your computer first before plugging in the cable
Part 2 of 3: Use File Sharing on Windows
Step 1. Open the control panel
Click on To start up
at the bottom left of your screen, type control panel then click on Control panel which appears at the top of the menu.
Step 2. Click Network and Internet
This option is in the middle of the control panel.
- Skip this step if you see "Small icons" or "Large icons" next to the header View By at the top right of the window.
Step 3. Select Network and Sharing Center
You will find this link at the top of the window.
- If your control panel uses the display of small icons or large icons, you will find Network and Sharing Center on the right of the page.
Step 4. Click Change advanced sharing settings
This link is located at the top left of the window.
Step 5. Select the Enable file and printer sharing check box
This box is in the section File and Printer Sharing menu.
Step 6. Click Save Changes
The button Save Changes is at the bottom of the window. Click on it to save your changes and enable file sharing on your computer.
Step 7. Share a folder
To allow the connected computer to view and modify the contents of shared folders:
- open the folder you want to share;
- go to the tab Share;
- select Specific people;
- click on the down arrow in the drop-down menu then choose Everybody in the menu that appears;
- click on To share then on Ended.
Step 8. Navigate to a shared folder
If you want to view a shared folder on your computer, you can do so from File Explorer.
- Make sure you have shared the folder on your connected PC or Mac.
- Open File Explorer
- Click on the name of the other computer in the left sidebar.
- Enter the password for the other computer if prompted.
- Open the shared folder to view its contents.
Part 3 of 3: Use File Sharing on Mac
Step 1. Open the Apple menu
Click on the Apple logo at the top left of the screen to open a drop-down menu.
Step 2. Click System Preferences
You will find this option in the drop-down menu. Click on it to open the System Preferences window.
Step 3. Select Sharing
The option Share is located in the system preferences window and opens the sharing window.
Step 4. Check the File Sharing box
You'll find it on the left of the sharing window.
Step 5. Change the access permission
Click on the icon to the right of the header All then select the option Reading and writing in the menu that appears. From now on, the connected computer will be able to see and modify the contents of the shared folders.
Step 6. Share a folder
To share a folder on your Mac with the connected computer:
- click on ＋ under the list of shared folders in the share window;
- find a folder you want to share;
- select the folder by clicking once on it;
- click on Add to add the folder to the list of shared folders.
Step 7. Navigate to a shared folder
If you want to view a shared folder on your Mac, you can do so from Finder.
- Make sure you've shared the folder from your connected PC or Mac.
- Open Finder
- Select the name of the other computer in the options column to the left of the Finder window.
- If prompted, enter your computer password.
- Open the shared folder to view the files it contains.