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Share Windows 7 Files With OS X 10.7 - Configuring the Mac's Workgroup Name
Share Windows 7 Files With OS X Lion - Configuring the Mac's Workgroup Name
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

In order to share files, your Mac and your PC must be in the same workgroup. The Mac OS and Windows 7 both use a default workgroup name of WORKGROUP. If you haven't changed the workgroup name on either computer, you can skip this step and go straight to Step 4 of this guide.

If you have made changes, or you're not sure if you have or not, read on to learn how to set your Mac's workgroup name.

Editing Your Mac's Workgroup Name

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking its icon in the Dock, or by selecting 'System Preferences' from the Apple menu.

  2. Click the Network icon, located in the Internet & Wireless section of the System Preferences window.

  3. The first thing we need to do is make a copy of your current location information. The Mac OS uses the term 'location' to refer to the current settings for all of your network interfaces. You can have multiple locations set up, each with different network interface settings. For instance, you could have a Home location that uses your wired Ethernet connection, and a Travel location that uses your wireless network. Locations can be created for many reasons. We're going to create a new location for a very simple reason: You can't edit the workgroup name on a location that is in active use.

  4. Select 'Edit Locations' from the Location drop-down menu.

  5. Select your current active location from the list in the Location sheet. The active location is usually called Automatic, and may be the only entry in the sheet.

  6. Click the sprocket button and select 'Duplicate Location' from the pop-up menu.

  7. Type in a new name for the duplicate location, or just use the default one provided.

  8. Click the Done button.

  9. In the left-hand pane of the Network preference pane, select the connection type you use for connecting to your network. For most users, this will either be Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Don't worry if it currently says "Not connected" or "No IP Address" because you are currently working with the duplicate location, which isn't yet active.

  10. Click the Advanced button.

  11. Select the WINS tab.

  12. In the Workgroup field, enter the same workgroup name that you're using on your PC.

  13. Click the OK button.

  14. Click the Apply button.

After you click the Apply button, your network connection will be dropped. After a short time, your network connection will be re-established using the settings from the location you just edited.

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