The Simplest, Easiest, and Cheapest Way to Transfer Files between PCs and Macs

Moving files back and forth between a Mac and a PC is actually simple, yet can be extremely confusing. Forget burning ten DVDs or sixty CDs. Don’t spend all day transferring 40-50GB of data on a 1GB USB drive. Most important, don’t spend $50 on special software. I’m going to show you how to do it easily for free.

There’s two ways to do this. Each depends on which computer you will be sitting in front of. You can either set up the PC and then do the transferring from the Mac or set up the Mac and do your transfers from the PC. We’ll look at both ways which essentially do the same thing. Its good to know both, some people may find one way easier and some may find the other way easiest. Whichever method you use depends on which system you are most comfortable with.

OS X 10.5 – Leopard
Before we explore each method, I want to mention with Leopard, the file system has undergone some changes. Most of these changes are behind the scenes and shouldn’t affect what you will be doing with each method. However, the System Preference screens we will have to work with have changed drastically. I will include separate instructions for those running Leopard.

Before you begin:
Start up both computers and decide how they will connect to each other. Will they connect through a router or directly? Wired or wireless? The easiest and fastest way is to use a router with wired connections for both computers. Wireless is also easy but will be significantly slower. Directly connecting the computers with a cable is a little more difficult but the transfer will be faster.

If you decide to connect them directly, you will need to set their IP addresses. Make sure each machine has a different address. 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.2 are good choices.

Sharing from the PC, transferring from the Mac: Page 2.

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