One of your network’s principal functions is to share resources between machines, and it’s this interaction that can often lead to problems, particularly when it comes to sharing between different platforms, such as PC to Mac, or Windows to Linux. Sometimes glitches can occur even when attempting to share files between PCs running Windows. If one PC doesn’t appear on the network, the step-by-step guide reveals the key steps you can follow to make things work once again

Access Other Platforms

If you want to share files with Linux or Macs, then there are a few tweaks to ensure everything runs smoothly. The simplest thing to do is get everyone else talking the same networking language as your Windows PCs: on the Mac, navigate to System Preferences > Sharing and tick ‘File Sharing’. Click Options and verify ‘Share files and folders using SMB’ has been selected. If you’re planning to share files from your Mac (as opposed to simply access files on other PCs), make sure your username is ticked before clicking Done – anyone attempting to access folders on this machine will need to know your Mac’s account name and password. Ubuntu and Mint Linux users should find SMB sharing is enabled out of the box – just open Files and select Other Locations (Ubuntu) or Network (Mint).

Shared Printers

These days, most printers come with networking features built in. Plug your printer into a spare Ethernet port and it should be immediately visible when you choose ‘Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners > Add a printer or scanner’ – visit the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers. Wireless printers may need a little more work: if the printer has a WPS button, pressing that followed by pressing the WPS button on your router should get things working, or you may need to use its hardware control panel. If all else fails, connect it via USB, install the drivers supplied and look for a point in the installation process where you can connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Want to share a standard USB printer? Your router or NAS drive may come with USB ports you can plug it into to share it over the network, or you may have to connect it to your main PC, then go to ‘Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners’, select the printer and click ‘Manage > Printer properties’. Switch to the Sharing tab to share the printer.