How To Access A Mac From Vista Machine


My Mac is my primary machine and all my documents, pictures, and everything is stored on it but because I do use a PC also, I need a conduit to share files back and forth with each other. I know some people utilize external hard drives for this, but I’m sure there are other people in the same situation as me.

With Windows XP, it was a simple task. From the “Run” console or in the address bar of Internet Explorer, you could enter “ipaddress” of your Mac and enter your login credentials and have read/write access to the files stored on your Mac OS X.

With Windows Vista, by default, you can no longer do that. When you try, the login window appears, but when you enter your correct credentials, it doesn’t accept it. The reason is that Microsoft has stepped up security on Vista, Lanman and NLTM (which Macs still utilize for smbd) are no longer enabled and in place instead is NLTMv2, which Macs currently do not support.

But there is a way to “fix” it so you can. One word of warning though, from a security standpoint, this may not be a good idea. Although in most cases, I don’t think it would be too much of an issue (yet).

How Do I Fix It?

The fix comes from

  1. Click Start, and in the “Start Search” field, type secpol.msc.
  2. Navigate to Local Policies > Security Options > Network Security: LAN Manager authentication level.
  3. Select “Send LM & NTLM – user NTLMv2 session security if negotiated”.

You should be able to use your Windows Vista machine to access your Mac now.

Alternative Solution?

There is an alternative solution posted by Jon Belanger which is supposed to be a more secure way of doing it. I have not tried it and cannot verify whether or not it works.

Using Windows 7

I can confirm that the steps above work for Windows 7 also. I’m currently using x86 and x64, both Enterprise, and have done these steps and it works like a charm.

Windows XP on Mac?! Say what?!

It has been speculated for some time, even before the release, the possibility of running Windows XP on the Intel core processor Macs. Some of the Apple people I had spoke with had said this probably wouldn’t be possible because the Mac Intel processors were utilizing EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) and Win XP depends heavily on EFI (i.e. Bios) and Microsoft even went so far as to say that the next generation OS (Vista) wouldn’t support EFI either. There had been a reported case in which a person had won an award for being able to install Win XP on a Mac Intel machine as reported by ZDNet.

Apple as of today released what they call Boot Camp, a downloadable program that allows Win XP to run on the Mac Intel machines. I would never have guessed that, of all people, Apple would release this. Apparently this software is still in beta and is unsupported, but Leopard (Mac OX 10.5) would have Boot Camp and more functionality of that built in natively. I’m heavily debating whether or not to try it because I only have about ~9GB left of hard drive space (of 80GB) and it calls for at least 10GB (not sure why). Although I spoke to someone who works at Apple and has said that the people in our Book Store has successfully been able to install, configure, and run Win XP on one of their Mac Intel machines as demo. I’m going to check that out when I can.