Leopard Sharing

Q. I recently upgraded my Macs to version 10.5 Leopard and I cannot figure out how to connect to my computers for File Sharing. When I connect I only see a “Drop Box”. How can I access other files on the shared Macs?

A. The answer is simple – Apple has simplified File Sharing. You’re being confused by the simplicity… read on.

The latest incarnation of Mac OS X 10.5 aka Leopard has changed a few things about how we can connect and collaborate with other computers. Before Mac OS X, there was a way to connect to another Macs and access “shared foders” – which until recently was only possible by using a File Server, installing a third party application such as “Share Points” or by modifying the folder permissions on the remote Mac and possibly creating further problems. File permissions are set to protect our data from other users and ultimately from ourselves.

Mac OS X Leopard combines UNIX (POSIX) permissions and Access Control Lists (ACLs) in way that has made it easy for almost anyone to manage – you don’t even have to understand this sentence. Leopard makes it possible to quickly and easily connect to our neighboring Macs. In one step, you open the “Sharing” pane in “System Preferences” and put a checkmark next to “File Sharing”. Other Leopard Macs will immediately be able to see you in the “Side Bar” on any Finder window. They simply click on your Mac’s icon and they are connected as “Guest” and have instant access to the “Public” folder in your home folder.

To connect as a specific user and access more files, they can press “Connect As” and they will get the familiar login prompt – where you enter a username and password. Then depending on the permissions they have access to virtual any files and folders on your Mac. A new feature is that from the File Sharing pane you can create a “Share Point”, by clicking the “+” and choosing a folder and set the sharing permissions.

If you have connected and opened a folder on a remote Mac as “Guest” and you want to access as another user. Press the eject icon in the side bar, then click on the icon and choose “Connect As” to get back to the login prompt.

Another cool feature is that you can also use “Screen Sharing” where another user can control your Mac’s screen with a remote computer. You can instantly collaborate or have someone manage your computer for training or support.

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