Connecting to Mac File Sharing via Vista

Matt Riggins writes:

I upgraded a machine in my office to Vista to get a feel for the OS, how it works, etc.

I use both a variety of Windows and Mac boxes and the first thing I noticed after upgrading to Vista was that I was unable to connect to the Mac’s SMB File Sharing. Typically in the windows address bar under XP pro I would type:

\\IP Address\username (the username being the short name on the OS X user account)

It would prompt me for a username and password, which I would type. (The os x username/pw) The share would come up (the user’s folder) and I was done.

This did not work in Vista. It would ask me for the username / password, but typing it didn’t work.

I googled it and came across this great post:

There are a couple of things to try on this post. The first being from Vista using the command line trying to login using IPAddressUsername together. I tried that, with no luck. The 2nd step is a registry edit in vista. I make this change and it now allows me to share to OS X again:

  1. “Click Windows Visa Start Orb
  2. In search box, type “regedit” and return
  3. Once regedit opens, click File -> export to make a backup copy
  4. Navigate to Computer HKEYLOCALMACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Lsa.
  5. In the right pane, right-click the “LmCompatibilityLevel” key and select “modify”
  6. Change the value from 3 to 1
  7. Exit regedit and you should now be able to properly authenticate to your Mac OS X (or other Samba) share.”

Matt Riggins

2010-01-10 Update:

I ran into this very issue myself yesterday on a friend’s netbook and found my own post from Matt. I wanted to see if there was a non-regedit solution by now and there is, so as an alternate solution (copied here in case that site goes down):

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type secpol.msc in the search box and press Enter.
  3. Windows Vista will display a warning message; click Continue.
  4. Windows Vista’s Local Security Policy console will appear. Highlight Local Policies.
  5. Double-click Security Options.
  6. Scroll down to the Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication Level policy entry and double-click it.
  7. Change the value from the default setting of Send MTLMv2 Response Only to Send LM & NTLM — Use NTLMv2 Session Security If Negotiated, then click OK.
  8. Close the Local Security Policy console.


  1. This registery edit worked perfectly. If only they got the finger out and pre-estimated this going wrong!

    Thanks for all the help Brian

  2. Works great! Thanks!

    Now, how to go in reverse?

    I still get “Alias could not be opened because the original item could not be found”

  3. Well I have managed to get the MAC to open the Vista drives, but I cannot see any files nor create or copy any files to the Vista machine…. So frustrating, I would go back and use XP if I had it.

  4. “Now, how to go in reverse?”

    Edit /etc/smb.conf and make sure this line is present:

    It probably says: client ntlmv2 auth = no

    Change it to “yes”

  5. I did what you said but it still says the username and password are wrong. I tried logging on with just my name and pass, plus with my IP adusername and pass and still it’s no go. Anyone have any good advice?

  6. George: For the “How to go in reverse?” Can you elaborate? I don’t see any regkey NO folder or file, etc. called smb.conf or etc. I’m not sure if you’re referring to a file or to a key or what?


  7. one trick I found that had to happen on my machine to go in reverse was to enable windows file sharing not only in the networking center window, but also in the network adapter properties (like in win XP), I am using my wireless network to do this, not the wired card it must have defaulted to. Then looking for the vista box from the mac via smb worked fine. (though it still doesn’t come up in the mac’s network destinations window)

  8. thankyou and thankyou and thankyou!

    my uni requires me to use windows and moving rooms and plugging in printers was driving me insane

    at last, after almost a year of making do

    a great post!


  9. OK, Leopards up and running. It can see all the shares on my Vista Ultimate boxes. It can read, write, boil in oil any of the Vista files. However, my Vista boxes went all snooty on me however and refused to recognize that the Mac exists. Entering the name or the IP address just returned an error. That was last night… And then – 12 hours later – NO changes, not even a reboot (honest) – the PowerBook suddenly appears in my Network folders. WTF? Time heals all things??

  10. Thank you so much for posting this. I was cursing Vista trying to figure out why they heck it could access my Mac. After getting an XP machine to access the mac I knew it was vista. You provided the perfect answer and saved me lots of effort. Thank you!

  11. Hi!

    very good indeed, your post, works perfectly.

    But i still don’t know what to do to my mac to see vista…. george bush was to fast for me. please reply if find a solution, I’ll do the same.

  12. Brilliant stuff, this worked perfectly!!! Been pulling my hair out all day Cheers!!! 😉

    Although if anyone can give me the settings for Norton 360 as that blocks everything that the network wants to do…..i can only network with this disabled.

    Kind regards

  13. You can also change this setting using the “Local Security Policy” GUI app, it’s located in “Administrative Tools” under the start button.

    Click on “Local Policies” and “Security Options” Find the “Network security: LAN Manager authentication level” item and change its popup value to “Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated”

  14. Well I did what you said with my new vista laptop and nothing changed. We have an imac in the house with leopard on it. I can view the mac and the printers on it but I am unable to see the public folder even after doing what you said. I can’t login to see more either. Please Help! The mac can see me just fine by the way.

    Thanks a Lot,


  15. That is a TRULY USEFUL tip. Thank you SO MUCH.

    I was using Vista Ult64 and trying to connect to my 10.4 Mac. (“Why upgrade?” 🙂 )

    You do indeed have to do exactly this:

    “Click Windows Visa Start Orb In search box, type “regedit” and return Once regedit opens, click File -> export to make a backup copy Navigate to Computer HKEYLOCALMACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Lsa. In the right pane, right-click the “LmCompatibilityLevel” key and select “modify” Change the value from 3 to 1 Exit regedit and you should now be able to properly authenticate to your Mac OS X (or other Samba) share.”

    thank you SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. did exactly that but i have an external hardrive formatted mac. Cannot even detect the device :s

  17. I tried looking it up in /etc/smb.conf by terminal and did not see it. Any other suggestions?

  18. Perfect! Thank you so much. Been looking for a solution for days now.

  19. wow. you have no idea how many things i tried before arriving at your site. this fix is so simple! and it is the only thing that worked! thanks tons.

  20. i want to know if like lan games with microsoft can i play lan games if i had a mac and everyone else had microsoft computers?

  21. zhong: This depends on the game. If the game is developed for Mac OS, supports lan gaming and has a Windows version as well, they usually can play together.

    If not, and you own a intel Mac, you can install boot camp and windows to play the game.

  22. For all users that want to “see” another hard drive with this method, download a little app called SharePoints for mac, it´s really simple to use. Just download it, copy app folder to your app mac folder and run it. Then u can select wich folder (or volume) u want to share.

  23. I know this a comparatively ancient thread, but I was searching for an answer, so maybe it will help others…

    In an additional twist, while using vista 64 connecting to 10.4.11, I found that I had to change the vista computer name to not contain a hyphen. So, computer name was eric-PC, and the policy NTLMv2 fix made no difference. I changed the name to ericpc (NTLMv2 change applied), and it started working.

    For what it’s worth…

  24. It may be an ancient thread, but it really is valuable if you are tearing your hair out. I have only a little left, so… I just upgraded to Vista Ult64 and had less than stellar results with the connections. My issue is that I needed to connect my mac to my local workgroup. (generally the opposite of what is discussed here. I also use parallels with both XP and Vista Ult available.

    However, connections to the Vista machine/workgroup was spotty at best. After looking through this list, two comments stood out: DON’T use dashes in your Vista PC name! My pc was named Mediacenter-PC. I changed it to MediacenterPC. AND Use the Administrative tools -> Local Security Policies -> Local Policies,

    Then scroll down the list until you get to Microsoft Network Server: entries. and change these: Amount of idle time required before suspending session: 99999 Disconnect clients when logon hours expire: Disabled

    Network Security entries. There are a couple things there that have changed in Vista: Force Logoff when logon hours expire: Set this to Disabled LAN Manager Authentication Level: Set this to Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated

    I did these, rebooted, and attempted to access my vista machine from my mac. I used finder then command-K The entry is SMB://vistamachinename

    It popped right up and asked me for the user/password for the vista machine. Even if you don’t have your drives shared, you can add /C$ or /D$ in the SMB line to get directly to your drives.

    Hope this helps – Saved my bacon…

  25. I was thrilled to find an answer that was easy and worked the first time. Vista 32bit >> OSX Leopard.

    Thanks! I was not looking forward to even owning Vista, but I really need to test my websites in various environments.

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