I'm new to this particular aspect of home networking. Having read the various replies here, I've had a long think about it all and concluded - surprise, surprise - that I won't be able to do what I want without involving file/folder sharing. But it's the method for getting the sharing that's the tricky part. I think once I've cracked that, each computer will be able to see the other. There may be one or more security issues involved in this, though.
Meanwhile, I've found an article describing how to do this sort of sharing, albeit that it was written about four years ago and is nowhere near as straightforward as I was hoping. It appears that there are one or two different ways of getting the shared status, depending on exactly what you ultimately want to do. And you can set it up from either the Mac or the Windows PC.
What's concerned me, though, has been that, regardless of the method, what will happen is that, on the XP machine 'File & Printer Sharing' will get turned on. Now, I do vaguely recall that some years ago F&PS was globally regarded as a security risk; it could succumb, apparently, to probing or hacking from the Internet. I've therefore always had that turned off in the Properties of the Network Connection. Whether or not that vulnerability has since been stemmed by other features of Microsoft Networks (or specifically by an XP update) I've no idea, but in my mind it represents a bit of a concern. Incidentally, my XP has always been kept bang up to date and has been stable for several years. Being still a popular OS, I'd imagine that many of its users around the world will have used it in this or similar networking situations. However, I still have that nagging doubt about the F&PS vulnerability. Does it still exist?
I've actually now done a dummy run of setting up the sharing of a folder that sits on the XP machine (I'd want to transfer the picture files from that folder to the Mac). The path it led me down was to run the XP's Network Setup Wizard. This seemed a bit odd, as the network already exists. Anyway, it got to the point where it announced that it would, in the next step, turn on F&PS and I chickened out. Quitting the wizard and going back to the very start and selecting just plain vanilla file/folder sharing instead then got me simply a strong warning notice that this option wasn't recommended. I abandoned the exercise at that point.
So, the questions that come to mind are: (1) Does that F&PS vulnerability still exist? (2) Do I really need to run XP's Network Setup Wizard, given that the network already exists, or can I ignore running that wizard and instead safely opt for plain file/folder sharing instead. Does the wizard give anything extra, eg. in firewalling against external intrusion if F&PS is enabled?
Just to clarify: my understanding is that F&PS applies at both the LAN and Internet levels and that it's because of the latter of these two that it represents (or at one time, represented) a security risk. I've no need for 'remote sharing', only sharing within the LAN, so if I can get away with plain-and-simple file/folder sharing without needing to enable F&PS, that'd suit me fine. Or is that just a contradiction?!
Edited by meditator (Mon 21-Apr-14 11:47:18)