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I need to install something from a CD on my PC, but it doesn't have an optical drive. I have an optical drive on my Mac.

I have enabled "DVD or CD Sharing" from System Preferences:Sharing. However, when I browse to my Mac on the Network (e.g. \\OSXHostName I don't see the optical drive show up.)

If I add the drive as a shared folder, then I can see it under (e.g.) \\OSXHostName\OFFICE12 but when I double click on it, I get a dialog box telling me it "is not accessible. You might not have permssion to use this network resource..." But in file sharing everyone has at least read-only access.

I did find one trick mentioned, whereby one creates a symlink from the mounted optical drive to one's home directory, e.g. ln -s /Volumes/OFFICE12 ~/OFFICE12. But when I do that it doesn't show up (it seems to be hidden) and if I try to manually enter the path into Windows Explorer it says "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action..."

I have no problem accessing the home folder on my Mac.

All the instructions I seem to find mention sharing an optical disk on a Windows PC to a Mac, or sharing an optical disk from one Mac to another. How do I share an optical disk from the Mac to Windows? I expected it to "just work".

  • Recognizing a shared disc requires specific software. Apple has made the software available to share from Windows to Mac (see this), but not software to recognize a Mac-shared drive on Windows. Most likely they are assuming that Windows machines are more likely to have a DVD drive and therefore Mac -> Windows sharing isn't necessary. – tubedogg May 28 '15 at 4:41
  • @tubedogg But it seems odd to me that trying to share it as a regular drive wouldn't work either... – Michael May 28 '15 at 4:47
  • A DVD drive is the not the same thing as a hard drive, and the system accesses them in different ways. Also keep in mind the disc may not be formatted in such a way that Mac can feed its contents to Windows, hence the error. I just tried setting a CD containing photos as a shared folder and was able to access it from my other Mac with no problems. – tubedogg May 28 '15 at 5:02
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    I just succeeded in accessing my optical drive on my Mac (OS X 10.10.3) from my PC (Windows 8.1). So at least you know it can be done. – David Anderson May 28 '15 at 7:10
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It would appear tubedogg is correct. Or at least I know of no reason he/she is wrong. HOWEVER, while you may not be able to share the optical drive, it does appear you can share the content (CD or DVD) in the drive. This means you must insert the disk into the optical drive before enabling the sharing of the content with the Windows machine. I have verified this for both a data DVD and music CD.

Setup with Empty Optical Drive on the Mac

The Finder shows the following. The Coelacanth and Marlin are the only visible internal drive partitions on the Mac named Marlin.

Sharing under System Preferences shows the following. The only shared folders are each user's default public folder. The "File Sharing" box is checked off, as well as, all boxes in the "Options..." popup window. The "DVD or CD Sharing" box is not checked off.

Note: "Screen Sharing" is only checked off, because the two computers are currently connected using VNC. I verified this has no effect on this answer.

On the Windows PC side, the machine named Shark displays the following. Here, the Mac is already sharing its folders with the Windows PC. The internal drive partitions "Linux HFS+ ESP" and "rEFInd" are flagged as hidden so they did not appear in the Finder window shown above.

Setup after Inserting a Data DVD Into the Optical Drive on the Mac

The DVD now appears in the Finder, as shown below.

I clicked the + symbol and added the DVD to the list of shared folders shown on the Sharing window of the System Preferences. The result is shown below.

This results in the DVD automatically appearing on the Windows machine, as shown below.

I can now open this folder and access the files on the DVD.

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An alternative, to accessing the Mac's optical drive from Windows PC machine, would be to create an .iso file to use on the Windows machine. The steps are given below.

  1. Use the optical drive on the Mac to create an .iso file from the CD/DVD. See Mac OS X: Best Way to Make an ISO from a CD or DVD for ways to accomplish this. To test, I used the first 9 steps given here.
  2. Transfer the .iso file to the Windows PC machine.
  3. Right click the file and select Mount.

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