You may not of heard about DVD sharing on a Mac. Why would you, your Mac computer has a SuperDrive. Right?
Well this depends on which Mac you have. As of June 2012, the MacBook Air family, the Mac mini, and the all new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, have no SuperDrive.
In the case of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro it is understandable. both are highly portable computer, intended to be light-weight with good battery life.
Many users will probably have another Mac and can easily transfer files.
But the Mac mini is slightly different! It is intended to be a desktop machine. It is aimed at new Mac users switching from a Windows PC, and it makes a wonderful entertainment system, or at least it did.
So how do you get access to a DVD or SuperDrive? This is where we introduce the concept of Mac DVD sharing. Basically, this is where you borrow a DVD drive or SuperDrive on another computer.
This 'borrowed' drive becomes a remote disc, and is accessed remotely by the computer requiring access to the DVD. If you read through the steps involved in setting up DVD sharing you would be right in thinking that it wasn't too complicated.
Apple have made the process easy by including the capability in Mac OS X, starting with Mac OS X Tiger (version 10.4.10), and have also written a nice little Windows application that enables DVD sharing on a Windows PC.
The problem though is that even after following Apples instructions to the letter, we just could not get the 'Remote Disc' icon to appear in Finder. No icon means no DVD sharing!
So we did some research and discovered that some additional set-up steps are needed. We have captured all of the steps necessary for success in this tutorial.
We cover the two scenarios available, sharing a SuperDrive on another Mac e.g. iMac, MacBook Pro, as well as sharing a DVD drive on a Windows PC.
We have tested this tutorial on both Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and Mac OS X Lion (10.7.4) and it works a treat!
The first scenario that we will look at is sharing a SuperDrive on one Mac computer. This section is aimed at users who own a Mac with a SuperDrive and want to share it as a remote disc on their MacBook Air, Mac mini, or MacBook Pro (or any Mac if you so desire!).
Just before we launch into our step-by-step tutorial let's list the prerequisites required for this to work;
That's it! We should be ready to set-up our remote disc. Follow the steps below and you will soon be up and running. Lets start by setting up the DVD sharing on the Mac with the SuperDrive.
First we need to enter the 'System Preferences' window. This is achieved by clicking the 'System Preferences' icon on the Dock, or by clicking on the Apple menu in the top left-hand corner of your desktop and clicking the 'System Preference...' option.
Either option should display the following window;
If you look at the third row down, under the section titled 'Internet & Wireless', is an option called 'Sharing'. Click on it and you will see the settings window shown below.
Now looking at the 'Sharing' settings window you will see a column on the left with a list of the sharing options available on your Mac. The very first one is called 'DVD or CD Sharing' and is probably already highlighted, but click on the name in the list just to make sure.
Clicking on 'DVD or CD Sharing' will show you the available options on the right-hand side of the window.
Looking at the list, on the left of the window again, you will see a column titled 'ON' which contains a list of check boxes, one for each option. Click the one next to 'DVD or CD Sharing' and a tick will appear.
This has enabled DVD sharing and as shown in the screenshot below the 'DVD or CD Sharing' option changes to ON.
Looking at the 'DVD or CD Sharing' options again, you will see another option which is probably ticked by default called 'Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD drive'. This option is kind of self explanatory. If you are in a multi-user environment and someone try's to access your remote disc you will be asked if it is ok. You simply accept or decline.
If you are at home and both Macs are yours then you will probably want to uncheck this option. But of course it is up to you?
Now you can exit the 'System Preferences' window?
That completes the steps necessary to set-up a SuperDrive as a Remote Disc on your Mac computer. The next section takes you through the steps required to set-up DVD sharing, on a Windows 7 PC.
This scenario is for those users who own a single Mac computer, such as the 2011 Mac mini or the MacBook Air, and as a result have no access to a SuperDrive. But, still own a Windows PC fitted with a DVD drive.
Here we look at how to set-up the Windows DVD drive as a remote disc. Just before we launch into our step-by-step tutorial let's list the prerequisites required for this to work;
That's it! We should be ready to set-up our remote disc. Follow the steps below and you will soon be up and running. Let's start by setting up the DVD sharing on the Windows PC.
First we need to get the Windows program (ODSSetup.exe) created by Apple to allow a Mac to share a DVD that is on a Windows PC. Start up Internet Explorer, or your preferred web browser, and visit http://support.apple.com/kb/DL112, and click on the 'Download' button to download the program to your Windows PC.
Note: If when you run the Windows program from Apple you get an error message stating that it is not a valid Win32 program, simply download it again. We had to do this twice before it worked.
Run the Windows program and follow the steps through to successful completion, as indicated by the screen below.
Now you need to go into the Windows Control Panel, via the Start menu, and select the section titled 'Hardware and Sound'. You will see the options in the screenshot below;
Click on the option called 'DVD or CD Sharing options'. You will now see a new smaller window displayed with just two options, as shown in the screenshot below;
These options are the same as the options for the Mac DVD Sharing set-up. The first option 'Enable DVD or CD Sharing' needs to be ticked to allow the DVD sharing to work. The second option 'Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD' only needs to be checked if you want to be asked before your Mac can connect each time.
That completes the set-up process on the Windows PC. We have now covered setting up DVD sharing on both a Mac and a Windows PC. The final section of this tutorial will cover connecting a Mac, such as the Mac mini or MacBook Air, to the remote disc.
So far we have worked through setting up both a Mac computer and a Windows PC as DVD Remote Discs. This section guides you through the process of connecting a Mac to a Remote Disc. This process will work with either a Mac Remote Disc or the Windows Remote Disc.
If you open the Finder you should now see a new item listed under 'devices', called 'Remote Disc', as shown in the screenshot below.
If you now click on the 'Remote Disc' device it will list all of the computers, on the same network, that have DVD sharing enabled. In our case above there is a single Windows PC called 'gary-PC'.
Locate the system you want and double click it's icon. At this point a connection will be attempted between your Mac and the remote computer. In this case the Windows PC is set up to present the user of the PC with a request to accept the remote connection, so our Finder has a button labelled 'Ask to Use' as shown in the screenshot below;
Click on the 'Ask to Use' button. While your Mac is waiting for acceptance it will display the following window;
As soon the connection to the remote computer is accepted. The Finder will display all of the Remote Discs available, on that system, for you to access. The screenshot below shows that on our Mac we can access a single DVD.
Now that you have access to the remote DVD all you need to do is double click it to be able to browse the contents, as shown in the screenshot below. You can also see the disc displayed on the desktop in the upper right-hand corner.
It is possible that you cannot see a device called 'Remote Disc'. We experienced this problem when we first tried using the remote disc functionality. In order to fix it we must open the 'Terminal' utility and enter two commands that correct two settings as described below.
Go into the 'Applications' folder and open the 'Utilities' folder. Inside you will find a number of utilities listed. Look for one called 'Terminal' and click on it to run it. You should see a window open that looks similar to the one shown below. Note that it will not be identical.
If you have never used the Terminal before, don't panic! It is simply a window in which you type a command, followed by hitting the 'Return' or 'Enter' key to execute the command. If you type the command incorrectly you will see an error message.
It is possible to cause havoc with your Mac if you enter the wrong commands. But if you simply type in the commands that we show you then all will be well.
Starting with the first command, type in;
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser EnableODiskBrowsing -bool true
When you are happy hit the 'Return' key. No error messages means it completed ok.
Now the second command, type in;
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser ODSSupported -bool true
When you are happy hit the 'Return' key again. No error messages means it completed ok.
If you got no error messages then all is well. But if you want to check that your efforts worked ok, then enter the command below;
defaults read com.apple.NetworkBrowser
Hitting the 'Return' key this time will result in some information being written to the Terminal, as shown below;
EnableODiskBrowsing = 1;
ODSSupported = 1;
If both parameters are set to 1 then everything has worked. If not then you probably entered the command incorrectly.
If everything is ok then reboot your Mac. Open a Finder window and you should now see the 'Remote Disc' listed under 'Devices' as shown in the screenshot below;
We hope that you find this tutorial helpful. If you think that we have missed something out, or made an error in the description then please contact us. We appreciate any comments, it helps us improve our service to you!
The download is a zip file that contains this tutorial as a PDF and, as a bonus, an ePub version which is compatible with iBooks on your iPhone or iPad.