Top tips: Making your Macs and PCs get along

Our engineers share their top tips for making sure your Macs get along with your Windows hardware, giving you the inside track on everything from AD integration to file management.

Make sure your team can authenticate using Active Directory

The traditional method of Apple integration has been the ‘Golden Triangle’, whereby a Mac server and Windows server run in tandem to give Macs access to Active Directory. However, unless you have IT experts on hand who know the Mac platform inside out, incorporating Mac servers can be time-consuming.

One way around this is to run your Macs as part of your Windows infrastructure. Using Centrify’s DirectControl software, you can manage authentication and policies on all your Macs as if they were PCs. DirectControl simply sits on your Windows server and sees them as if they were PCs. We can help you integrate all of your devices into the same infrastructure.

Ensure everyone can access their files

There are two problems here. Historically, the Mac platform has come up against incompatibility issues when running alongside Windows. One of the most common is being able to access files that are saved on Windows servers.

ExtremeZ-IP by Acronis taps into the Mac’s native Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and lets Mac users access Windows file and print servers as if they were PC users, without coming up against inaccessible and corrupted files. Essentially it sits on the server to improve the user experience. (There’s a similar program on the iPad side of things, Acronis Access, which allows you to give iOS users secure and managed access to files that are stored on corporate servers by logging in with their AD credentials.)

Make PC-only apps available on Mac

On a basic level, Boot Camp, which comes built into Mac OS X, allows users to choose between an OS X environment and a Windows one at startup. However, that said, it’s not the most effective option out there. The two environments are completely separate, and you have to reboot to move between them.

With Parallels Desktop, you can provide your team with Windows applications directly on a Mac. Whether you opt for desktop virtualisation whereby both platforms are loaded to your machine for you to access, or virtualised applications that are streamed to client devices will depend on your exact setup. Get in touch with us to find out which is the best choice for you, but both will allow your end users to access both OS X and Windows applications without having to log out and restart the computer. You can even share files between the two platforms.

We have 21 years’ experience helping organisations of all sizes understand the benefits of Apple hardware and of cross-platform environments. As well as providing hardware and software, our team are qualified system integrators. We were the first ever Enterprise Device Alliance integrator and work closely with the likes of Absolute Software and Acronis to deliver solutions that make the process of running Macs and iPad in a traditional Active Directory PC environment an easier one.

Make sure you stay in control of your desktops

If you need to maintain tighter control over who does what with their Windows apps, or want to conserve resources by only allowing certain users access to certain programs, take a look at Citrix XenDesktop. It lets you host Windows desktops on a central server and stream them to individual Macs on demand.

From an admin point of view this is awesome – you can update apps on your server rather than client machines, so everyone’s always streaming the latest version. You can create different user groups or roles, so people are only streaming what you want them to, and you can grant different permissions to, say, remote and in-office workers, so that no-one can save mission critical information to their home computer.

Want to know more about Mac/PC integration? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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