How to Change the Workgroup in Mac OS X for Easy Networking

When you are creating your home network and you need to add computers with different operating systems, one thing you must do, to make networking and sharing easier, is to change the workgroup. While we've shown how to do this in Windows, we did not show how its done in Mac OS X. In the future we plan to update our series on networking Mac OS X with Windows, so let's begin by showing how to change the workgroup in Mac OS X.

NOTE: This tutorial was created using OS X Mountain Lion (10.8).

Set the Workgroup in the Network Pane

First, you need to open System Preferences. Then, look for the Internet & Wireless section and click Network.

The Network pane displays a list with your network connections. Select the active network connection, the one for which you want to change the workgroup.

Click Advanced and you are shown the properties of the selected network connection.

Go to the WINS tab. WINS comes from Windows Internet Name Service and it is Microsoft's implementation of NetBIOS Name Service (NBNS) - a name server and service for NetBIOS computer names. The settings you make in this tab impact your network connection with Windows based devices and computers.

In the Workgroup field, type the new workgroup name you want to use. It must be the same name used by other computers in the network, to facilitate easy sharing of folders and devices.

When done, click OK and you are back to the Network pane. Then, click Apply and your workgroup settings are applied.


As you can see, changing the workgroup in Mac OS X is just as easy as in Windows and it is the first step you must take in order to have a good networking experience. For more tips about networking Mac OS X with Windows, read the articles recommended below.