How To Stop Windows Viruses From Infecting Mac Files in VmWare Fusion

If the virtualized Windows computer is hit by a virus, there's a good chance it will infect the files in your shared / User directory. More over viruses even target shared folders. VMWare Fusion shares User directory with virtualized Windows installations. This is made automatically and independently of OS X's file sharing systems, that means it works even if both Windows Sharing and Personal File Sharing are not turned on in System Preferences (even if MAC OS-X's firewall is turned on).

The resolution is to turn off VMWare Fusion 's sharing attribute, and then build a shared folder in the virtual Windows machine, which you can access with OS X's Finder. In this way, any virus will not "notice" files on the OS-X host, but you can still switch files back and forth. The following commands are for a virtualized XP Home. In XP Pro sharing preferences are slightly different, but you can easily figure it out. Once these commands are followed, you can still drag files between the virtual machine and the OS X desktop:

  1. Shutting down the virtual Windows via Start -> Turn Off Computer.
  2. On VMWare Fusion Click Settings for the virtual machine, click on Shared Folders on left, and remove all checks against Enabled and Enabled at Power On.
  3. Now Restart the virtual machine.
  4. When booted, choose folder that you want to share and right-click (such as My Pictures) then click on Properties.
  5. Click on Sharing tab and click on hyperlinked text that says "If you understand the security risks but want to share files …"
  6. In the dialog that appears, click Just Enable File Sharing, and click OK.
  7. Click Share This Folder On the Network, and then click Allow Network Users to Change my Files. Click OK.
  8. Now you will need IP address of the virtualized Windows computer. Most likely it will be, but you can check by clicking Start -> Run, typing cmd, and typing ipconfig at the prompt. Look for the line that reads IP Address.
  9. On the OS X host computer, open a Finder window and click Go -> Connect to Server.
  10. On the Server Address line, type smb: // (possibly replacing the IP address with the one you discovered earlier). Click Connect.
  11. A dialog should appear letting you log into the Windows share. You might have to type your Windows user-name and password. If there is no password, leave the password field blank.

Surely, you can create an OS X desktop shortcut to the share, too. Simply right-click the icon that appears after you mount the share and click Make Alias. Make sure to drag the new mount to the Trash before shutting down the virtual machine.

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