How to get XP desktop & OSX laptop to play nice in a LAN?
June 1, 2005 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting an OSX laptop Monday after the keynote, and I'm trying to figure out how to get to place nice with my XP desktop.

  • What router would you recommend? I want something I can plug into my desktop that provides wireless for the laptop.
  • Will I be able to transfer documents back and forth between the the desktop and laptop?
  • Should I reformat my XP's HDs to an alternate format so the Mac can read/write? (FAT32, NTFS, whatever)
  • I'd like to be able to just run the desktop as a headless box, so I can use my current keyboard, mouse, and monitor on the xBook when I'm at my desk. Suggestions?
  • Would I be better off switching my XP box to a Linux box to accomplish all of the above? Any links to tutorials?
and why is this in Times New Roman?
posted by keswick to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
If I recall correctly, OS X can't write to NTFS or FAT32, just FAT or FAT16. You shouldn't have a problem sharing, but transferring can be a problem if you need to write to the PC. (this information may be completely by outdated now)
posted by dual_action at 3:08 PM on June 1, 2005

Response by poster: Ah, there's the problem. I'd like to be able to work on a file on my laptop and save it to the desktop box.

posted by keswick at 3:49 PM on June 1, 2005

Best answer: Yeah, it mounts NTFS read-only, but all FATs read-write, but it doesn't matter over SMB.

Another must-have thing, assuming you have XP Pro (not Home) on the desktop machine, is Remote Desktop Connection Client for the Mac. It's a free download at Microsoft's Mac site. If you have XP Home you'll want a VNC Server for the PC and (say) Chicken of the VNC for the Mac, but RDC is better (faster) if you have XP Pro.
posted by kindall at 4:35 PM on June 1, 2005

Yep, odinsdream is right - I just tried it at home. I created a text document on the PC, transferred it to the mounted drive on the Mac, made some changes, and copied it back to the PC. There were some formatting changes (not surprising) but otherwise it worked.

I had trouble in the past trying to transfer some files from the iBook to a NTFS formatted external drive - that's what will not work.

On preview - kindall is also correct.
posted by dual_action at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2005

dual's test is perhaps the hardest to pass - I've never been able to get text files to work totally right. But the flip side is that I've also never had problems with any other file type. Just be careful with extensions (OS X is super sloppy about it) and you should be fine.
posted by heresiarch at 8:43 PM on June 1, 2005

Another quick note: There are still some parts of files that are stored in "resource forks", which cannot be read by windows. Things like custom file icons, custom file associations, application dialogs (.nibs) etc. If you want to preserve these attributes when you pass files through your PC, just use the finder to 'Create .zip archives' of them first.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:47 PM on June 1, 2005

Response by poster: Hmm. I have like 80 gigs of music and I'd like to be able to keep 'em on my desktop's HD and use it as a media server.
posted by keswick at 8:50 PM on June 1, 2005

If you want to share music (play it across your network) iTunes will do that. Just go under Preferences > Sharing and check both "look for shared music" and "share my music".

I recently setup the same scenario and it wasn't that difficult...required a little tweaking and troubleshooting. I used apple's information to help the most.
posted by Yukon at 5:26 AM on June 2, 2005

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