MigrationFilter: PC and Mac can't see each other over Ethernet cable
December 17, 2014 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I finally broke down and got a Macbook Air today. In trying to use Mac Migration Assistant to move files from my PC to the Mac, I went with best practices and connected them with an Ethernet cable. They can't seem to see each other. They see each other fine on my wifi (estimated wifi transfer time: 89 hrs), and both the Ethernet cable and the Mac Ethernet converter are working. Hope me, hive mind!
posted by Atrahasis to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First make sure file sharing turned on on the PC and check to see if there any security software/firewall running on the PC which might be blocking the connection.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:35 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can't use a standard ethernet cable to connect two computers. You need a criss-cross or a hub. That's because the computers are both the same gender, and a standard cable thus connects the transmit lines on both sides together, and the receive-sides on both sides.

An answer for you is to go spend about $30 for a cheap 4-port hub, and connect them both. (Then you get to play around with manually setting the IP's and making sure the subnets are right.)

A better answer is to accept that it'll be slow and handle it through WIFI. Then the hub takes care of all the IP settings.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

At first I thought you need a crossover cable, but checking Apple's support site it does not mention needing one, so I am assuming the Mac can configure itself correctly. Apple says to use CAT6, and I'd bet a good cat5e would be fine, so try a different cable.
posted by Sophont at 6:42 PM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Are you going PC to Mac or PC to hub to Mac?

Because if direct Chocolate Pickle is correct. Crossover cable (any decent IT dept. can make you one) or hub.

You will also need the PC app: apple.com/migrate-to-mac
posted by cjorgensen at 6:43 PM on December 17, 2014

Macs haven't needed a crossover ethernet cable for well over a decade thanks to Auto-Medium Dependent Interface Crossover. You do not need to purchase any additional equipment.
posted by mayhap at 6:56 PM on December 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

The MacBook can use a normal cable.

Configuring the setup requires futzing with the network settings as the computers won't automatically configure themselves for a peer-to-peer connection. Well, maybe 2 Macs or 2 PCs could but as you've experienced cross-platform is sketchy.

Try these settings:

Mac IP -
Netmask -

If you can ping then you're on the right track.
posted by llin at 7:02 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: From the looks of it, it's an issue with the static IPs you are setting on each of the machines.

Why don't you simply plug both machines via a wired connection to your router?
posted by harisund at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The apple support site says that criss-cross cables are no longer needed, and their preferred solution is to use a CAT6 cable, which is what I have. I have the Migration Assistant software running on both the PC and the Mac (going PC->Mac), but when they are trying to find each other, they can't.
llin: I have a suspicion you might be right. How do I configure the settings you suggest?
posted by Atrahasis at 7:06 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: Modern PC NICs don't need crossover cables either. But I'd start with using your router, if it happens to have Ethernet ports-- most of them do.

Buuut, if you have only 1 ethernet cable, go with llin's plan above. You're setting a Static IP on obth machines, which owuld normally probably use DHCP mode. Protip: don't forget to change them back DHCP mode.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:08 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Step 1 - Go to Walmart and buy external hard drive
Step 2 - Transfer files
Step 3 - Reformat hard drive
Step 4 - Return hard drive for refund
posted by Crotalus at 7:23 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I have more CAT6 cables than I can shake a stick at, and a small hub. Per harisund, connected them via the hub, and voila: the machines could see each other. Current estimated transfer time for 80GB ~ 2 hours. Thanks, everyone.
posted by Atrahasis at 7:29 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just curious -- a few people mentioned using hubs. Do you mean a literal hub, or do you mean a network switch? As far as I know, hubs are obsolete and haven't been manufactured in years. Asking for my own edification.
posted by akk2014 at 5:40 AM on December 18, 2014

Glad you got it. Sorry we may have led you astray with the crossover cable. People are correct that these are no longer needed. Basically the cards are now smart enough to know what kind of cable is in there.

The directions from Apple simply state that both machines need to be on the same network, so that's why it was going to work over wireless.

akk2014, I think people are using hub as a synonym of switch. It should work with either actually. You can create a local network using a hub, but yeah, for most people, whatever you buy these days will be a switch.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:48 AM on December 18, 2014

Response by poster: akk2014: Yes, it is a little switch, not a hub.
cjorgensen: Given the furious favoriting of the answers stating that no criss-cross cables are needed, I think no one was led astray :) Thanks for following up.

The transfer did finish in the time stated, and everything moved over smoothly. A++, would migrate again!
posted by Atrahasis at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2014

« Older Scraping real estate sites for private statistical...   |   What was this late night cartoon? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.