How do I get files off my PC when all I have is a MAc laptop?
September 20, 2007 5:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a Mac laptop, which replaced my PC which I used for many years.....I recently found out that there is some files and such on my PC that I need to take of my computer and store onto my new external hard drive....Yes, I should of did this before hand....

I saved my computer, but got rid of the monitor and most of the cables...

My question: Is there a way to hook up my PC to my mac laptop and access the files from it? Any special hardware or wires I would need?
Or are there any kind of computer specialty stores that would let me hook up my computer to a monitor (per hour I guess) to do my data transfer?

I'm in Verona, NJ if i can narrow down my travel time....
posted by TwilightKid to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How handy are you? You could take the hard drive out of the PC and put it into the external enclosure, transfer the files to your Mac, and then reinstall the external enclosure's original hard drive and transfer the files from the Mac to the enclosure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:03 PM on September 20, 2007

Response by poster: I'm definitely not that handy...heck, I had to read your response twice to even come close to figuring that out....Hahah. Yup, I need a solution bout 65% more basic than
posted by TwilightKid at 6:10 PM on September 20, 2007

1) Grab a network cable, connect the two machines.
2) In windows, go to control panel, network interfaces, wired ethernet, TCP/IP settings. Set a manual IP of Turn off wireless.
3) In OSX go to location->network settings. Set a manual IP for the wired ethernet port of Turn off your airport card.
4) In Windows, right click on the root of the drive, select "Sharing and Security" , and share the whole drive.
5) In OSX hit Option-K, and open CIFS://, select the share (probably called "C"), enter your windows password if it asks, and then start finding and copying your files.
posted by pompomtom at 6:16 PM on September 20, 2007

Response by poster: I'm still learning my way around the Mac.

When I connect the two machines via a network cable, where would I locate all the PC specifics?

In Mac, I would go into 'Finder' to access the innards of that machine...
posted by TwilightKid at 6:20 PM on September 20, 2007

If all goes well (following pompomtom's directions), you'll see the shared volume on your desktop, likely right below the Macintosh HD icon. It will be called "C" or "Windows" or whatever it was named.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 7:18 PM on September 20, 2007

It's going to be tricky primarily because the PC is headless (no monitor). What springs to my mind is using a rescue CD such as a Linux Live CD that automatically finds your PC's disk and makes it available over the network (CIFS, SSH, etc). This of course depends on a few things: That your PC was set to boot from CD before the hard drive, that your PC can actually boot headless (some BIOSes don't permit this), and finding a Live CD that can do what you want.

There is a system rescue CD that has the right general features but you'd still need some technical skill. You might be better off borrowing somebody's monitor for a few hours.
posted by dereisbaer at 7:21 PM on September 20, 2007

I found an example way to do it with Knoppix, which is a Linux Live CD. Do you know how to download and burn an ISO CD using the mac?
posted by dereisbaer at 7:33 PM on September 20, 2007

The lack of monitor on the PC is the problem here. If you had a monitor on the PC, then you'd just use windows to copy to a USB memory stick (or your external hard disk) rather than all this networking mumbo-jumbo... The way I see it, you have two options:

1. Connect it to a monitor. If you take it to a friend's house, you will most likely find that if you unplug their box, you can plug all their cables into your PC.. Then, do what I said and plug the external HDD into the PC, copy all the files across and you're done...

2. Copy directly from the hard disk. Easiest way to do this is to get one of these (note: first ebay result I found, not a recommendation, but demo of the type of cord you want), plug it into the hard disk from the PC (bonus points if you don't actually unscrew and remove the hard disk first!) and copy it all across as if the hard disk is just an external drive!

Option 2 has the added bonus that it is future proof, as you will always have the cable if you want to do it again later (with this PC or any other)
posted by ranglin at 8:03 PM on September 20, 2007

I would have suggest file sharing, but you don't have a monitor.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:45 PM on September 20, 2007

Ranglin has it. I was going to link this one but it's the same thing. Yank the drive from the PC and connect it to the Mac as an external device.

On second thought, you might want to use that drive for other stuff, and having a bare drive sitting around while operating is an invitation for comedy/tragedy. Get an enclosure and slap the drive in there.

The trouble is that, depending on the age of the PC, the drive might be parallel (old) ATA (sometimes called IDE), or SATA. Ranglin's adapter includes both types of interfaces so it doesn't matter, but if you're buying an enclosure, you'll need to get either a parallel ATA enclosure or a SATA enclosure.

Once you get the side off the PC, you should be able to see the difference between parallel ATA and SATA should be obvious, then you can order the right enclosure.
posted by Myself at 10:14 PM on September 20, 2007

I totally missed the monitor part. My apologies.
posted by pompomtom at 11:36 PM on September 20, 2007

It is going to be a MILLION times easier to go the external hard drive route.

It's really simple. Get a suitable enclosure (your only real concern is whether it's IDE (PATA) or SATA) - unless your computer from a few years ago was really high-end it's very likely that it's IDE.

All you need to do is get the enclosure, remove the case, open the computer, remove the drive and then put the drive in the external enclosure. There's only two cables to worry about. They are both 'keyed' so they only fit in one way.

When you plug the drive into the Mac it will just show up as a drive on the Desktop.

When you've got everything you need from the drive, you should be able to reformat the drive and use it as an external drive for all sorts of exciting things.
posted by sycophant at 2:01 AM on September 21, 2007

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