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Article: Sharing Files with Wintel Laptops

by on January 24, 2001

Almost every PowerBook user has had to go through this – sharing files with a friend (or colleague) that is using a Wintel laptop. You’ve got a PowerBook, so what are you to do? Read on…


The first method is known as sneakernet. This is the cheapest and easiest. You just have to be prepared. Essentially, this is just putting files on a disk from one laptop and copying them on the other. You need: Apple’s PC Exchange, Apple File Exchange, or DOSMounter to make a PC disk show up on the Mac’s desktop. The first two come with the Mac OS (PC Exchange comes with 7.5 and up, and AFE comes with 6.0.8 through 7.1), the other is extra. PC Exchange will work with System 7.0.1 (just not officially). You also need a DOS formatted floppy disk – this can be any disk formatted as a DOS disk in the Finder. This can also be done with any other kind of removable media, such a SyQuest, Zip, and others.


This is a more efficient method, but requires more work. Basically, you are going to set up a miniature network. However, Macs and PCs have different network ports: Macs have LocalTalk and some have Ethernet, PCs have serial, parallel, and a few have Ethernet. There used to be a LocalTalk adapter for a PC parallel port. Ethernet will be easier.


This is just sending the files as an attatchment with an email, using file transfer in an IM service, or accessing a shared FTP server. This is only convenient if there is an internet connection that supports both Macs and PCs nearby.


The last method is wireless. Most PCs have IrDA ports, and most PowerBooks made after the 5300 had infrared that were IrDA compliant. Basically, this is hit or miss, you both have to have IrDA software and just point and shoot

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