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Mac OS X File Sharing and File Exchange

Mac OS X 10.2 or later has built-in support for file sharing with Windows and Unix systems. You can set your computer up as a file server or connect as a client using FTP, Web Server, SMB/CIFS, WebDAV and NFS, see the Sharing System Perferences for options.

In MacOS X you can read and write Window FAT16 aqnd FAT32 filesystems. MacOS X 10.4 can also read NTFS filesystems. This gives you access to long files names with the ablity to read external Windows formated USB and Firewire harddrive directly. If you are using Apple's BootCamp selecting windows partion type is important, if you select FAT16 or FAT32 you can read or write files from MacOS X, if you select NTFS you can only read files.

Text Edit which is part of MacOS X can Read and Write all install character sets (Unicode, Laten1, MacOS etc) Text files, RTF, HTML and MS Word files.

Also iChat can be used to send files between users of AOL and iChat without file sharing.

What is Macintosh icon PC Exchange
(MacOS 7.5, 8.x, and Mac OS 9.x)

Macintosh PC Exchange is a System 7 compatibility utility (comes with System 7.5 or later) that lets you use MS-DOS-format disks on your Macintosh. PC Exchange makes it easy to work with DOS data files on your Macintosh applications and to transfer files back and forth between a Macintosh and a PC-compatible computer simply by copying the files between disks.

File Exchange 3.0 (introduced with MacOS 8.5) allows users to set mappings from PC file extensions to Mac OS file types, to mount PC SCSI disks and drive containers, and to set File Translation preferences. The following changes have been made in File Exchange:

File Exchange Features:
PowerPC native, Appearance-savvy. Supports AppleScript. Consolidated interface for PC Exchange and File Translation (formerly, Mac OS Easy Open). Integrated editing of Internet Config extension mappings.

PC Foreign File System Features:
PowerPC native. Can mount all available PC volumes at startup or "on the fly". Supports multiple SCSI busses. Uses HDI driver (from DiskCopy) to mount PC disk images. Improved read/write/cache code path. Internet Config integration. Desktop Database support. Permits File Sharing of PC volumes and disk images.

Translation Manager Features:
PowerPC native. Built in to System file. Callable from 68K code.

AppleScript support includes:
Query and create translation and extension mappings. Query or change control panel settings.

Two-byte characters in traditional dos style 12345678.123 format file names weren't being displayed in Get Info. This has been corrected. Determines disk type (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32) using disk geometry, which primarily fixes problems with low-capacity FAT16-formatted PC cards. The PC Foreign File System's "mimicry" of HFS has been improved. Now, under as many circumstances as possible, the file system calls to the PC Foreign File System behave the same as similar calls to HFS). Allows use of PC disks with allocation block size >= 32K (for example, 2GB disks)

PC Exchange 2.2 (Comes with MacOS 8.1, does not work with prior versions of MacOS)
PC Exchange v2.2 supports VFAT and FAT32 volume formats as used by Windows 95. Support for Long File Names (LFN), DOS (FAT) file system and FAT32 support for 4 GB Volumes has also been added. PC Exchange now has better support for removable media, such as Jaz, Zip, and PMO.

PC Exchange V2.00 is the first version to support Syquest/Bernoulli cartridges. Mac OS 8.1 expands cross-platform compatibility with support for the long filenames of Windows 95, and PC-formatted Jaz & Zip drives. Mac OS 8.1 also supports DVD-ROMS, giving you access to an emerging media type.

Note: PC Exchange replaces Apple's application Apple File Exchange (AFE), which was used to read and write IBMpc compatible diskettes prior to System 7.5.

Please note that PC Exchange will not translate or convert data files into Macintosh data files. In addition, PC Exchange does not allow you to work with MS-DOS or Windows application (.EXE) programs on your Macintosh.

MacLink Plus Translators have been bundle with MacOS 7.6.1, MacOS 8.0, and MacOS 8.1. When the current version of MacLink Plus is installed it include translators for most file formats. MacOS 7.6 has MacLink v8.1 bundled with it. MacOS 8.1 came with V9.02. It is a utility that lets you use files that were created in applications that you don't have.

Specifically, it uses file translation to convert files from one format to another - even DOS and Windows formats. Use the program called Document Converter to select and convert between formats.

With the use of Claris XTND translators you can access most MS-DOS graphics formats and word processing formats from applications like: ClarisWorks, MacWrite II, FileMaker Pro, and WordPerfect. See the map page for graphics translators included on the CD-ROM.

Current trend is to use the same file format for products on both Macintosh and Windows. There are a number of applications that are cross platform compatible. Here is a short list of software that use the same file format and are compatible: Adobe PhotoShop V3.0 or later, FileMaker Pro, ClarisWorks V3 or later, and Microsoft Word V6 or later have file formats that are same for both Macintosh and PC-compatible computers.

Correct Macintosh File Types and Windows Extension (three character suffixes) Required

It is important that file have the correct Macintosh file type when they are accessed by a Macintosh application. It is also important for Windows user to have the correct three character file name extension. For details check out the "cross-platform compatible" file extensions.

Using PC Exchange to Creating (format) a MS-DOS Disk on Macintosh

Insert a blank disk and select the format in the resulting dialog box. If you insert an already formatted disk you can select Erase disk... from the Special menu.

Note: PC formatted disk have an ICON of

User that exchange documents with MS-DOS/Windows computers will find PC Exchange control panel invaluable. It allows a user to insert IBMpc compatible diskette into Macintosh, and read the files or copy the file directly to or from the IBMpc diskette.

Setting up PC Exchange

The following section shows some example of map file name extension to Macintosh applications and file types.

After opening the PC Exchange control panel, click on the Add Button, it will present the following dialog:

screen dump of pc exchange contorl panel

Fill in the DOS Suffix (the three character extension) for the file type, then locate the Macintosh application that can read that file type on your hard drive or file server. Once you select the application the document type can be selected.

If the MSDOS extension is not found in the list, it is up to the user toset the file tpe (if needed) and open the application that can read that document type, and select Open item from the File menu. An example is ClarisWork, its can be used to read many different file formats, such as: Rich Text Format (.rtf), WordPerfect 5.1, MS Word wordprocessor files; Lotus 1.2.3 spreadsheet files and dBase database files. If the file extension is not defined in the PC Exchange control panel, you can still open these file by selecting open from ClarisWorks File menu

Sample Macintosh viewer applications

JPEGView, Replica Viewer, SoundMachine, Sparkle, SimpleText (Apple's replacement for TeachText) are available for free or come with the Macintosh operating system, check one of the on-line services such as Info-Mac Archive or Version Tracker. The follow figure list the MSDOS file extensions mapping, name of the applications, and the Macintosh file type I use with PC Exchange on a Macintosh to aid in the exchange of IBMpc based files. MacOS 8.5 alread assigns the MSDOS file extensions you can review them and change them if needed.

MSDOS Extension - Macintosh Application - Macintosh Type

Updated: 9 July 2006
Copyright © 1990-2006, All Rights Reserved By R. Mark Fleming.