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Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:12 pm

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Friday, July 22, 2011 -- Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion on Wednesday, available only as a 4 GB download from the Mac App Store for US $30. In addition to the widely publicized new user interface features, Apple' latest major Mac update includes several enhancements for compatibility with Windows or Windows networks, including Windows migration and new SMB file sharing. Boot Camp, however, drops support for Windows XP.

Windows migration
One new feature enables the migration of data and settings from a Windows PC to Mac OS X 10.7. The Windows Migration Assistant will transfer home folders and all the documents in it, and place them in the appropriate locations in Mac OS X (music, pictures, documents, etc). It also will copy email account information from Outlook and Windows Live Mail, as well as contacts and calendars, and import them into Mail, Address Book, and iCal. Windows migration moves over web browser bookmarks and users settings, including a customized desktop picture (also known as wallpaper).

During the installation of Lion, we encountered a screen called Transfer Information to This Mac, which included Transfer as a Windows PC as an option in addition of transferring from a Mac or from another disk. (The screen appears after the Keyboard screen.) There is also a download at Apple's web site called Windows Migration Assistant for Lion that actually installs in Windows XP SP3 or later.

Lion also updates the Microsoft Exchange Server support that began with Snow Leopard. Lion now supports Exchange 2010 with Mail, iCal, and Address Book. One new feature enables users to set an Exchange vacation message from Mail. Exchange 2007 SP 1 Update Rollup 4 is still the earliest version of the server supported.

Boot Camp
Boot Camp for running Windows is still included in Mac OS X 10.7. Apple says that new installations of Boot Camp in Lion will only support Windows 7. Older versions or Windows, however, are supported in updates to existing Boot Camp installations (i.e., Snow Leopard upgrades to Lion that included a Boot Camp partition). These continue to support Windows XP SP2 and later. We don't yet know the explanation for this.

Other than this, Apple has released very little information about Boot Camp in Lion. We have not been able to find a version number in Apple documentation (although it should be version 4.0). As of Thursday, Apple website technical articles still referred to versions 3.x of Snow Leopard. It can be assumed that there are no new features in Boot Camp, or Apple would have included them it Lion's features list.

SMB file sharing and DFS
Lion also sports a new SMB file sharing engine. Apple dumped the open source Samba, which had been used since Mac OS X 10.2. Snow Leopard had a lot of problems with SMB file sharing, though reports around the Internet pin Apple's decision on a disagreement over changes in licensing for the newest version of Samba.

One improvement to SMB file-sharing in Lion is built-in support for Microsoft's distributed file system (DFS). Lion now supports DFS URLs, drill-down, failover, and reconnects when connecting to Windows file servers.

Lion also supports NFS version 4, a more recent build of the Unix Network File System file sharing protocol.

View this article in the main MacWindows pages

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Simplifies the installation, configuration, and management of Apple's OS X Server software. Support Mac and Windows clients for file sharing, email, and directory services; Install software to your iOS devices and Macs. Incorporate a Mac subnet into a Windows Active Directory domain, manage Mac and Windows clients, and configure security options, and more. Click here for more.

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