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Peer-to-Peer Cross-Platform Networking

Updated April 4, 2003

Peer-to-peer file and print service is a type of networking that doesn't require a dedicated server. However, the products described here can also be used with dedicated servers.

On this page, tips using:

For descriptions of products that enable peer-to-peer networking, see MacWindows Solutions.

Null-modem (aka Cross-Over or One-to-One) Connections

Also some ideas of free or cheap file sharing between 1 Mac and 1 Windows PC. We have three solutions described here:

Moving Files with a serial null-modem cable.

You can transfer files between Mac and PCs directly from the serial port of the PC to the printer port of the Mac without using modems (as described below). Instead, you use a null-modem cable, similar to the cross-over cable for Ethernet described in the tip at the beginning of this section, but over a serial connection. You'll also need some software to move the files. We'll discribe cables first, and then software solutions.

Null Modem cables

Anyone can buy a null-modem cable. PC-to-PC null modem cables are common, and then you'd need a Mac-to-PC converter. Reader Marc Herbert uses a cable designed to connect a PC modem to a Macintosh. He says "This kind of cable is very common, and then you only need to have a standard PC/PC null modem cable." You also need software to move the files.

Reader Eric Lum that the cable that came with his Agfa digital camera was actually a null-modem cable with the correct Mac and PC connectors already built-in. The cable connects the camera to the Com1 port on the PC. The cable has a Com1 port (9 pin serial) connector on one end, with an adapter to switch it back to a Mac serial port as well). If you don't have a camera, Lum points out that Cables to Go can make a custom one for you, or perhaps you could buy one from Agfa.The Dell PC was running Windows NT, and the Com1 port was the same port Lum used to connect the camera.

Another reader wrote to say that Apple serial printer cables are also actually null-modem cables:

"One good solution is to use a so-called Mac 512 Imagewriter printer cable which has a miniDIN 8 connector on one end and a MALE DB-9 connector on the other. Mac printer cables ARE null modem, so all that would be needed in addition to the cable is a gender changer for the DB-9 connector.

"We made the connection using a LapLink cable (null modem), a miniDIN8-to-DB-9 adapter that came with a digital camera, and some miniDIN 8 straight-through extensions (only 8-foot lengths were available at the store, although 25-foot lengths are manufactured)."

Software for Null-modem file transfer

You can use two terminal applications on both ends. On the Mac, you can use the Communications module of ClarisWorks or a traditional terminal program. Lum used Microphone LT. The shareware ZTerm worked, but had problems transferring files over 5 MB in size. However, Lum discovered that the HyperTerminal applications on Windows did not work without a modem. Instead, he used a shareware application called COM 6.9. His settings:

There is no hardware handshaking, since there are no modems involved. Make sure to set both to recognize their respective serial/printer ports. Lum has transferred several hundred files between the Mac and PC over his camera cable.

Marc Herbert had some tips on using HyperTerminal:

"Hyper Terminal does work without any modem, on direct serial connection, even if it's not easy to find these settings at first. Speeds up to 115200 bps work. But maybe hardware handshaking is then useful. Hardware flow control is designed to work between a modem and a serial port, but has no reason not to work between two serial ports."

A more Mac-like piece of software is Star Gate, a shareware utility that lets you do drag and drop file transfers between a Mac and a Windows PC connected by a null-modem serial cable. Several have recommended it. One wrote:

"Star Gate is a winner! When you have no Ethernet (usually a PC short-coming), it's a super way to shuttle files back and forth between a PC and Mac."

Direct Modem-to-Modem Connection

You can also transfer data between two computers by connecting the modems together. The advantage over the null-mode cable mentioned below is that you can use a standard telephone cable.This can be a Mac and a PC, or two Macs, or two PCs. You can use terminal emulator software to move the files. On the Mac, you can use the Communications module of ClarisWorks or a traditional terminal program, such as the shareware ZTerm.

  1. Connect the modems of the two computers with an ordinary telephone cable with RJ-11 jacks.
  2. Set the connection settings of both computers to the same settings:
    • Baud Rate: you can set it at 57600. The modems will negotiate the speed.
    • Parity: None
    • Data Bits: 8
    • Stop Bits: 1
    • Handshake DTR & CTS
  3. Set the file transfer protocol for both computer to the same choice, such as Zmodem, Xmodem or Ymodem. If one doesn't work, try another.
  4. Make sure MacBinary is NOT used if you are moving the file between Mac and PC. This setting could be under "file transfer method." Use MacBinary only if going between 2 Macs.
  5. Initiate the connection. In ClarisWorks, select Open connection from the Session menu to enable you to type modem AT commands
  6. On the sending computer, type: "ATD"
  7. On the receiving computer type: "ATA"
  8. After the software indicates that a connection has been established, send the file from the sending computer. In ClarisWorks, you select Send File from the Session menu.
  9. Set the receiving computer to receive the file. In ClarisWorks, its Receive File from the Session menu.

MacWindows reader Marc Herbert notes that some modems don't work properly when connected to another modem, due to differences in electrical characteristics of real a phone line and direct connection to another modem.

Direct Ethernet connection without a Hub (cross-over)

You can connect a Mac and a PC without an Ethernet hub if you use a standard cross-over cable between the 10BaseT Ethernet ports of the two machines. More specifically, the cable is referred to as a " "Category 5 Crossover," though the terms "cat 5 cable" "crossed cable", "crossover cable" and "patch cable" are often used.

If you want to build your own cable, the pin-outs are as follows:


However, you can purchase this cable inexpensively. Sources of a 10BaseT cross-over cable:

Global Computer , Part #C6359 Cost: $5.95

DataComm Warehouse, part number DCA3558, DCA3559, DCA3560, DCA3561, DCA3562, DCA3563 or DCA3564, depending on the length from 3 to 100 ft.

Miramar PC MacLAN works with this configuration, but any software that runs on Ethernet should also work. This includes file sharing via NetPresenz.

Thanks to Bruce Epstein of Zeus Productions for this tip.

Apple also has some information on this topic at its Tech Info Library (article 30820).

File sharing for free

Myriam Pinon reminded us that if you have a TCP/IP connection, you can share files between a Mac and a PC without buying any extra software. Give your PC and Mac a private address (192.168.x.y), install Personal Web Server on your PC (it's on W95/98 installation CD), and start Web Sharing on the Mac (provided with Mac OS 8.x). You can then transfer files between the two systems using Web browsers to access.

Earlier version of Windows 95 don't come with the server, but you can download Personal Web Server from the Microsoft Web site. It's a 20 MB download. (Thanks to Andrew Painter.)

File sharing for cheap

If you are using TCP/IP as your network protocol between Mac PC and want to copy files, consider the NetPresenz ($10) shareware FTP server for the Mac. On the PC, you can use Windows 95's built-in FTP client software to access Mac files. As with using Personal Web Server and Web Sharing (mentioned above), this method doesn't mount any drives on the desktop.

Fast File sharing with a bonus

Michael Gatto told us of a fast way to move files between a Mac and a PC. He uses a crossover Ethernet cable and file sharing software called HotLine. The Hotline server (US $99.95) runs on one machine, and the Hotline client (free) runs on the other. (Both are available for Mac and PC.) Hotline uses a proprietary cross-platform file transfer protocol.

A side benefit is that the HotLine client lets you access several hundred public HotLine servers that are currently on the Internet. "Unfortunately, Hotline servers are mostly used for porn junk," said Gatto, "but you will find some shareware sites and a lot of MP3 files and other stuff as well." However, the client can't connect through a firewall.

Gatto uses a Power Mac 6100 and a PC with Windows 98. Both machines need to have TCP/IP installed (with the same subnet mask for each machine). After setting up the server, and put some files/folders in the "files" folder of HotLine server. Run the client software, press the connect button and punch in the IP address of the Server. Three seconds later you'll connected and transferring files at over 450 Kbytes / second.

Miramar PC MacLAN

Miramar PC MacLAN--Backing up Mac files to Windows

When a Mac file is ordinarily copied to Windows PCs, the resource fork containing the Type and Creator codes and formatting information of the file is usually lost. PC MacLAN's File Server running on a Windows 95 machine allows Mac files to keep their resources forks by using an association index stored in the MacLAN subdirectory. This capability operates only when the Mac sends files through the MacLAN File Server. Mapping a Mac drive to a PC drive letter will split the resource and data forks.

Top copy Mac files, the Mac should first mount the shared PC MacLAN File Server shared folder on the desktop and copy the data to the PC folder from the Mac. From the PC, copy the contents of the c:\maclan6 sub-directory into the backup location. Do not move Mac files and folders form the location where they were copied.

To restore the Mac files from the PC, restore the backup of c:\maclan6 to the c:\maclan6 sub-directory, overwriting the existing files. Make sure the directory where the Mac files were backed up is shared, and start PC MacLAN's File Server. From the Mac, mount the PC shared folder containing the Mac files on the desktop and copy the files to the Mac.

In order to preserve the Association Index file that holds the Mac resource and data fork information, it is import that you shut down the PC MacLAN File Server before closing Windows. Also, be sure to keep the Mac files in their original directory after backup.

Miramar PC MacLAN for NT--Pagefile may affect the AppleTalk stack

If your Windows NT system does not have enough space for its pagefile, the AppleTalk stack may not load properly. There are three solutions to this problem:

  1. Increase the pagefile size in System Properties: Performance: Virtual Memory
  2. In System Properties>Performance>Virtual Memory, move the pagefile to a drive with more space
  3. Increase the free space on the hard drive where the pagefile resides.

Miramar PC MacLAN -- Can't see Mac from Windows machine

A Mac may become invisible to Windows machines if the Mac has Norton Anti-Virus installed with Auto Protect enabled. Simply disabling the Auto Protect feature should fix the problem.

Miramar PC MacLAN -- incompatibility with old Xircom PCMCIA Adapter

Older versions of Xircom's CE2 PCMCIA Adapter may not allow PC MACLAN to operate properly. If you are experiencing errors while using this card, check the version number of your card, located on the bottom left hand corner under the serial number. If the number is 0220 or greater than 0098B, then it is a second generation adapter and should be able to work with PC MACLAN. If the number is XX/94 (where XX is any number), it is a first generation card and will not operate properly. Miramar recommends you contact Xircom Technical Support at (805)376-9200 for an RMA number or additional technical support.

The latest drivers for the Xircom adapter card should automatically be installed in your system, but you can download the most current version at Xircom's web site.

Miramar PC MacLAN -- Running on Windows 98

Current versions of PC MACLAN (6.2 and 7.0) are compatible with Windows 98. (Versions 6.01 and 5.x are not supported in Windows 98.) In order to run it correctly, you must take the following steps:

  1. Remove the Miramar Systems AppleTalk Protocol Client from the Network Control Panel before upgrading to Windows 98.
  2. Once the Windows 98 install is complete, add the Miramar AppleTalk Protocol Client to the Network Control Panel.
  3. There will be an error message saying that the Client and Protocol have not been installed correctly. This can be ignored.

For more information, see Miramar Systems' web site.

Miramar PC MacLAN -- Downloading Windows fonts to AppleTalk Printer

If you print to an AppleTalk printer from Windows, and your document is using fonts not on the printer, you'll get error messages telling you that the printer doesn't have the correct fonts, and a font substitution will be performed. To prevent this, you can use PC MACLAN's Font Downloading feature. PC MACLAN allows the Windows user to check which fonts an AppleTalk printer has and download needed fonts. These features are part of the AppleTalk Utilities that are made available by PC MACLAN for each AppleTalk printer.

To access the AppleTalk Utilities for the particular printer in Windows 95 or NT:

  1. Right-click on a printer icon from the printer list.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select "AppleTalk Printer Utilities·"
  3. Select the Fonts tab and click on the "Get Font List" button. It will probably take a minute to display the fonts. In the window below, you are able to add fonts.
  4. Click on the "Add" button and select the PFB files that you would like to download.

The font or fonts will stay in the printer's RAM until the printer is turned off or restarted.

Thanks to Miramar Systems for this tip.

Miramar PC MacLAN -- incompatibility with IBM PCMCIA Ethernet.

Miramar Systems reports that it's PC MacLAN Ethernet software for Windows is incompatible with IBM's EtherJet PCMCIA Ethernet cards. The problem is IBM's NDIS implementation. See Miramar's tech support site for more info.

Miramar PC MACLAN refuses additional users

Miramar Systems has posted an article that fixes to a problem when the PC MacLAN server won't allow additional users to log on. Corrupt IDX/DAT files or a non-starting AppleTalk Messenger (ATMsg.exe) can cause Mac user to get this message: "This file server will not allow any additional users to log on. Try again later."

Thursby System's DAVE

Thursby DAVE Printing -- Speeding up printing over TCP/IP

Thursby System's DAVE networking software is ordinarily fast, but you can increase the pringing speed when using foreground printing as a default when printing through a DAVE print gateway. Normally, foreground printing is slower because it turns spooling off, causing you to wait until the printer becomes available. With DAVE, however, the print data is automatically spooled on the PC server, so there is no waiting involved. Because the print data never gets spooled to the Mac disk, but is sent out over TCP/IP to the PC spooler, printing is much faster than when using background printing.

DAVE 2.0 conflict with StuffIt Deluxe 4.5 -- Accessing Windows NT, Mac Alias

Gregory Newton sent us this tip about a conflict between DAVE 2.0 and a piece of Aladdin's Stuffit Deluxe 4.5 package. When using Macintosh aliases located on a Windows NT 4 server via TCP/IP and Dave 2.0, opening the alias from a Mac will cause hard disk icons on the desktop to disappear and freezing the Finder. Restarting the Mac is the only way to recover.

Creating a new alias will work only for the current session logged onto the server. The next time you log onto the server, the alias will no longer work and the Mac client will freeze.


The source of the problem is a conflict with control panel called "True Finder Integration" version 4.5.1 produced by Aladdin as part of the Stuffit 4.5 package. Once disabled, the problem disappears. Newton says:

"Users can still use the following Aladdin items with Dave 2.0 with no problems:


Sharing a USB printer with and iMac and a PC

R Nantelle sent us this method of sharing an Epson Sylus printer between and iMac and a Windows PC.

"I own an iMac and a PII 266mhz Wintel and just bought an Epson Stylus 740 printer (USB) for the iMac. Well, you can simultaneously have the USB cable hooked up to the iMac AND have a regular parallel cable hooked up to the Wintel machine w/o any add'l hardware or adapters and it's kind of like a mini network printer. Just install the related drivers onto each machine and you're ready!"

Windows 95/98 printing directly to Apple printer via LPR and TCP/IP

Consultant Steve Frank recommends ACITS LPR Remote Printing to enable Windows 95/98 to print to Apple LPR (TCP/IP) printers. (Unlike Windows NT, Windows 95 and 98 do not come with built-in LPR support.)

I am consultant who works for a small systems integrator. We have several cross-platform customers. Two months ago we performed a large Mac network to PC network migration. The only piece of hardware our client wished to keep was an Apple LaserWriter 16/600. The PC's are all running Windows 98 peer to peer (no server model). So the problem was that Windows 98 does not provide any LPR printing services for IP based printers, as Windows NT does. We found that ACITS LPR Remote Printing ...allows the user to add an Apple LPR port and assign a TCP/IP address to it so they can connect to the printer. It is all very similar to the HP JetDirect Port that HP provides with their printers. It helped us out tremendously. It has full documentation enclosed with the installer.

Windows printing to old LaserWriter without a network

Matthew Schwartzberg figured out a way to print to from Windows 95 to a LaserWriter Plus, an old Postscript printer with a only a LocalTalk port. However, he did it without using AppleTalk on the PC. Here's how:

The LaserWriter Plus is a Postscript printer, Level 1 device. It will work with one of the Windows 95 (and 98) printer drivers supplied with the original Windows CD. The printer has several operational modes (that I know of), AppleTalk, Serial interface with Postscript and a Serial interface with Diablo emulation. Using the serial Postscript setting is the best for a PC (unless you add a parallel-to-AppleTalk modification). The LaserWriter Plus settings are made with a dial on the outside of the printer. It is set to "9600."

For a PC with a 25 pin com port like mine, a special cable has to be used. The one I finally used successfully had a pinout of:

1 - 1
2 - 3
3 - 2
4 - 5
5 - 4
6 and 8 - 20
20 - 6 and 8
7 - 7

This is a type of "null modem" configuration. I believe there are other configurations that work (one called "modem eliminator," for example is 1-1, 2-3, 3-2, 7-7). I made several adaptors and tested them. The null modem adaptor mentioned above is available at Radio Shack. There are many adaptors and cables sold as "null modems" that don't work with this printer and have different pinouts.

I used the adaptors I tested with a straight-through serial cable. You can also buy the cable ready made with the pin crossovers built in. For PCs with a 9 pin com port, there is a different pin configuration. Apple TIL has a few archived articles with this information.

The Windows 95 printer driver is loaded and set up like any other printer driver. However, I discovered that for my printer, I had to use the "LaserWriter" driver for my LaserWriter Plus printer (NOT the "LaserWriter Plus" printer driver). I used most default settings, but had to change the flow control in the port settings to "Xon Xoff." It seems to work now.

John Hunter sent us a method for speeding up the default 9600 baud rate to 57600 bps. He then sends Postscript print jobs using Microsoft HyperTerminal. He writes:

When printing to an Apple LaserWriter or many PostScript RIPs using the serial connection the default baud rate will be 9600. This can usually be increased by sending following text to the printer:

Hunter has posted more on using HyperTerminal to print to LaserWriters, listed under "Scenario 2."

Kudos to both Matthew Schwartzberg and to Mr. Hunter.

AppleShare Client for Windows

This is an older, now discontinued product.

AppleShare Client for Windows--causing problems with TCP/IP

Apple reported a problem with AppleShare Client for Windows (now discontinued) not working with TCP/IP on a Windows computer. AppleShare runs fine, but an earlier installation of TCP/IP and Winsock no longer function when the AppleShare Client is loaded by the system during startup. The manual that comes with the AppleShare For Windows Client does not address this issue.

The solution is to add the following in the Link Support section to the net.cfg file: max stacks 8

When you load a packet driver IP stack, the default value of 4 stacks the link support layer ( can handle is not enough. Increasing the number of stacks serviced from 4 to 6 or 8 will insure proper operation.

Note: You cannot run AppleShare Client for Windows over TCP/IP, but you can run both TCP/IP and AppleShare Client for Windows off of the same Ethernet card with Windows 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups.  AppleShare Client for Windows is not supported for use with Windows 95.

From the Apple Tech Info Library, 6/96.

Windows CE (Pocket PC) and Mac

Bob Mihalovich took our advice above on null-modem cables and terminal emulation software to move files between Macs and Windows CE:

I went out last night and bought a Palm Pilot cradle adaptor (Computerware) which is 9 pin serial male to Mac 8 pin miniDIN. This is apparently a null modem cable because I got my WinCE HP Jornada 680 to talk to my Apple Performa 6200AV. I used your tutorial on Null-modem. I connected the pilot adaptor to the HP sync cable. The Mac port goes into the printer port (not sure if it would work on serial port). On the Mac I used ZTerm terminal emulation. On the HP PDA I used Filegram terminal emulation set to Com 1. I had to transfer files using XMODEM since that is all Filegram can do (ZMODEM would probably be faster). My other setting were:

38400 Baud
8-1-No parity
Serial setting (I used straight binary file transfer on Mac to convert from
MacBinary, as well as, text file).

I was able to transfer a ZIP, Word, Text and XLS file successfully.

You can also use Virtual PC to connect to a Windows CE device using a serial-to-USB converter. There is a discussion on the MacWindows Virtual PC 4 special report page.

In the summer of 2001, Information Appliance Associates announced that it was developing PocketMac, a Mac OS tool for Mac-to-Pocket PC syncing. PocketMac is the first Mac syncing software for the Pocket PC handheld platform that runs Windows CE. Features will include the ability to synchronize files, to transfer files, to install and uninstall software to a Pocket PC from a Mac. The company also said that it hopes to support Outlook 2001 and Entourage with the new software.

Accessing iDisk from Windows

August 16, 2001 -- A reader who wishes to remain anonymous reports that Apple's iDisk web-based storage now supports the WebDAV standard, and can be accessed from PC using Windows WebDAV software:

iDisk has WebDAV support already! There is already Windows software for accessing your iDisk from Windows. The commercial try-ware TeamDrive is available at TeamStream's web site, but there is also free software such as the Java-based DAV Explorer. The attached screenshot shows the TeamDrive software after having mapped drive Q to my iDisk. Now it's just as transparent as with AFP over IP!

Previously, iDisk only support the AFP protocol of AppleShare, and was not available from Windows.

August 17, 2001-- Several readers responded to the above report of Apple's iDisk now supporting the WebDAV protocol, pointing out that Windows 2000 and ME already support WebDAV. Ron Alcasid describes the procedure of accessing iDisk:

You can access WebDAV servers, including iDisk, with Win ME and 2000 without third party software.
  1. Go into my Network Places and double click Add Network Place.
  2. Enter the URL for your iDisk for the location, example
  3. When prompted, enter your username and password.
  4. Your iDisk should appear as a "Web Folder" within My Network Places.

David Bills describes it this way:

I wanted to point out that webDAV is built into windows 2000. Just go to My Network Places and add a new place. Put in[username] and log in. That will do it!

Larry Rosenstein uses Virtual PC running Windows 98 to mount an iDisk:

I'm using Win 98 in Virtual PC, and I was able to access my iDisk directly from Internet Explorer. Select the Open... command, and enter and click the Open as Web Folder checkbox. Enter your name and password in the authentication dialog and it should work.

September 4, 2001
Roy Caratozzolo describes how to access iDisk volumes from Windows NT:

I saw your posts on accessing iDisk from Windows, and I remember seeing something like this on Win NT 4 called Web Folders. Web Folders allowed me to enter the URL of my iDisk "{username}", then a login window came up, I entered my info, and then up pops my iDisk.

September 4, 2001
Thomas Koons adds some notes about iDisk and WebDAV:

I was able to access my iDisk from Win 2000 thanks to your site. Those instructions worked perfectly and even behind my companies firewall! I also found a Mac freeware program called Goliath that works very well.

It has a few visual bugs but access seems to work just fine. Also Adobe Golive 5.0 can access WeDAV servers and it got to my iDisk without issue. You just need to turn on basic authorization in the WebDAV window and you are set.

Windows XP problems with iDisk.

November 5, 2001
Tony McDaniel

I upgraded to Windows XP Pro last weekend, and haven't been able to access my iDisk. I go to "Add a network place" and enter and it prompts for a user name and password. I enter both and the login box comes up again with "" in the user name field. I tried entering my password again, but I just keep getting that dialog. I was able to do this in Windows 2000, but I had problems with explorer locking up while copying files to the iDisk. I had hoped that XP would solve this.

November 7, 2001
A reader offers a workaround:

I too was having a problem accessing my iDisk at work with Windows XP. I followed the MacWindows tip listed for Windows 98 and it worked. I opened Internet Explorer>File>Open. I entered the web address "" and pressed "Open As Web Folder". It asked for my user name and password and voila I was connected.

Using FTP in Win 2000 workstation to move files to Mac

(We note that Mac OS X also has a built-in FTP server that can be used to share files with Windows and Linux users.)

September 6, 200
Jeff Shaw

This is for file transfers from Mac to Windows without any extra commercial software.

Assuming both computers have Ethernet ports, enable FTP Sharing in Windows 2000 and use an Ethernet crossover cable (or hook them both to a hub). Just make them so they are on the same network and can communicate.

To install the FTP server in Windows 2000 (you have to be an administrator to do this), insert your windows 2000 CD, click Install Add-on Components, select Internet Information Services, click details, select File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Server and click OK. Click Next and then Finish. Now anything you put in C:\inetpub\ftproot will be accessible via anonymous FTP. This is not recommended.

If you don't want to allow anonymous FTP connections to your Windows box, as administrator do Start>Settings>Control Panel>Administrative tools>Internet Information Services and click on your computer's name and then right click on the Default FTP Site and get properties. On the Security Accounts tab disable Allow Anonymous Connections. I have not done this before, but you should be able to log in using an account name and password now. Under the Home Directory tab you can change the directory that is shared via FTP.

Good FTP Mac clients include Anarchie (whose name changed since I last used it) and Fetch. Those can both be found on the Info-Mac hyperarchive (go to yahoo and search for hyperarchive).

If you can't log in to your Windows box via ftp from Mac, try setting both of their IPs to addresses and Anything will work in place of the 1 and 2. Both of the subnet masks should be

Sharing cable modem with PCs and old Mac clone

January 4, 2002 -- Brian Durant sent us his experiences sharing a cable modem Internet connection with cross-platform networks of PCs and an old Umax Mac clone.

Here is a summary of my experiences trying to hook up a cable modem and router to my UMAX Pulsar (Euro S900):

Cable Modem

I started out trying to get an Internet connection with a cable modem attached to my UMAX Pulsar (Euro S900). The Pulsar uses OS 9.1 (Z), has a G3 upgrade and 272 MB of built-in RAM. The problem was that every time I tried to connect to the Internet, my system was as slow as molasses in winter time. I had of course set the TCP/IP control panel to automatically negotiate with the DHCP server. This turned out to be the problem. Apparently, Mac systems can be quite finicky when connecting to DHCP servers, particularly in trying to access the Internet. If the numbers aren't correct, the system uses it's full capacity trying to get the proper setting. This creates a situation where the IP address changes approximately every 30-60 seconds and everything slows to a near stand still. Therefore, the solution was to set the TCP/IP control panel to connect manually with the DHCP server. It took a while to get the right settings, but as most of the information could be gleaned from the PC that was connected to the cable modem by doing an ipconfig /all command, it didn't prove too hard to solve the problem with some good advice.

LinkSys router

Firstly, I needed to go into the router prefs and change the settings to those that I had been using to directly connect my UMAX Pulsar to the cable modem. Then I went to the TCP/IP control panel (OS 9.1 Z) and changed the settings to automagically [sic] connect using a DHCP server. Secondly, I discovered that the LinkSys router acts as an Ethernet hub as well, using four 10/100 RJ-45 switched ports for the LAN and one 10Base-T Ethernet RJ-45 port for the cable or DSL modem (WAN). It is possible to access the PCs with DAVE, as well as for all of the PCs to access the Internet at the same time via the router and the cable modem. Apparently, if my Mac IP is and my PC is, and my router is, any traffic on 192.168.128.x doesn't get past the router. Only traffic destined for networks outside the LAN is forwarded to the cable modem. Quite an interesting setup.

Without an Internet router, it is possible to achieve a similar result using a product like IPNetRouter from Sustainable Softworks. If you would rather access the PC without installing DAVE on the Mac, installing PC MacLan on a PC will give similar results as it functions as an AppleTalk server on a PC.

 Anti virus software causing freezing problem with PC MacLAN

Upgrading the antivsoftware fixed this problem.

The Problem

April 2, 2003
John Bellina has discovered that virus protection software running on a PC causes a problem with Miramar's PC MacLAN:

We are running a number of Macs (OS 9) and PCs (Win98 and Win2000Pro) on a Network Server running Windows 2000 Server, which has a SCSI RAID attached configured as a Mac Volume. All storage and documents reside on this RAID.

Recently, we have had freezing problems as soon as one of the machine (PC or Mac) opens or saves a large file (150 MB plus).

We have been told by an IT support person, that the server AntiVirus Software (all makes, not a specific make of AntiVirus) interacts with PC MacLAN and causes this freezing.

We did a very short test where we switched the antivirus off and, indeed, all problems disappeared.

Two of the Win98 machines are running PC MacLAN (Ver. 7.2) and another has recently been configured with Win2000Pro and PC MacLAN (Ver. 8.1).

I cannot be absolutely certain, (as we haven't been able to switch the Win2000Pro machine off for an extended period), but I SUSPECT that the problem only started once Win2000Pro and PC MacLAN Version 8.1 was installed.

Both PC MacLAN and the Antivirus Software companies claim to have no knowledge of the problem.

Obviously we cannot do without AntiVirus Software, but this problem is causing a lot of frustration and productivity loss.

The Solution

April 4, 2003
John Bellina

The problem has been solved by our Antivirus Software Company (Network Associates - McAfee). We were running the latest engine (4.1.60), and, last week, NAI (Network Associates International) brought out a newer engine (4.2.40).

As soon as we installed the updated engine on the servers (even before we updated the PCs), the freezing problem disappeared.

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