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This section contains cross-platform power-user tips and tricks for users of Mac OS and Windows. If you can't find what you're looking for here, check the how-to information in MacWindows Tutorials.

Send us your tips. How you discovered a Macintosh-Windows trick you'd like to brag about? Let us know, we'll post it here. When you send in a tip, tell us if you'd like your published tip to include your company, a link to your email address, or an URL.

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You'll also find tips in the Special Reports pages listed on MacWindows home page or the Site Map.

Tips for Working With Windows Disks and Files on a Mac

PC Exchange control panel--PC files on your hard disk

You can set PC Exchange to enable a Mac application to open a particular type of PC file when you double-click it on a PC disk, but it doesn't work for files you've downloaded to your startup hard drive. The fix: Copy the file to a DOS-formatted formatted floppy or removable cartridge, eject the disk, and reinsert it. Copy the file back to your hard disk. The PC file now has the Type and Creator codes of the application you want to open it, as you indicated in the PC Exchange control panel.

PC Exchange control panel --PC-formatted removable cartridges

PC Exchange will mount DOS-formatted ZIP or JAZ drives using the Iomega Driver extension. For non-ZIP removable media drives (such as Syquest), don't install the device driver that came with drive. Instead, open the PC Exchange control panel, click Options, select the SCSI device from the list, and restart your Mac. PC Exchange will install it's own device driver for that SCSI device.

PC Exchange control panel--DMF files and disk images

PC Exchange 2.0.7 or later can mount 1.6 MB DMF (Distributed Media Format) Windows 95 floppies. You can make disk image files of DOS-formatted floppies with Disk Copy 6.1 (available on Apple's web site). To make a disk image of a DMF floppy, you need System 7.6, which comes with PC Exchange 2.1.1.

PC Exchange 2.1.1 can't read, corrupts some PC floppy disks.

Apple reports that the PC Exchange 2.1.1 control panel that shipped with Mac OS 7.6 and 8.0 has problems reading certain DOS-formatted floppies, and can, in some cases, corrupt the data on the disk. The problem causes part of files to appear garbled. The problem occurs with floppies formatted with FAT16 (File Allocation Table 16) written to their boot records, but which actually contain FAT12 directories. This only occurs on disks formatted on some Windows PCs. PC Exchange 2.1.1 reads and checks the FAT field, determines it is a FAT 16 format, and reads the data incorrectly from the clusters on the disk.

The corruption of all the data on the disk can occur when PC Exchange 2.1.1 writes anything to a disk that contains a FAT12 format, but thinks it's a FAT16 format. Apple reports that merely inserting and browsing the contents of an unlocked DOS formatted disk can corrupt the DOS disk. The Finder can create or updates a FINDER.DAT file on an unlocked floppy disk, even when you're just reading the disk.

Apple offers several solutions workarounds:

  1. Use PC Exchange 2.2, which shipped with Mac OS 8.1.
  2. Use PC Exchange 2.0.7 and earlier versions, which ignore the field in the boot record.
  3. Run DOS Format Fixer, Apple's free utility to fix PC Exchange 2.1.1. (DOS Format Fixer does NOT repair damaged disks.) (Download here.)
  4. Reformat the PC disk as a Macintosh disk, then reformat the disk as a PC disk.

Dana Emery suggests another workaround to prevent loss of data -- set the write-lock tab on PC floppies before inserting them into strange Macs.

PC Exchange 2.2 (and earlier) and 2 GB Jaz disks

PC Exchange 2.2 (Mac OS 8.1) and earlier, may not recognize PC-formatted 2 GB Jaz cartridges. The problems is that for PC -formatted disks over 1 GB, the disk must be formatted as FAT32. (See Apple's Tech Info Library article 30423.) Unfortunately, Jaz doesn't support FAT32 formatting.

The fix is to upgrade Mac OS. Mac OS 8.5 and later fixed this problem, and will mount PC-formatted 2 GB Jaz cartridges.

PC Exchange control panel and DOS Mounter--Non-English PC Disks

When you insert a locked PC floppy diskette containing non-U.S. English characters in the names of files and folders or in the diskette name, the disk won't mount. Instead, you get the error message: "This action could not be completed because the file could not be found." Vegard Brenna of Datakameratene in Norway reports that the message is in English, even when you run a non-English version of Mac OS. (He was running Norwegian 7.6.1)


Unlock the disk and reinsert it. The problem is that when non-U.S. English characters (those ASCII values above X'7F') are used in the names of files, folders or the diskette, the PC Exchange control panel needs to write information on the disk in order to mount it. It builds an invisible Finder.dat, Desktop and Trash files and folders on the PC floppy. It can't write on a locked disk.

Software Architects DOS Mounter also has this problem, but Insignia's Access PC (discontinued July 1, 1996) didn't have this problem.

Thanks to Vegard Brenna for this tip.

DOS Mounter 95--Zip or Jaz drives

You can replace the PC control panel with the more full-featured DOS Mounter 95 from Software Architects. Unlike PC Exchange, with DOS Mounter 95 installed, you must remove the Iomega driver when using Mac or DOS ZIP or JAZ cartridges. DOS Mounter 95's MultiMounter extension will supply the device driver.

DOS Mounter 95--Windows 95 file names

A Windows 95 file on a disk mounted by Software Architects' DOS Mounter 95 has its file name shortened to 31 characters. To view a file's 253-character Windows 95 and DOS 8.3 file names, open the DOS Mounter 95 control panel and drag your file to the File Information icon.

File Translation -- converting Quark XPress for Mac files to Adobe PageMaker for Windows

Myrna Faulds of BioExpressions sent us this tip on how to convert Macintosh Quark XPress files containing placed images into Adobe PageMaker for Windows files. The solution depends on your platform, which application you are using to convert, and the version of Quark XPress and PageMaker you're using.

She started with an Adobe tech support document that told her that the QuarkXPress Converter converts QuarkXPress 3.1 or later documents only into PageMaker documents. It does not support documents created in QuarkXPress 3.0 or earlier. QuarkXPress 3.0 or earlier documents that you open and save in QuarkXPress 3.1 or later will retain file format code used by QuarkXPress 3.0 and earlier. (See Adobe tech support.)

You cannot convert publications across platforms and versions at the same time within PageMaker. You can, however, use the PageMaker Cross-Platform Converter to convert publications and templates created in PageMaker 5.0x and 6.0x for Mac OS to PageMaker 6.0 for Windows. After converting the publications to PageMaker 6.0, you can open them in PageMaker 6.5x for Windows. The Cross-Platform Converter is available from Adobe's Web site (see also "Converting Quark Xpress 3.12 to PageMaker 6.0x.).

Solution: There is no one-step converter, but there are several options.

Option A: To convert a Quark XPress for Macintosh (V3.12) document to PageMaker for Windows (V6.x) document:

  1. Use Adobe's Quark XPress Converter to convert from Quark XPress Macintosh (VerX) to PageMaker/Macintosh (VerX)
  2. then use Adobe's Cross-Platform PageMaker Converter to convert the PageMaker/Macintosh (VerX) document to a PageMaker/Macintosh (VerY) doc.

Option B: There are as many slight permutations as there are versions, applications and platforms. Luckily: Adobe has done a good job spelling these out.

Option C: Convert your Quark XPress for Macintosh (VerX) document to Quark XPress for Macintosh (VerY) document, then use Adobe's Quark XPress Converter to convert from Quark XPress Macintosh (VerY) to PageMaker/Macintosh (VerY).

Just note that you can't jump up a version and do a cross-platform and application conversion all at once.

Many thanks to Myrna Faulds for providing this information.

File translation - converting HyperStudio stacks for Windows

Teacher John Kocijanski told us how he converts his Mac-created HyperStudio presentations (stacks) for use on Windows. Convert the font in the stack to the default font (Chicago). Then rename the stack with DOS 8.3 name using a .stk extension. If you haven't used any Mac specific functions (such as Blabbermouth) the stack will play on a PC. Use PC exchange to get the stack on a PC disk and the use HyperStudio Player for Windows 95 on the PC to play the stack.

FWB Hard Disk ToolKit and Zip cartridges - Creating DOS formatted Zips on a Mac

Rod Paine of ASTEC Company, Inc. a Virginia Mac consulting company, sent in this tip, which he says was created by Larry Bles of Micro Products, Inc., an Apple authorized reseller and service provider in Springfield, Virginia.

1. First, make sure the PC Exchange v2.1.1 or later control panel is installed and turned on.
2. Insert the Zip cartridge. The format doesn't matter.
3. Launch FWB Hard Disk Toolkit (preferably v2.06).
4. Select View by "Device" in the main window.
5. Highlight the Zip cartridge as shown in the drive listing display window.
6. Go to the "Devices" main menu and select "Format..."

NOTE - Auto-initialize, or any other commands, won't work!

7. Format the cartridge using the default "Quick" Format type. When it brings up the partitioning dialog, select "Cancel".

NOTE - The object here is to low-level format the cartridge and not install any drivers or partitions!

8. Quit FWB. At this time, there will be no icon for the cartridge on the desktop because it has no drivers or partitions. This is what you want.
9. With the cartridge left in the drive, Restart the Mac.
10. When the Finder loads, you will get the dialog that says something like "The disk 'xxxx' is not readable, format/eject". Make sure you select the DOS format in the pop up menu, and select Format.

When it's done, you should end up with a DOS formatted Zip Icon on your desktop, ready to accept files that you want to send to a PC Zip user.

Internet applications: Mac font uses Windows character set

Gil Hurlbut sent us this tip about a Mac font you can use for use with Internet applications that uses the Windows character set.

"There are comments on differences between the Mac character set and other platforms in the document "ISO-8859-1 and the Mac Platform. On the Internet the default character set is taken as ISO-8859-1, Latin-1. This character set leaves codes $80 to $9F as undefined for control characters. However, Windows got into the act and added characters for these codes that are incompatible with other systems.

"But there is a Mac font, ProFontWindows, which uses the Windows character set. The font is compatible with System 7 and Mac OS 8."

ProFontWindows comes as part of a downloadable font package called ProFont Distribution. You can find a short description at Mac's Guide to Freeware."

Equilibrium DeBabelizer - changing the aspect ratio of a full-screen image to fit Mac or Windows

Macintosh and Windows have slightly different screen aspect ratios. They are closer than the difference between movie and television rations, but they still differ. This means that if you create a full-screen image on one platform and move it to the other, it won't be exactly full screen -- there will be some black banding. Equilibrium's DeBabelizer for Mac or for Windows has a command to convert the aspect ratio between the two platforms.

From the Image menu, select Scale, and then select one of the following: "IBM to Mac Aspect Ratio" or "Mac to IBM Aspect Ratio." You can also script this command to apply to a batch of files, or as a step in a longer script including several editing steps.

Microsoft Office 98 and Mac Easy Open - Easy Open wants to translate Office 98 files.

If you have multiple versions of Microsoft Office applications, including Office 98, you may have a problem when you double click a Word 98 or Excel 98 file--Easy Open launches and asks MacLinkPlus to translate the file. The problem seems to occur when the different versions of the applications are on different volumes, and the newest version is not on the startup drive. (Older versions include Word 6, Excel 5, Word 5.x, Excel 4, etc.) DataViz recommends fixing the problem by moving all of the versions to the startup drive or by keeping only the newest version of the applications on the startup drive, and keep the older versions on other drivers. (You can also delete the old versions, but hey, some of us like Word 5.1.)

Using PC disks on Mac and PCs.

Peter Koch reminds us that using a DOS-formatted disk allows both Windows and Mac users to share the disk. However, Windows users will see Mac-only information on the disk in the form of files: FInderinfo, Resource, DeskTop, Trash Folder. You can hide these files from PC users by using the attrib command in DOS. You can even automate it.

Discover what PC file name extensions belong to which program

Get a PC file and you don't know what type it is? Check this list of PC file name extensions.

Transfer IE favorites between Mac and Windows

There are several ways to transfer Internet Explorer Favorites between Mac and Windows.

To transfer from Mac to Windows:

  1. Go to your IE Favorites menu.
  2. Select the Organize Favorites option.
  3. Go to the File menu.
  4. Select Export.
  5. Save the file as favorites.html
  6. Transfer the file to your PC.
  7. Move the file to the C:\WINDOWS\FAVORITES (Win 95/98) or the favorites folder in your local profile (on NT)

To transfer from Windows to Mac:

  1. Find your Favorites folder on your PC (see step 7 above)
  2. Transfer the folder to your Mac.
  3. Go to your IE Favorites menu.
  4. Select the Organize Favorites option.
  5. Drag the PC Favorites folder into your favorites folder on your Mac.

Thanks to David San for that tip.

Keith Billy uses a free utility to move favorites:

I've been able to convert the favorites.html file from IE 4.5 for Mac to Windows favorites using a freeware program named FTBAB.exe. It's designed to convert a Netscape bookmark file, but since Microsoft uses an HTML file for IE, it will convert them too.

Copy the favorites file to the PC and start FTBAB. Select, convert bookmarks to favorites, locate the file to be converted, and click OK.

Rich Pape points out that for Internet Explorer 5.0 for Windows, you can use the Import and Export command in the File menu. To bring it to the Mac:

  1. Choose "Export Favorites" from the menu. The file saves as "bookmarks.htm".
  2. Add a L to the extension so it is ".html" and move it to the Mac. The file shows as a PC file on the Mac.
  3. On the Mac, open Internet Explorer 4.5 and close the browser window.
  4. Go to the Favorites Menu and select Organize Favorites. This opens the Favorites Window.
  5. Go to the File Menu and select Import. Navigate to the bookmarks.html file and click Open. All your PC favorites are now on the Mac.

This also works in reverse with IE 5.0 on the PC coming from the Mac using the "Import Favorites." Make sure the extension is ".htm" (no "l").

The Import and Export feature on the PC works going to and from Communicator for the PC, and probably should work with the Mac file

See also Microsoft Knowledge Base article on the Import and Export feature in IE 5.0.

Moving Quicken Windows QIF file to Mac

Larry Bonney wanted to move Quicken 2000 for Windows files to Quicken 2000 for Mac. He exported as a .QIF file. The only problem is that the file mappings on in PC Exchange (File Exchange control panel) have QIF mapped to QuickTime PictureViewer. Whenever he double-clicked, PictureViewer would try to launch. He could have turned PC Exchange off (with Extensions Manager) or deleted the this extension mapping. Instead, he changed the file extension to .TXT before moving it to the Mac. Quicken was able to import the .TXT file without problem.

We found that Intuit's web site has some useful information regarding moving Quicken files from PCs to Mac. A page called Quicken 2000 for Macintosh - Import/Export has links to several dozen help pages on cross-platform importing and exporting. One of these pages discusses converting files from non-Intuit financial programs (such as as Microsoft Money) into Quicken. The common interchange format is QIF (Quicken Interchange format), though the Intuit support pages describe some messaging of the data that is sometimes required with cross-platform import/export.

TIP: PowerPoint 2001: Playing Win presentations with sound or movies.

A Microsoft PowerPoint 2001 page offers this tip for playing sounds and movies in PowerPoint presentations created by PowerPoint for Windows:

When the user opens a PowerPoint for Windows file that contains a sound object or movie object in PowerPoint 2001, the sound or movie might not play. The icon for the object appears in the file; however, when the object is double-clicked, a message might appear that says that the object is unavailable. To play the sound or movie in a PowerPoint 2001 presentation, users should delete the icon for the object and reinsert the sound or movie object into the presentation.

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