MacDrive 98 conquers Mac-PC barrier

MacDrive 98 conquers Mac-PC barrier

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff

MacDrive 98 configures PCs to read files on Macintosh disks and even use certain compatible ones, without any network acrobatics.

Administrators have always needed considerable skill to configure a mixed network of PCs and Macs that can share files.



The physical location of the computers matters, as does the cable length between systems. Getting the diametrically opposed operating systems to chat is also a chore.

Apple Computer Inc. made the first strides in this area by putting special software in its systems to read PC-formatted disks. Some powerful Apple computers can run full versions of Microsoft Windows 98 underneath Mac OS, though the resource requirements are high.

Inserting a Mac disk into a PC drive, however, has been about as efficacious as inserting a slice of bologna.

I doubt that MacDrive 98 will eliminate troubleshooting on mixed networks, but it does supply the missing link for sharing files.

MacDrive 98 does not do as much as a PowerPC Mac; you cannot run Mac programs on PCs with it.





MacDrive 98 takes up less than 2M and installs from one disk. It lets PCs read Mac-formatted disks and CD-ROMs'after users change menu options and reboot.



What you can do is load your Windows system with files created in, say, Microsoft Excel on a Mac and saved on a Mac disk. You can also read the disk contents, though you might not be able to do anything to them.

I saved a Microsoft Word file on a Mac floppy from a Mac computer and then opened it using Word on a PC. After making changes, I saved the file and took it back successfully to the original Mac.

When I tried putting a Mac-formatted CD-ROM into the PC drive, at first I could not see the contents.

Then I discovered it was necessary to go into the MacDrive menu and enable CD reading, then reboot.

Don't believe the manual, which says you can put a Mac disk into any drive and it will work.

The manual also cutely suggests that you review it again if you run into problems. The company would have been smarter to advise users that CD-ROMs are an exception.

Once the program was configured to use the CD-ROM drive, my PC did read Mac CDs.

I could even run movies and other files off a CD, although I was not able to use its program.

Fluent language




BOX SCORE''''''

MacDrive 98

Mac-to-PC disk translator


Media4 Productions Inc.;

West Des Moines, Iowa;

tel. 515-225-7409

www.media4.com

Price: $65 for Web download



+Reads Mac files on PCs

+Works with various disk types

+Tiny size

'Can't read low-density Mac floppies

Real-life requirements:

Win9x or NT, 2M of free storage, floppy drive or Web access for installation




MacDrive 98 impressed me most in its ability to read an Iomega Zip disk full of Mac graphics and art files. Ordinarily my computer could never have done such a thing, but they opened just as if they were on a PC-formatted disk.

MacDrive 98 generated a preview, and I opened the files using my imaging software.

Mac disks appear on the PC screen as little Apple icons, so you can tell at a glance which disks are fully readable and which are good only for transferring files.

MacDrive 98 is small'it takes up less than 2M'and installs from one disk. It does not work with low-density Mac floppies of 400K and 800K capacity because of their physical characteristics.

For mixed PC-Mac environments, MacDrive 98 is a needed tool. It's generally faster than an integrated network, and if you have yet to set one up, it might eliminate the need altogether.

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