Like many users these days, if your reading this, you most likely have a Mac & Windows Network. A lot of not-so-saavy computer users, actually have a Mac and a PC, but may not have ever created a home network (although this also applies to workplace networks). Using the server message block command (SMB) you can easily connect to the IP of any PC on the network. Its simple, when your on your Mac, select GO > CONNECT TO SERVER and type in: smb://192.168.1.xxx (xxx is replaced obviously by the last digits of the IP of the PC you want to connect to). You will log on with your typical credentials and voila your sharing. This is regardless of any PC OS, and current up to Snow Leopard on the Mac OS.

This blurb isn’t covering the “how to” of the networking, but rather some issues that I have come across, that I haven’t heard anyone mention.

I do a LOT of file transfers from Mac to PC, soley because I download torrents on my Mac and send them over to my media center. One thing I have noticed is that the PC has a hard time waking the hard drives if they fell asleep, both in the Media Center PC, and the 5tb NAS attached. This will give you a error message along the lines of “the connection at 192.168.1.xxx is not available or cannot be located check blah blah blah” on your mac. Restarting the PC, and initiating the login procedure over again, typically fixes this problem.

Another random error, is that I can typically transfer any amount of files regardless of size to the Media Center, as long as I do the files, ONE by ONE. If I were to select all 115gb of files and transfer them at once, the PC after about 10 minutes, disappears off the network and isnt discoverable until I restart it or change the IP on it (I have a static IP network). This is a major pain in the ass, and its been this way, all the way back to my G4 Mac.

I’ve found the best way to avoid the networking problems, so far, has been to (as said above) set static IP’s for each computer on the entire network. PC & Mac. I have 7 computers (and one NAS) on the network. So my IP’s look like 192.168.1.100 – 192.168.1.107 , the NAS located at 192.168.1.111 and printer set to 192.168.2.155 (it’s default). This avoids conflicts on the network and makes it a little less of a headache (also avoids duplicate IPs).

Using a external HDD is what’s usually suggested by newbies. There is one big problem there, PC & Mac do not share an identical file system. (Modern) PC’s use NTFS file system, while Macs don’t, Mac’s can read the old Fat32, which all flavors of Windows can read, but file transfers are limited to 4gb which pretty much eliminates any movie torrents, and if your still downloading 700mb movies, well you must have a shitty tv, or a slow internet connection.

Turn off HDD sleep, and turn off hibernation mode on your PC’s, Mac’s either don’t register the PC always, or the PC’s have a hard time waking up out of hibernation, one or the other, it is a 50/50 chance. I notice this greatly on my NAS more than the Media Center alone

As we move forward with Mac edging more of a dominance in the market, eventually we will see a better migration of the file systems and more friendly networking, for now, it’s still a wee bit sloppy for the non techies, and not 100% reliable.

When all else fails with Mac and PC networking, restart all the computers and try again, I know it blows, but it works…

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