on Jun 16, 2006
Cinneris is talking about getting files from his old Mac to his Windows machine:
Someone trying to make the jump from Mac to PC might expect that this is an inter-OS problem, but it isn’t. Windows File Sharing has always been a flakey crapshoot.
Back in Win95 days, I had a 3 machine home network on a Hub, and I could never get more than two out of three computers talking. If I had computers A, B, and C, then C wouldn’t show up for the other two. If I got C working, then A would vanish. If I got A working, then the whole thing would go down and none of the computers could access the network. Then they could, but each one could only see itself. Then I’d mess with it, un-install and re-install WFS for everyone and find that the network was back up again! Except C couldn’t use the network.
Windows 98 took a small step forward in reliability. Not much, but when I was messing with C I no longer had to worry about screwing things up for A and B.
With XP, things are better than ever, which is to say: After about a decade Windows File Sharing works sort of well and most of the time will let me get files where I want them. I now have 5 machines and a router, and for the most part all the machines can communicate with each other. Once in a while B and E will suddenly stop talking to one another for no reason, but now I can get around this by using, say, D as a middleman.
Given how screwy WFS is after over ten years of development, I’m amazed that Macs can connect at all. I’m sure that for it to work the moon has to be in the right phase, your horroscope needs to be positive, and Steve Jobs needs to be in just the right mood, but that’s not much worse than the chances other Windows machines have at connecting.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.