PC to Dos to Mac software transfer

You have a bunch of new and old equipment lying around, most of the old ones relied on floppy discs to transfer files around. That is a relatively easy thing if you have an old DOS machine that can support 1.44Mb floppies. What if you add an old Mac in the mix? The old ones use 800K floppy discs. The drives were actually mechanically different with variable speed, so it is not possible to write 800/400K floppy images to a disc using a PC floppy drive. It just does not work.

In other places in this blob we discuss connecting a modern PC up to a DOS machine over Ethernet.

In another area, there were file transfer to a Macintosh Plus.

Is it possible to have something more streamlined?

How about this setup:

If it could be possible to easily move files around the network, both Ethernet and serial, that would be great. Searching in a box of old Mac discs I recently bought, I found a copy of MacLink. Reading more it appeared to offer just what we need. The ability to share files between Mac and PCs.

The discs were for both Mac 800K and PC 720K so let’s give it a go.

Easy to install on both the PC and Mac with just default options.

Using the same serial cable connection between the FreeDos PC and the Mac it is time to see if this works:

On PC set the correct serial port and set it to Answer.

On the Mac select IBMPC as the type (lots of other exciting options!)

Clicking connect showed a connection working straight away.

You can now see the directory of the PC appear on the Mac:

It is now possible to transfer files between the PC and the Mac. That is a result since it is easy to get files via a drag and drop from the Windows 10 machines onto the FreeDos machine, then to transfer them on-mass to the Mac:

Testing results

So running MacLink at 57600 baud it was possible to transfer 44 totally 2290K files between the FreeDos and Mac in just under 20 mins.

So that is around 115k/min transfer rate.

There are no faster options on MacLink.

However… There is an issue.

When transferring files from DOS to PC using this method, the file type is stripped. Transfer an HQX (Stuffit archive) and when it lands on the Mac is it just an unrecognised file. When I transferred stuff before as a MacBinary it was all good as this honoured the file type description. Sending some office type files worked ok but anything like an archive or binary you want to run just did not work.

Next steps

Need to figure if it is possible to transfer stuff to the Mac with the file type. Might try a connection from my PowerBook to see if that works. I love using this program as it is much easier than a serial transfer program, whcih is a pain.

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