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How to use Windows 2003 as a file server for OS X

Posted on 2006-06-11
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Does anyone know the best solution for this problem?

As far as my online research shows, the MAC OS file System (HFS) and Windows NTFS are incompatible. I was able to set up File Sharing for Macintosh on the Win03 server, share afolder ect. But when copying up a large folder, I get:

Can not copy the item: "file name" because the name is too long or includes characters that the disk cannot display.

I think it has something to do with the way the MAC creates it's file names or something.

I have a client that has 3 MAC OS X machines, and they bought a new Windows 2003 server, and want to use it as the file server, but I can't get their data there. This has been driving me crazy for weeks now. Any ideas or options?

Thanks all, Ken
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Question by:kfnetworks
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12 Comments
 
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16882571
HOW EXACTLY are the Macs connecting to the Windows server?  AFP:// or SMB://?

SMB:// is overall better but I can imagine having those problems.
AFP:// requiest Microsoft's Services for Macintosh and that feature is just not very good in the grand scheme of things.

You might try setting up NFS - since MacOS is *nix based, you can probably connect via NFS if you setup NFS on the Windows system - I'm just not sure how as the last time I tried to it was at least 6 years ago.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:brettmjohnson
ID: 16882737
If you only have Mac OS X clients, drop Windows File Services for Mac and stick with SMB file sharing.
[Mac OS X does Windows file sharing a whole lot better than Windows does Mac file sharing.]

You might also consider installing Rendezvous/Bonjour for Windows on the server.  It will help the Macs in the autodiscovery of file and print services offered by the Windows box.
http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/bonjourforwindows103.html

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Author Comment

by:kfnetworks
ID: 16882970
Currently I set up access using AFP. I will try strictly SMB and let you know. The office is made up of 3 MACs and 3 PC's. I will try installing bonjour too.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16882982
As I said, Services for Mac is not very good.  SMB should make things better.
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Author Comment

by:kfnetworks
ID: 16883076
Just tried using SMB and I still get the error:

Can not copy the item: "file name" because the name is too long or includes characters that the disk cannot display.

I see all the shares I created on the Windows server fine from the MAC. The main issue is copying up these 25 gigs of MAC creative files.

So maybe this is a dead horse, and there are fundamental issues that Apple and Microsoft need to work out. I can copy the same files MAC to MAC no problem. My reasearch tells me that a FAT32 partition would work fine with a MAC but I need to set security so that is out. The only other thing I thought of was trying to format an external HD as HFS, and attaching that to the Windows server. Doubt it will work though.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16883098
Copy a few files at a time - post the name of the file(s) that are not copying.
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Author Comment

by:kfnetworks
ID: 16883111
The file is balks on first is "777 C/O" There is no extension on it.
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 750 total points
ID: 16883125
Windows cannot handle files with a "/" in it - change that.  IT will copy with a "-"

There are several reserved characters in windows - and a few reserved file names.  I may be missing one or two, but characters that cannot be in a file name:

/\:<>*?

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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:brettmjohnson
ID: 16883142
> Can not copy the item: "file name" ...

What exactly is "file name"?  The message is complaining about path length and/or special chars.  Mac users have this annoying habit naming files using very long names, mixed case, embedded whitespace, and every punctuation character on the keyboard:
    Fred's notes on "The DaVinci Code" (the movie, not the book) 06/12/2006 [original f*cked-up version]
You may need to modify the names of Mac files that contain characters that not valid in Windows filenames.  This is just one of the hazards of sharing files in a heterogeneous environment.


> The only other thing I thought of was trying to format an external HD as HFS, and attaching that to the Windows server.

That won't work.  Windows cannot mount HFS partitions.


Personally, I would have installed an XServe to act as a fileserver for the Macs.   Not only does support Macs seemlessly, it actually serves up files via SMB to Windows clients faster than Windows servers do.
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Author Comment

by:kfnetworks
ID: 16885889
Thanks for the help. Now I just need to go thru 25 gigs of legacy MAC data to find illegal characters. Hope Automator is up to the task. Here is a link from Apple on illegal characters:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107032
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:brettmjohnson
ID: 16886731
> Hope Automator is up to the task.

Better off to use the 'find' command from the Unix shell.

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Author Comment

by:kfnetworks
ID: 16895952
Automater was a nightmare - I am sure it could do it, but I opted for A Better Finder Rename program ($19.99), and it took out all the illegals. Using SMB beacuse AFP on the Windows side restricts to 31 characters. Finally !!
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