Network Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 2: Using DoubleTalk

Network Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 2: Using DoubleTalk

In the first post of our series on networking your classic Macintosh with Windows, we examined the use of Thursby Software’s Dave, and found it more than equal to the task. In this post, we will look at use of Connectix DoubleTalk, the other classic solution in this space. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, it might be useful to go back and check out at least the initial paragraphs, as they lay out some background details that will make what follows a lot more understandable.

Alright, let’s network with DoubleTalk! It is important to know that DoubleTalk is more limited than Dave – it only provides an SMB client. This means that a DoubleTalk-equipped Mac can read and write files to and from a Windows machine, but a Windows machine cannot even see a DoubleTalk equipped Mac on the network, much less read and write files to and from it. BTW, you can download a copy of DoubleTalk from the always valuable Macintosh Garden, at

DoubleTalk. Install Folder

DoubleTalk may only provide a one way Mac -> PC connection, but even a one way connection is quite valuable, and I am pleased to report that DoubleTalk does a very good job at providing it, at least after a little jiggling to get around the “blank list of shares” problem.

Installing and Configuring DoubleTalk

Installation and configuration was simple and fast, and finding Windows machines on the network was as seamless as selecting the AppleShare DoubleTalk Workgroup zone in Chooser. The available PCs obligingly showed up in the right hand pane, ready to be mounted and used.

DoubleTalk Workgroup Zone, DP200 Highlighted

At this point however, the “empty list of shares” problem raised it head, as it did with Dave in Part 1 of this series. When I selected the PC of interest (Dualpro200), DoubleTalk presented me with a blank list of available shares, leaving me with nothing to connect to. I could “see” the PC of interest, but could not connect to any shares on it.

DoubleTalk Share List, Blank

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, this problem was easily resolved at the PC end of the link, by reducing the share name length of the PC’s shared folder to 12 characters or less. However, the workaround to the “empty list of shares” problem is instructive, and so we carry on as if we had not solved the problem in this manner.

Unlike Dave, there is no Add Share button in DoubleTalk, and thus it would appear that you are stuck. Happily, this is not the case. The copy of DoubleTalk that I downloaded from the Macintosh Garden included both Version 1.0 of DoubleTalk and a Version 1.1 updater. I had installed both and so was running Version 1.1. Consulting the documentation that came with Version 1.1 (excellent, by the way), I discovered that Version 1.1 added support for something called the DoubleTalk Mounter, a capability that is functionally identical to Dave’s Add Shares button.

Available from DoubleTalk’s control strip module, the Mounter pops up a dialog that allows you to directly type in the names of shares that you want to mount. These are the same share names discussed in Part 1 of this series, in the “blank list of shares” portion of the Dave description.

There is one caveat. The names have to be entered as fully qualified network names, including both the computer name and the share name on that computer, together as a single path name. The computer name is the name you assigned to the PC in its Network Control Panel, preceded by two back slashes, and the share name is the same share name mentioned above. Putting this together, for the PC named Dualpro200, and the share on that computer named DP200-SMB, the fully qualified path name would be “\\Dualpro200\DP200-SMB”.

Just as with Dave, one by one I entered the share names of interest into the DoubleTalk Mounter:

DoubleTalk Mounter

and DoubleTalk took them all.

Networking with DoubleTalk: Mac to PC

Once the above was taken care of, mounting PC shares was a simple and seamless exercise with Chooser, identical in operation to Mac OS based server connections.
Reading and writing files on the Windows machine was an intuitive exercise in drag and drop and was identical to doing the same with Mac files and folders. All in all, DoubleTalk provides a very simple and usable experience that achieved the desired result of trading files between a Classic Mac and a Windows machine, if only in one direction. Mac to PC networking via DoubleTalk was up and running!

DP200SMB on Desktop

Networking with DoubleTalk – Summary

With Mac to PC networking fully up and running, I can now summarize the recipe for success with DoubleTalk:

  • On the PC side, make sure that you have one or more shared folders, and take note of the “Share Name” name you assign to each. Keep the filename of each shared folder to 12 characters or less.
  • Still on the PC side, if you CANNOT keep the share names to 12 characters or less (perhaps the machine is not under your control), compensate for this on the Macintosh side. On the Macintosh side, when you use Chooser to select the PC, if you are greeted with a blank list of available shares, use DoubleTalk’s Mounter to manually add the shares whose names you took note of in the last step.

    If you have to use Mounter to add your shares, you will have to repeat this step each time unfortunately. Unlike Dave, DoubleTalk does not remember the names between sessions.

  • That’s it! Apply the above and you should be happily networking between a Macintosh running DoubleTalk and a PC running Windows NT 4.0.

Closing Thoughts

That’s it! This completes our roundup of “classic” solutions to the Mac-Windows file sharing need. In Part 1 of this series, we have looked at Thursby’s Dave and in this post, Part 2 of the series, we have looked at Connectix’s DoubleTalk. This author recommends Thursby’s Dave for people wishing to network their classic Mac with a Windows machine, but as we have seen above, Connectix DoubleTalk does a very able job as well, albeit in one direction only.

In the next post in this series, we will look at using a Mac OS Classic FTP server to enable Windows (and Linux as well!) to access files on a Mac, complemented by a Mac OS Classic FTP client to enable the same in reverse. Until then, Happy Networking with EITHER Dave or DoubleTalk!

One thought on “Network Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 2: Using DoubleTalk

  1. With double talk , I get an error when trying to login to a Windows shared volume. I put my Windows PC account name and Pword and get no error and the window closes but no share shows on the Mac. When I try to use the mounting utility I still cannot connect to my shared folder. I use the whole path for the folder and user account and Pword of the PC but nothing. Any ideas?
    Thank you very much for all the info you have provided here in your blog. It is extremely valuable.


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