Using TurboGopher to Access HappyMacs Archive

I mentioned in my last post that perhaps the most “classic” way to access the HappyMacs software archive was to do so from a classic Mac, via the TurboGopher application.

TurboGopher About Screen

I have TurboGopher, which is a FAT binary, running on both my 68K Macs and my PPC Macs, and so it should work for any classic Mac you may have. I have tested it from Mac OS 7.6.1 onwards.

This post is a mini tutorial on how to access the HappyMacs gopherspace from TurboGopher, and how to set the default font in TurboGopher so that the HappyMacs gopherspace renders nicely on your Mac.

Default Font and Size

Let’s start with the default font. Like many gopherspaces, the HappyMacs gopherspace uses some ASCII art to make the site a bit more visually attractive. In order for this art to render properly, it is key that the Gopher client (TurboGopher in this case) uses a fixed width font. I have settled on the Monaco font for no particular reason other than that I like the way it looks, but you can use any fixed width font that appeals to you. However, all the screen shots below feature Monaco.

To set up Monaco as the font to render gopherspaces with, go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher, as shown below:

1 - TurboGopher Prefs

From the Preferences dialog, drop the Other Preferences list in the middle of the window and select Default Font & Size, as shown below:

2 - Default Font, Size

Now navigate the font and size list to select Monaco 12, as demonstrated below:

3 - Monaco 12

When done, the result should look like this:

4 - Resulting Screen

Accessing HappyMacs Archive

Now that you have the default font and size set properly, accessing the HappyMacs gopherspace is a breeze. Once more go to the Gopher menu in TurboGopher and select Another Gopher, as shown below:

1 - Another Gopher

In the resulting dialog, type in “”, as demonstrated below:

2 -

If all is well, you will be greeted with the following display of the HappyMacs gopherspace:

3 - Resulting Screen

That’s it! Note that the image of the classic Macintosh, and the “Welcome to HappyMacs” banner are both examples of the ASCII art I mentioned above.

Bookmarking the HappyMacs Archive

One last thing. All of us live in the modern age, even if we have a certain fascination with vintage Macintoshes and MacOS, and so we are attuned to the idea of web browser bookmarks. Wouldn’t it be nice to bookmark the HappyMacs archive so that you did not have to type in the address every time you wanted to access it? Well happily, TurboGopher lets you do just that, although it is not entirely obvious how to do this until you have walked through it the first time. So… let’s walk through the procedure here.

When you start up TurboGopher, it presents two windows – the Home Gopher window and the Bookmark Worksheet. This later window is the bookmark list that we want to work with. By default it comes preset with a number of what were helpful gopher links back in the late 1990s. These days, they are all dead links, and need to be replaced with more current ones. Let’s add the HappyMacs archive to the list, and then delete all the others.

To do this, follow the procedure above to arrive at the HappyMacs gopherspace site. Next, position your cursor on the window’s top bar and type Opt-c. This copies the gopherspace’s URL to an internal copy/paste buffer. Now, position your cursor on the top bar of the Bookmark Worksheet window, click once and type Opt-v. This pastes your HappyMacs gopherspace URL into the bookmark list. Finally, to get rid of the preloaded and now dead links, position your cursor on each of them, one by one, click once, and type Opt-x. This deletes them, one by one. When done, you should be left with just the HappyMacs gopherspace in your list.

Bookmarking the Floodgap Systems Gopherspace

There is one other site you might wish to add. I think of it as the father of all current gopherspaces – I have made it my Home Gopher in TurboGopher. is the gopherspace of the same Floodgap Systems people who bring you the Overbite plugin for Firefox and act as the general champions of Gopher in today’s world. You can follow a procedure similar to the one for arriving at the HappyMacs gopherspace to get yourself to the Floodgap gopher page and then add it to your bookmarks list. You may also wish to make it your Home Gopher, which you can do by editing the Home Gopher definition, available as the first selection in the Preferences dialog under the Gopher menu of TurboGopher.

4 - Resulting Screen

Editing Gopher Bookmarks

One more “last thing”! Like any good bookmark, you can rename TurboGopher bookmarks to anything you want as opposed to having the actual URL show up in the list. To do this, highlight the bookmark of interest, go to the Gopher menu of TurboGopher and select Edit Gopher Descriptor, as shown below:

1 - Edit Descriptor

In the resulting screen, type in the name of your choice in the Title section of the editing screen, as demonstrated below:

2 - Editing Screen

I did this for both HappyMacs and Floodgap, and here is my current Bookmarks Worksheet:

3 - Resulting Screen

…and that really is it for this TurboGopher tutorial!

Happy Gophering!


Macintosh Repository – A Great “New” Mac OS Archive

I love serendipity. Today I was searching for a copy of Power Windows, a great Mac OS system control panel that provides a number of goodies such as full window dragging, translucent menus and more. Much to my surprise, the first entry that showed up in my Google search results was a file in a new (to me anyway) site called “Macintosh Repository” ( In all of my travels through Mac Classic space, I have never encountered this site before.


A quick check around the site made it clear that this is a serious repository of Mac OS abandonware, one with an enormous collection of software titles, many of which I have never seen before anywhere else. I have added this site to the Recommended Links list here at Happy Macs, and would encourage you to surf on over to the Macintosh Repository and have a look if you are on the hunt for a particular piece of software you are having difficulty locating.

I did NOT find Apple’s Firewire 2.0, something for which the search continues, but I am still delighted to have stumbled upon the Macintosh Repository. This will not be the last time I visit. As for Firewire 2.0, I suspect that it will be found on one of the many Mac OS install disks I have – it will turn up sooner or later.

A final note – Power Windows IS a great addition to any Mac OS installation with sufficient CPU horsepower to drive the effects, and will be the topic of an upcoming post. Until then, happy hunting at the Macintosh Repository! – A Mac Software Repository in Gopherspace


“A Mac software repository WHERE?”, you ask? In gopherspace, I reply. Those of you beyond a certain age may remember Gopher, a text based precursor to the World Wide Web. Gopher largely faded from public view with the emergence of the web, but I am happy to report that a dedicated band of vintage enthusiasts is keeping Gopherspace alive and well, and YOU can still access it today.

Gopherspace - The Hidden Internet

You may reasonably ask why you would WANT to access such an anachronism, but it turns out that there are at least two very good reasons. First, as a reader of this blog, which is concerned largely with vintage Macs, you clearly have an interest in older technology. Gopher may therefore be an interesting avenue of investigation in its own right. If however this is not enough motivation to take a peek into the odd gopher hole or two, how about this? I have just found a wonderful little vintage Mac software repository in gopherspace, and you may just want to check it out.

The repository in question is and it has an interesting collection of both Mac OS and Mac OS X titles (plus PC, Amiga and more), many of which definitely qualify as “hard to come by”. I found a few programs I have been looking for for quite some time now, and you may too.

So, how do you access this small miracle in gopherspace? It is actually very simple. The address is:


Type that into your browser’s address bar just like you would an HTTP:// address. However, if you type that particular address into your browser right now, it won’t really know what to do with it, since the gopher:// part of the address will represent an unknown protocol to it. Happily, for those of you on Firefox, there is a plugin with the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek name of OverbiteFF that adds Gopher capability to your browser.

Picture 1

Installation of OverbiteFF is a breeze. You can get it from here:

and this page features a large “+ Add to Firefox” button. Simply press the button and follow the simple instructions, and you will quickly be rewarded with a Gopher capable version of Firefox.

Now so equipped, head over to, at gopher:// and have a look. There is a healthy selection of software on tap there, all neatly organized into straightforward categories, as you can see below:


All of this, and you can now explore gopherspace as well. You can thank me later! 🙂

You Need WriteNow, Right Now!

WriteNow Post Cover Image

One of the long forgotten gems of the Macintosh world is the excellent and compact word processor, WriteNow. In the September 1993 edition, Macworld awarded WriteNow its World Class Award for the Word Processor category, edging out all other contenders, including Microsoft Word 5!

WriteNow Wins 7th Annual World Class Award, Composite

The Wikipedia entry for WriteNow summarizes the tale of this product perfectly:

“WriteNow was one of the two original word processor applications developed for the launch of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, and was the primary word processor for computers manufactured by NeXT. WriteNow was purchased from T/Maker by WordStar in 1993, but shortly after that, WordStar was purchased by The Learning Company, who ended sales. It remains fondly remembered to this day, for a combination of powerful features, excellent performance, and small system requirements.”

WriteNow Splash Screen

The Wikipedia entry continues at a later time, extolling the outstanding performance and GUI strengths of WriteNow:

“WriteNow represented what many saw as an ideal Macintosh application. It had a simple, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), no copy protection, and it worked in practically every revision of the Macintosh operating system, including in the Mac 68k emulator on PowerPC Macs and in Mac OS Classic mode under Mac OS X. Its biggest claim to fame, however, was its speed. It was written in assembly language (Motorola 680×0) by a group of developers who had a reputation for producing extremely efficient code. The user interface was unusual in that while the typical word processor had a ruler embedded in the main document window, WriteNow used a separate, fixed window that could be sent into the background, freeing screen space on the compact Mac’s small nine inch screen.”

WriteNow 4.0 Manual Cover Shot Straightened

All of this sounds compelling enough by itself, but you need WriteNow, right now, because in addition to its outstanding performance, small size and clean, easy to use GUI, WriteNow sports one last killer feature: it can read and write Microsoft Word files, as well as WordPerfect files, in addition to its own “native” format.

I tested WriteNow on two machines, a Quadra 840AV, where WriteNow ran native on the machine’s 40 MHz 68040 processor, and on a Power Macintosh 7300/200, where it ran under emulation on the beefy 200 MHz PowerPC 604e. I am happy to report that performance was snappy and responsive in both cases.

It is interesting to compare file sizes as well. Using a specific test document with 51,494 characters, organized as 9661 words and 1026 lines, the file size for the MS Word .doc format of this file was 66,334 bytes. The WriteNow native format for the same document was 92,251 bytes, actually larger than the MS-Word format. This came as a bit of a surprise, but I guess WriteNow can’t be faster AND smaller!

Pick up a copy of WriteNow and try it out. It remains a valuable word processor to this very day – lean, fast and light on resources… isn’t that what good software is supposed to be all about?

You can get WriteNow from the ever helpful Macintosh Garden, at

Networking Your Classic Macintosh with Windows, Part 3 – Using NetPresenz and Fetch

Multi OS Networking

This is the third in our series concerning how to network your vintage Macintosh with its Windows peers of the day. The first two posts in this series covered accomplishing this with two fairly well known tools for this purpose, Thursby Software’s Dave, and Connectix’s DoubleTalk. Both of these use the SMB protocol to achieve networking. Today’s post attacks the networking problem from a totally different direction – the FTP protocol – using a much lesser known application, NetPresenz.

Networking w FTP

“NetPresenz?” you are thinking to yourself… What the heck is NetPresenz? Names like Fetch and Transmit pop unbidden into your mind when you think of vintage Macs and FTP, and this is not without reason. Both are excellent and well known FTP clients, each providing a means for getting files TO your vintage Mac via FTP, from an FTP site. However, what if you want to share files FROM your Mac via FTP? For that, you need a Macintosh FTP server, a job beyond the limited means of FTP client applications like Fetch and Transmit.

Sharing Files from a Macintosh to a PC via NetPresenz FTP Server

This is where NetPresenz comes in. NetPresenz is a wonderful freeware package that delivers an FTP Server, a Web Server AND a Gopher server (if you haven’t heard of Gopher before, you can think of it as an early predecessor to HTTP). With NetPresenz and Fetch installed, you can both make your files available to others via FTP, and you can access files that others are making available to you, also via FTP.

First things first, as always. You can acquire a copy of NetPresenz 4.1 from At this location you will also find an excellent and very readable user’s manual for NetPresenz, which I would encourage you to at least browse before starting the application for the first time.

A note of key importance highlighted by this manual is to make sure that File Sharing is on before you run NetPresenz. It was not on my Mac (I used a Power Macintosh 7300/200, running Mac OS 9.1), and so I enabled it via the File Sharing Control Panel:

File Sharing Starting Up

Every FTP server needs some files to share and so I created a top level folder on my Mac’s main hard drive which I called simply “FTP Site”. I enabled sharing on it and copied a few small test files into it, so that I would recognize them if/when I was later able to successfully access the folder from FTP. With this essential setup done, I was ready to dive into NetPresenz itself.

When you unpack the NetPresenz archive, you get an install folder that looks like this:

NetPresenz Install Folder

Installation is simplicity itself. Merely move this folder into your Mac’s Applications folder and you are done. Next, to setup NetPresenz, you start, obviously enough, with the NetPresenz Setup application. When you double click this application, you are greeted with the NetPresenz splash screen and then the NetPresenz setup GUI:

NetPresenz Setup Splash

NetPresenz Server Setups

Since the objective of this particular blog post is to setup an FTP Server, I clicked the FTP Setup button, and was led through a simple and obvious series of GUIs related to FTP setup. Most things didn’t have to be changed.

NetPresenz FTP Setup

BTW, NetPresenz 4.1 is now officially free from its vendor, Stairways Shareware, and so I was amused when I clicked the “I Paid” button at the bottom of the FTP Setup window, and NetPresenz obligingly said “Thank You” through my Mac’s speakers!

Back at the main NetPresenz Setup GUI, I now clicked the FTP Users button and pointed it at the “FTP Site” folder I had established before starting. Finally, I allowed anonymous FTP access to it.

NetPresenz Setup FTP Users

That was it! Back at the Install folder, I now double clicked the NetPresenz application itself, and was greeted by its incredibly minimalistic log window as my sole indication that NetPresenz was now serving FTP out onto the HappyMacs network.

NetPresenz Log Window

Now that the server was running, I needed an FTP client to test it with. For this, I looked no further than my trusty Power Mac G5 Quad running Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger, since almost every web browser these days supports FTP “right out of the box”. Noting that my NetPresenz Macintosh’s local IP address was, I typed into the address bar of my browser (TenFourFox G5, of course!) and was greeted with the below:

Logged In to NetPresenz from G5 Quad

That was easy! It worked the first time, no muss, no fuss. Through the browser presented FTP page, I was able to download files from the NetPresenz Macintosh, but could not upload: uploading requires a more complete client than a web browser provides. To test uploading therefore, I turned to another trusted Mac OS X standby of mine, CyberDuck. Using CyberDuck on my Power Mac G5 Quad I was able to both upload and download files via the NetPresenz server running on my vintage Macintosh.

Now of course this series of posts is about networking your vintage Mac with its vintage PC peers of the day, and so I went to my favorite vintage PC, a 200 MHz Pentium Pro machine running Windows NT 4.0, and fired up another old friend of mine, WS_FTP32, my favorite Windows FTP client from that period. I pointed it at via its site setup dialog:

Setup NetPresenz in WS_FTP32

I then double clicked the site name I had just setup and sure enough, once more, with no muss, no fuss, I was presented the below:

Logged in to NetPresenz from WinNT

Once again it had worked first time! Once again I was able to upload and download files to and from the Mac with ease.

One nice behavior of NetPresenz that is observable from WS_FTP32 but that cannot not be seen from TenFourFox is the login greeting message. NetPresenz allows you to set per user login greeting messages, so that when a particular user logs in, they are greeted with a customized message. The ability to customize the login message was typical of FTP servers of the day, but it is still a nice refinement. In NetPresenz you can also set per folder greeting messages, such that when a user navigates into any given folder, they get a folder-specific greeting message, but I did not bother with that additional setup. In the meantime, if you look at the last two lines of the above WS_FTP32 screen, you will see the greeting message I had established for user “anonymous” (“Welcome to the 7300/200 FTP Site! Enjoy Your Stay.”).

With that, file sharing FROM the Macintosh TO the PC, via an FTP server running on the Macintosh, was fully up and running.

Sharing Files from a PC to a Macintosh via the Fetch FTP Client

What about the other direction – sharing files FROM a PC TO a Mac using FTP? Once again, an FTP server is needed, but this time it is a Windows-based FTP Server that is needed. Those of you who are intimately familiar with Windows NT 4.0 will recall that even the Workstation version (the version I have running on my 200 MHz Pentium Pro machine) can run an FTP server as part of its Peer Web Services. The Peer Web Services are not installed by default and so you will need your Windows NT 4.0 Workstation install CD to proceed. If you choose to take this route (I did not) Microsoft helpfully provides the following instructions on how to install and enable the native FTP server:

How to Install the FTP Server Service in Windows NT 4

Why didn’t I go this way? The quick answer is security. I have read one too many articles to the effect that the Windows NT 4.0 FTP Server is riddled with security holes – a nightmare waiting to happen. All by itself, that is reason enough to look elsewhere, but I was also worried about readers who didn’t have Windows NT 4.0, but rather had Windows 95 (or worse, Windows for Workgroups 3.11) – I wanted a solution for them as well.

With this in mind, I went hunting for a generic Windows FTP Server that could be installed on at least Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. After going down many a blind alley, I finally came upon acFTP, an open source FTP Server whose only stated requirement is Win32. This made it perfect for both Windows 95 AND Windows NT 4.0 (…and it might even work on Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with Win32s installed… who knows! I didn’t try this – if you do, let me know how it went!). You can pick up a copy of acFTP at

I won’t go into the Windows NT 4.0 installation and setup of acFTP – this blog is about Macs and not PCs after all! However, it was straightforward and direct, and the FTP server was up and running with almost no effort.

I wonder whether the author of acFTP was inspired by NetPresenz, or perhaps visa-versa? acFTP sports the same incredibly minimalistic style of user interface that NetPresenz employs, providing only a log window as evidence that it is running. If possible, acFTP is even more minimalistic than NetPresenz – configuration is accomplished solely through text based configuration files, without even the GUIs that NetPresenz provides. acFTP may be minimalistic, but it was effective, and it successfully served FTP out onto the HappyMacs network.

All I needed now was a Macintosh-based FTP client.

For this, I picked Fetch. Fetch was my “go to” FTP client “back in the day” when I was lucky enough to have a Macintosh on my desk as my day-to-day computer at work. Without question, this made Fetch my first choice. As I mentioned earlier however, Transmit is another very popular choice of FTP client for Mac OS Classic, if you wish to try something different. You can get both Fetch and Transmit from the Macintosh Garden at and, respectively.

As was the case with NetPresenz, installation of Fetch is a doddle – just copy the Fetch folder to your Mac’s Applications folder and run the application. Pretty darn simple!

Fetch Install Folder

I did check Fetch’s preferences, but I didn’t feel that anything needed changing, and so I left them as they were:

Fetch Options

I logged in using anonymous FTP:

Fetch Site Entry

Fetch happily connected, and rewarded me with the following screen:

Fetch Connected to Server

As you can see from the above, I pointed Fetch at something a little more beefy than the simple test files I had set up for NetPresenz testing. I established a folder full of programs, screen shots and wallpaper images, and then proceeded to both download (Get File) and upload (Put File) files to/from this folder using Fetch. Both directions worked flawlessly.

Fetch Getting File

Fetch Putting File

With that, sharing files FROM a PC TO a Macintosh over FTP was also now fully up and running.

Closing Thoughts

We have seen that you can set up your vintage Mac to be either an FTP Server, via NetPresenz, or an FTP Client, via Fetch (or any one of a number of other excellent Macintosh FTP clients, as you wish). With your Mac set up as an FTP Server, you can share files directly with vintage PCs with your Mac providing the common ground. If your Mac is set up as an FTP client, you can share files directly with vintage PCs running an FTP server such as acFTP with the PC acting as the common ground. Of course, you can also do all of this indirectly, using as a middleman any FTP server that is visible to both the Mac and the PC.

That’s it for this installment of the networking series. In the next installment, we will look at sharing files from your Mac to a PC (and to almost anything else that supports HTTP) using a clever and almost completely forgotten gem that Apple debuted in Mac OS 8. Until then, happy FTP’ing!

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!

Network Your Classic Mac with Windows – Part 1: Using Dave

Network You Classic Mac with Windows - Part 1: Using Dave

Here at the Happy Macs Lab, we have a unique issue. In the lab, you will find vintage Power Macintosh models, running everything from Mac OS 7.5.3 up through Mac OS 9.1, a maxed out Power Mac G4 Cube running all of Mac OS 9.2.2, Mac OS X Tiger and Mac OS X Leopard, Power Mac G5s running Mac OS X Tiger and Mac OS X Leopard, multiple older PCs running various versions of Linux and even a sampling of older Windows machines, running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and finally Windows XP. It is quite the “tower of babel” from a computing perspective, and getting all these machines to talk to each other is a real challenge.

Happily, there are multiple solutions that achieve the desired result, and this blog post is the first of a series where we will look at the best of them, one by one. Some of the solutions are point-to-point, connecting just one OS to one other OS (such as Mac OS to Windows), and some are all encompassing, connecting everything to everything.

In this first post of the series, we will look at the first of two “traditional” point-to-point solutions for connecting Mac OS Classic and Windows, Thursby Software’s Dave. In the second post of this series, we will examine the other classic solution to this problem, Connectix’s DoubleTalk.

Dave and DoubleTalk

Throughout this series of networking posts, “Mac OS Classic” is used to imply Mac OS 9.x and lower, and specifically excludes all versions of Mac OS X. Similarly, throughout this series of posts, “Windows” implies Windows NT 4.0 and higher. For the purposes of this series, I used two principal Macs, a Power Macintosh 7500/100, upgraded with a NewerTech 366 MHz G3, and running Mac OS 8.6, and a fairly stock Power Macintosh 7300/200 running Mac OS 9.1. I used a 200 MHz dual CPU Pentium Pro PC running Windows NT 4.0 as the Windows representative in this networking duet.

Windows, Networking and SMB

OK, lets get going. A little background is in order first. Windows communicates with the networked world using the Server Management Block (SMB) protocol, renamed CIFS (Common Internet File System) in later versions of Windows. Pretty much all versions of Windows since Windows NT 3.x have incorporated both an SMB server and an SMB client, meaning that the OS can both read and write other SMB-based machines and can itself be read and written by those same other machines. I have seen, but not yet been able to confirm, that even the creaky Windows for Workgroups 3.11 included an SMB capability.


Since Windows speaks SMB, if a Mac wants to engage in file sharing with a Windows platform, it needs to speak SMB as well. Functionally speaking, this means that it needs to implement an SMB server and /or an SMB client. The two well-regarded third party applications mentioned above, Thursby Software’s Dave and Connectix’s DoubleTalk, do just this.

Thursby’s Dave seems to be the preferred solution in this space, although both garner a recommendation on Apple’s website.

Dave is preferred because it implements both an SMB server and an SMB client, while DoubleTalk only implements and SMB client. Having both an SMB server and an SMB client, a Dave-equipped Mac can seamlessly read and write files to and from a Windows machine and that Windows machine can seamlessly read and write files to and from the Mac.

Networking with Dave

Installing and Configuring Dave

I tested Dave and can attest that this is all true. I loaded Dave onto my Power Macintosh 7500, running Mac OS 8.6, and took it for a spin. The above mentioned 200 MHz Pentium Pro PC, running Windows NT 4.0, acted as its Windows counterpart in this testing.

Now before we go any further, there is a pink elephant in the room that we should all acknowledge. Astonishingly, not only is Thursby still a going commercial concern, Dave is still an active product at Thursby, and they want a staggering $119 for a current license for it! This will no doubt stop many folks from experimenting with it further.

Buy Dave

Of course, the Dave software, and license numbers for it, are available from multiple “abandonware” sites, but none of the licenses I could find this way worked – all were rejected by Dave as “expired”. Thursby has protected their product well. Already having a valid Dave 4.0 license, I was able to proceed, but those of you not in this happy position will need to either pony up a big $119 to Thursby, or make your peace with trolling the web in search of non-expired licenses. I did this yesterday as a test, and successfully unearthed multiple apparently valid licenses. A little bit of persistence may serve you well in this area.

In an effort to save would be users of Dave from having to pay the hefty $119 fee for what is fundamentally an obsolete product, I queried Thursby’s email support, asking if they would be willing to provide a free license, given the lack of remaining commercial trade in Mac OS 9.x and below. The answer back was a firm “no”, followed by an admonition that Dave should not be considered abandonware. The response concluded with a request to know where I had downloaded Dave from! Realizing that this line of inquiry was not likely to result in a free Dave license, I abandoned it and moved on.

I will leave the licensing issue in your capable hands. Moving on, I can report that Dave is an excellent product. It was simple to install and configure, easy to use, and 100% effective at doing what it said it would do.

Installation and setup was a snap.

Dave 4

Dave’s setup runs you through a few simple questions, the most complex of which may be its query for your workgroup name. If you don’t know the answer, just type in “WORKGROUP”, which is what most PCs default it to. Confirm this by visiting the Network control panel of the PC you are trying to connect to, and change the name on the PC side or the Mac side, if need be. Once the installation is done, you will need to restart your Mac and then you are ready to network with your PC friends.

Networking with Dave: Mac to PC

Networking with Dave from a Mac to a PC is quite intuitive, in a very Mac OS Classic sort of way – you go through Chooser, just like you would for the native form of Mac networking. In Chooser, you will now be greeted by a new connection type in the left hand pane, Dave Client.

Chooser w Dave Client

When you click this, there will be a disconcerting pause, during which you will wonder whether Dave is working at all, and then the right hand pane will suddenly populate, hopefully showing you the PCs you want to share files with (and anything else on your network that has an SMB server – in my case, this included two Power Mac G5s and my current main Mac, a 2012 27” iMac).

Chooser Dave Client

Double click the entry for the PC of interest (in this case it was DualPro200 – so named because it is a dual CPU Pentium Pro 200 MHz) and you will get the expected password prompt. Enter the correct user name and password (this is the user name and password from the PC, or just select Guest instead) and Chooser will pop up a dialog showing the “shares” on the selected PC that are available for you to choose from (a “share” is SMB-speak for an available, shared folder).

Dave List of Shares

You may just run into some trouble here – I did. Initially, the share list was blank! There is not a lot of latitude to share files when the list of possible sharing targets is empty! Happily, Dave provides an “Add Share” button below the list, and I took advantage of this to add the shared folders on the PC to the dialog.

This point requires a brief moment of explanation. When you share a folder in Windows NT 4.0, you give it a “Share Name”. This name should show up in the list of available shares that Dave presents you, but in my case, it did not. The share name did show up in the list of available shares when I connected to the PC from either of my Power Mac G5s, but did not from my older Power Macintosh 7300 or 7500 machines. The reason for this will be explained in a postscript at the end of this post.

For now, I was presented with a blank list of shares, but had the potential of adding shares through the Dave “Add Share” dialog. Back at the Pentium Pro PC, I went to Control Panels -> Server, and clicked the Shares button. This presented me with the following list of the available shares:


As you can see there were a LOT of shares there, but most ended with the “$” sign, indicating that they were administrative shares, automatically created by and internal to Windows NT, and not generally advertised for external connection (although they can be connected to if you wish).

I took note of three shares of interest, C$, D$ and DP200SharedFolder, which corresponded to C:\, D:\ and the folder I was actually trying to share, DP200SharedFolder. One by one, using Dave’s Add Share button, I added these to the list, and they worked. When I double clicked any one of them, Dave promptly mounted the appropriate share on the Windows NT machine and at that point, I could drag and drop, read files, create folders, and in general, do all the things I could do with any local file folder.

PC On Desktop

I must apologize for the loss of continuity in the screen shot above. The share name mounted on the desktop is different from what is described – I no longer have the original screen shot.

Setting aside the cause of the blank list of shares for a moment, Dave’s Add Share dialog allowed me to work around a potentially show stopping issue and arrive at networking success, at least in the Macintosh to PC direction. What about the other direction, PC to Macintosh?

Networking with Dave: PC to Mac

This was not such a happy story initially. The Power Macintosh 7500 simply did not show up at all in the Network Neighborhood of the PC, nor could I see it in the Network selection of the two G5s I have on the network (both running 10.4.11 Tiger). Guessing that Dave’s SMB server was not enabled, I went hunting for a Dave Control Panel on the Macintosh. Nope, no such thing. There WAS a NetBIOS control panel with Dave labeling in it, so I hunted around in there, but there were no obvious selections to enable or disable visibility of the SMB Server.

My next stop was the Dave installation in the Macintosh’s Applications folder. There was a single file there, a program named, appropriately enough, Dave. Following this obvious lead, I launched the program, selected Dave Sharing and was greeted with what amounts to a Dave control panel.

DAVE File Sharing 1

Of course I immediately noticed that File Sharing was off, which would imply that the Dave SMB Server was not running. I enabled this and then checked to see if Dave was sharing any folders. The list at the top of the window was empty suggesting that it was not. Using Finder, I dropped my AppleTalk shared folder, “PowerMac7300SharedFolder” into the list. It “took” and thereafter, Dave showed that it was sharing this folder. It did warn me that shares with names over 12 characters long might not share properly, but I ignored that for the moment.

Dave File Sharing 2

Again I must offer my apologies for the discontinuity in the image above – the file share name is slightly different from what I have described – I seem to have misplaced the original screenshot.

Back at the Windows NT machine, success. The Power Macintosh 7500 now showed up in the Network Neighborhood. I double clicked the icon, full of confidence that I had solved the problem, and was greeted with … a blank window. The PC could see the Macintosh, but the Macintosh didn’t appear to be sharing anything. I checked this with both of the G5s, and Tiger pretty much agreed – there was nothing being shared. Tiger’s rather obscure way of indicating this to me was to tell me that it could not open the alias because the original item could not be found. Somewhat of a misleading error indication, but I got the message. Something was still definitely wrong at the Macintosh end.

I went back to the Dave application and removed the current folder I was sharing, suspecting that either you could not share a folder over both AppleTalk and SMB, and/or perhaps the file name really DID have to be 12 characters or less. I created a new folder called “PMAC7500-SMB” (EXACTLY 12 characters) and dropped it into the Dave “Shares” list. I specifically did not share this folder through the usual Mac OS way of doing this – it was only shared via Dave’s SMB server.

This did the trick. The Network Neighborhood window that I got when I doubled clicked the icon for the Power Macintosh 7500 now presented one accessible folder, PMAC7500-SMB. This folder could be opened, read, written to… it was fully accessible. Success! PC to Macintosh networking was now up and running as well.

Networking with Dave – Summary

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

  • On the Macintosh side, make sure you have a unique share folder for Dave, and make sure that the name of that folder is less than 12 characters. Do not share this folder via the normal Mac OS Sharing mechanism. Share it only via Dave.
  • On the PC side, make sure that you have one or more shared folders, and take note of the “Share As” name you assign to each. Like the Macintosh side, keep the filename of each shared folder to 12 characters or less as well.
  • 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 that side, when you use Chooser to select the PC, if you are greeted with a blank list of available shares, use Dave’s Add Share button to manually add the shares whose names you took note of in the last step. You will only have to do this once. Dave remembers the names.
  • That’s it! Apply the above and you should be happily networking in both directions between a Macintosh running Dave and a PC running Windows NT 4.0.

Closing Thoughts

A final note on Dave. Dave will very considerately interrupt the Macintosh shutdown sequence to warn you if it is hosting any connected users, giving you a chance to warn them before their favorite Mac suddenly disappears from cyberspace. As I said above, Thursby has done a very nice job.

That’s it for this post. In our next post on networking, we will look at doing the same sort of thing using the other classic application in this space, Connectix DoubleTalk. Until then, happy networking with Dave!

The Promised Postscript on The Empty Share List Problem

p.s.> A postscript to this story. As outlined above, the “empty list of shares” problem is easily resolved. Reasoning that since Dave warned that Macintosh share names over 12 characters might not share correctly, I concluded that perhaps share names on the Windows NT side should ALSO be 12 characters or less. I went back to the Windows NT 4.0 machine and checked the length of the share name for the folder I was trying to share. Sure enough, it was MUCH longer than 12 characters. When I shortened it to 12 characters (8 characters actually, in this case), it showed up instantly in the Chooser selections of both Mac OS Classic machines. So, one final word to the wise – all share names should be 12 characters or less.

And as if that is not enough, Windows NT 4.0 gently reminds you that if you want the share to be visible to DOS and Windows 3.x class machines, its’ name needs to be 8 characters or less! Just so you know…. 🙂