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Migrating from Macintosh to PC

  Miguel Marquina IT/DCI

You may be confronting the problem of moving from a Macintosh to a PC environment for whatever reason; this article is intended purely to help you technically in that transition, in order that the change in your habits is made as smooth as possible.

The NICE "Login" concept

One of the first things you will notice is that you require one additional step to make your PC really "yours". When you start your Mac, the disk, files and customisation are the ones you have set up. And this without further questions. You work straight on your Mac desktop. These are what is called "single-user" machines. A classical PC under Windows/95 would offer you the same, but the PC environment at CERN (NICE, which stands for "Network Integrated Computing Environment") has been organized such that your environment goes "with you" and not "with your computer". Somebody who has already computer accounts on other systems (UNIX, VXCERN, etc.) understands this. On all those "multi-user" Services, many people may work simultaneously on the same computer. The only way to achieve that and not having all user files mixed up is by having to enter an identifier (your "login-id" or "account") and an access key (called "login password"). It is like identifying yourself with your bank card and your pin code at the Cassamat.

So when you boot a PC at CERN set up under the NICE environment, it will first ask you to supply your "Network Login" and "Password". Afterwards you will be asked to supply a second password for your "Windows session"; this usually coincides with the first (certainly it does the first time you use your account).

Once you have succeeded in connecting, you will start seeing your files and environment. And this regardless of the location of the PC (whether it is the one at your office or somewhere else).

One corollary to the above: since you must connect to get to your files, you should remember to disconnect when not using your own PC, because otherwise you leave your files exposed for the next person who uses the machine. Using the same analogy as before, it would be like introducing the card at the Cassamat, keying your pin code and then leaving the machine unattended.

Moving your Mac files to the PC

You must understand that the Mac and the PC are two different machines and that programs (like graphics tools, text editors, database applications like FileMaker or Excel, etc.) will not work if moved from one to the other. However it is quite frequent that the same application is available for both platforms and has been prepared to understand documents produced on either side: Word letters, Excel spreadsheets, Corel-Draw drawings, etc.

If you understand this basic rule, you probably can save most of your work (since applications such as the above are also available on PCs under NICE). You simply have to copy the relevant documents. The basic steps follow.

Find out where is your NICE Home

In order to access it from your Mac, you need to know the location of your NICE `HomeDirectory'. One way is by finding the data about yourself using `Phone book', then clicking on `More Info'. The open window will show you `HomeDirectory: \\srv1_home\usr13\home...'.

The second method is by examining the configuration of your PC. Let us assume your NICE "login-id" is "Smith". You will see on your PC Desktop an icon called `My Computer'; if you double-click on it, you will see two disk icons labelled like:

 `srv1_home... on '$nds' (G:)'
 `Smith on $nds\.srv1_home_usr13....  (J:)'
or similar. The two parameters to note down are precisely the server `srv1_home' and the disk `USR13' where your "NICE Home" resides.

Opening your NICE Home from your Mac

The easiest method to copy all your Mac documents to your PC is by dragging them into your NICE "folder". To do that:

At this moment you have full priviledges to write on your NICE area all the Mac files you wish, using the familiar Mac interface (you may create new folders, etc.).

A tip: you may find it convenient to set an alias to your NICE folder (by using `Make Alias' in the `File' menu) in order to shorten the above rather cumbersome connection procedure.

Mac versus PC File System

While the Macintosh system allows quite a flexible naming scheme using blanks and long names (>14 characters), and it knows internally how to associate documents to their originating applications, the PC is more strict and requires you to assign special extensions to the PC files in order to activate the right application. Here follows a non-exhaustive list:

  Document Type    Mac File   should be called on your PC
  WORD               f                  f.doc
  EXCEL              f                  f.xls
  COREL DRAW         f                  f.cdr
  HTML (WWW)         f                  f.htm
When copying your Mac files, please avoid national characters in their names (e.g. by renaming them first). The way in which those characters are treated by the two machines is different, and it may be afterwards practically impossible to manipulate the files with standard PC tools and commands.

Routing your QuickMail messages elsewhere

Now that you have started using your PC, you would like to get all your QuickMail messages delivered to the new system of your choice; this could be your own PC, or perhaps an account on one of the Central Services. In any case, you must start by having the new e-mail address that you will use from now on. Let us assume that you ask for an account at the Central "Mail Server" and that you will use `PC/pine' from your PC to connect to it. Typically the new e-mail address will be `'.

You have to program QuickMail to forward a COPY of your incoming mail (an original will always stay at your QuickMail account) as follows:

Now you just need to "activate" this setting, by going to the `Tools' menu and selecting `Start Server MailManager'. The forwarding you have just programmed will be active until you stop it by choosing `Stop Server MailManager'.

Finally, test what you have done. If you send an e-mail to your QM address (or ask a friend to do it for you), you should find the original at your QM mailbox and a copy sent to your new address `'.

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Next: Software Development Tools Service Up: cnl226.html Previous: Problems with Netscape/PC as Mail Agent