Get IT Done: DAVE integrates Macs into a Windows network

Make your Macs play nice with Windows with this utility

Nearly every corporate network has at least a few Macs attached to them. And getting them to play nice with PCs (and vice versa) can cause considerable frustration for network administrators. One efficient and cost-effective way to streamline Mac/Windows file and printer sharing is to call on DAVE.

DAVE is not some awesome network administrator who is the self-proclaimed swami of Mac and Windows integration. DAVE is a software tool for the Mac that you can buy at Thursby Software. DAVE allows the MacOS to become a client in a Windows network. It goes beyond the file transfer capabilities of other Mac/Windows integration programs, and it exceeds the functionality of Microsoft’s NT Services for Macintosh.

Let’s face it. Macs still have a prominent place in many desktop publishing, graphic design, and marketing departments, and the bleeding edge tools in these fields still belong to the MacOS. This fact, coupled with Apple’s strong resurgence in recent years, means that the Mac integration issue is not going away any time soon. DAVE offers network administrators a sound solution for both Windows NT/2000 domains and Windows 95/98 workgroups. This article will focus primarily on integrating Macs into a Windows NT/2000 network.

DAVE effectively gives the Mac client NetBIOS functionality and uses TCP/IP for networking with Windows 95/98/NT/2000 machines. This enables the Mac to browse Windows domains and workgroups, log into an NT/2000 domain, mount Windows shares, print to Windows PostScript printers, share its own files, and share PostScript printers with Windows users. Sounds awesome, right? Let’s look at how to set it up and see how it works.

Installation and configuration
One of the key advantages of DAVE over other Mac/Windows integration products is that installation only involves putting files on the Mac. Nothing needs to be added to the Windows machines since DAVE is effectively making the Mac look like a Windows client to other Windows servers and clients.

Prior to installing DAVE, you’ll need to ensure the following conditions:
  1. The Mac must have a network card and must be physically attached to your Local Area Network.
  2. A DHCP server must be available on the network, or a static IP address and subnet mask must be assigned to the Mac. Before you install DAVE, I recommend that you go into the Mac’s Control Panel TCP/IP utility and set up your IP address settings by specifying static information or telling the Mac to use DHCP.
  3. The name of the domain or workgroup that the Mac will be joining must be available. DAVE can make a Mac a client in a Windows NT/2000 domain, or it can make it a part of a peer-to-peer Windows network (workgroup). If you’re using an NT/2000 domain, you’ll need to create a computer account for the Mac on one of the domain controllers.
  4. Optionally, the addresses of the WINS and/or DNS servers on the network can be set up for name resolution.

The DAVE installation itself follows standard Mac procedures. Following installation, the machine will restart, and you’ll see the DAVE initial setup wizard come up. This little wizard is quite intuitive for entering your initial configuration settings. I highly recommend that you use it. This is where you will provide information on the workgroup/domain, WINS servers, and other network settings. The questions are straightforward, and you shouldn’t have any trouble answering them if you gathered the information listed above. If you are using an NT/2000 domain, I recommend that you select the option for logging on at startup. This will prompt you for an NT username and password each time the Mac boots up (see Figure A), and will keep you from having to authenticate each time you access a new Windows resource. Once you reboot and log on, you are ready to start making network magic.

Figure A

File sharing
Anyone who has had to exchange files between Macs and PCs using Zip drives, SuperDrives, floppy disks, and other methods will be thrilled at the seamless integration of Mac and PC file sharing with DAVE. In addition, if the Mac is integrated into an NT domain, the Mac files can be given the same user-level file security as standard Windows files on an NT file server.

To mount a Windows share on the Mac, open up the Chooser as shown in Figure B and click on DAVE Client. You’ll see the list of the computers in your domain or workgroup, similar to Network Neighborhood in Windows. Double-click on any of the computers listed to view the shares and printers available. To mount a share, simply double-click on the folder. In a few seconds, you’ll see an icon with its name pop up on the right side of the Mac desktop. You can also click the box to the right of the share names in the window. This will set them up to be mounted each time the computer boots. Once you mount a share, you can open it and see that the files and subfolders look like any other Mac folder.

Figure B

To share Mac folders on the Windows network, you can set up your shares with the installation wizard, or you can go to the Control Panel DAVE Sharing item and turn on file sharing with user-level or share-level authentication, as shown in Figure C. Once you set this up, any of the Windows computers can “Map Network Drive” or browse the Network Neighborhood to mount and/or browse the files on the Mac share. To the Windows computers, these directories and files will look just like Windows files. As you can see, DAVE makes Mac/Windows file sharing amazingly simple and seamless.

Figure C

Printer sharing
Using Windows printers with DAVE, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. You can only mount printers functioning in PostScript mode. Like file sharing, this is done through the Mac Chooser. It requires that you have the Macintosh Laserwriter 8 extension installed. Also, you have to have the proper drivers for the Windows printer that you want the Mac to print to. When you have met these requirements, you go into the Chooser and follow the same procedure as mounting a Windows share. Once you select a printer, it will pop up on the right side of the screen as a Mac desktop printer. Apparently, this works quite well with the higher-end HP LaserJet printers. However, I had great difficulty getting it to work with Kyocera, Okidata, and other types of PostScript printers. I strongly advise that you test DAVE with your printers before making a plan to scrap AppleTalk printing for TCP/IP printing via DAVE. The same advice follows for sharing Mac printers to the Windows network.

DAVE offers several other integration features such as a “Messenger” client that allows Mac users logged into an NT/2000 domain to receive messages from the administrator (and provides the ability to send messages). Also, DAVE has a Network Neighborhood type browser that allows more Windows-like browsing. Both of these utilities can be accessed via the DAVE utility on the Apple menu.

For sharing files such as standard graphics formats, Microsoft Office files, HTML files, and files from software programs that have equivalent Mac/Windows versions, DAVE offers a great solution. It offers file sharing that works beautifully and provides security features within an NT/2000 domain. If you use it, you will certainly be thankful that you don’t have to swap another Zip, SuperDisk, or (God forbid!) a floppy.
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