Connecting Windows to Mac via a local network

One of the jobs I do frequently is rebuild Windows computers. This entails backing up the user’s data, wiping the hard disk and re-installing Windows and applications and then restoring the user’s data.

Because of the many, varied reasons why it might come to this, I have learned that the simplest way to back up the data is to physically remove the hard disk, attach it to another computer with lots of disk space and just copy it over. When the laptop is again working, I transfer the data back via the local network.

Easy. Been doing that for ages. Until one day, things didn’t work as planned with Windows 7 and I think also with Windows Vista. I couldn’t connect to the Mac where the data was saved. I’d enter the IP address, enter my login name/password combination and….. fail.

It turns out my default Computer Name on the Windows side was causing the problem. When finishing the Windows install, one screen asks for a Computer Name and suggests things like “Upstairs office”. I always use the client’s last name and a numeric suffix, like “Smith-01”.

That works great with Windows XP, but with Vista/7, that “-” breaks the whole thing!

I changed it to “Smith01” and voilà! Everything is cool.



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