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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows Network
I've been a good little Mac head and did the 'obvious' thing to share files between my PC (running XP home) and my G4 PowerBook (10.3.2): I started "Windows Sharing" on the Mac side. It's a bit touchy and things don't always work, but in general, I can find my Mac from the PC (using an IP address only; browsing from the PC doesn't work) and copy files from the PC to the Mac. The only problem: it is SLOW. Things often start very fast but after about 50MB, it bogs down and starts to crawl. I'd like to understand this issue in more detail but that isn't really the point of this tip. I've found a fairly good workaround: use FTP.

I downloaded a free FTP client for my PC (I happened to use FileZilla which is OK but it has a confusing UI), turned on FTP sharing on my Mac and found that what used to take 20 minutes to copy, I can now copy in under 50 seconds! This certainly isn't going to be easy for newbies, as an FTP client like FileZilla can be a bit intimidating, but once you get it setup, it is very fast.

Any comments on making PC/Panther file sharing better would be appreciated as that is the real problem (I searched the hints but couldn't find anything).

[robg adds: I thought we had previously run a hint on using FTP for Mac/PC file transfers, but I can't find it this morning ... so apologies if this is a duplicate.]
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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: Striss on Feb 09, '04 11:26:36AM

I do the same for transfering files between my computers. But for Windows I use a program called WS_FTP Lite. It's incredibly easy to use, and it's free.

And when I need an ftp client on my Mac, I stick with good ol' ncftp!

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: starwxrwx on Feb 10, '04 11:59:11PM

i always liked cuteftp, but i havent used windoze for a while so it might not be free anymore. ws_ftp is good too, but none can rival ncftp! (its half the reason i bought a mac laptop.... except for moving lots of files into a new directory :( )

anyway, i've found using ftp from my pc(linux) to mac stuffs up when i start my ftp server but have the firewall running (even with ftp enabled in the firewall) and sometimes it just stuffs up regardless of firewall or no.

so i just use sftp because i've never had any problems with it at all. you only have to turn on "remote login" on your mac and you're away. I know the application "putty" for doze isn't too bad, although i think its command line only (which i prefer but each to their own...)

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: Marcot1 on Feb 09, '04 11:29:20AM

If you are trying to transfer files using the windows machine it may be easier to just use IE instead of downloading an FTP client. Windows will interpret a URL formated "ftp://username:password@IPaddress" as wanting to connect to an FTP server. The key is to include the username otherwise it will only attempt to connect anonymously.

I personally have encountered problems finding windows servers to connect but have never noticed a slow down in SMB performance once copying. I routinely use a custom shell script to connect to a SMB server to re-image a hard disk using ASR. To copy/restore a 3+ gig image never takes more than 10-15 minutes on a 10/100bt switched network.

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: hrbrmstr on Feb 09, '04 12:49:07PM

Microsoft's emergency Internet Explorer patch last week removes support for URL's with "@" in the address. It breaks RFC, but it protects them from phishing. So, only use this if you don't plan to update (or haven't already updated).

Mind the gap...

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: Lectrick on Feb 10, '04 02:19:40AM

That's fsck'ing retarded. Why didn't Microsoft ask the USER if they were sure they wanted to log into an FTP site?

I'm annoyed because I use this feature in IE all the time for FTP'ing...

In /dev/null, no one can hear you scream

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for the security conscious, use sftp...
Authored by: baronworm on Feb 09, '04 11:39:39AM
Don't forget that, when connecting via FTP, your username and password are sent in clear text across the network. Perhaps this isn't a concern for home users, but if you're wireless (and who doesn't wanna be wireless someday...) it's a real good idea to stick to encrypting your password, a la SFTP.

To use SFTP (which is really just a component of the ssh protocol), your Mac only needs to have "Remote Login" enabled, and on your PC you should use a freeware SFTP client app. (I use WinSCP)

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: osxpounder on Feb 09, '04 11:53:56AM

Just a note: don't leave an ftp server running on your PC when you aren't using it [for security reasons]. It'd be best to run an ssh daemon on the PC, if not some other secure remote login application, so that you can log in, start your ftp server, then get on with the business of transferring files ... and then, when you are finished, quit the ftp server.

Of course, if you're a PC security expert, you may feel differently. This note is for those among us who aren't security experts and just need to keep it safe.


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Don't forget to MAP NETWORK DRIVE
Authored by: kray on Feb 09, '04 12:51:12PM

If you're experiencing a slowdown in moving files around to/from a networked type connection with Windows ... do not forget to map the networked share as a drive letter and use that drive letter (!)

You'll notice a huge improvement. With Win2K-Prof go to "My Network Places" -> "Computers Near Me" -> Your_Local_Computer.

There you should see the shares available ... right click and "MAP NETWORK DRIVE..." -- map it to whatever letter you want and reconnect at logon if necessary. Windows tends to, um, really choke when trying to move things around to/from "//SERVER/SHARE/location/file" as opposed to just a drive letter (G: for example).

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Don't forget to MAP NETWORK DRIVE
Authored by: rhowell on Feb 09, '04 01:17:26PM

yeah but he can't see his mac from the pc.

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Don't forget to MAP NETWORK DRIVE
Authored by: BlakeyRat on Feb 09, '04 04:38:46PM

The mapping instructions are backwards from what I've always used.

If you right-click My Computer and select "Map Network Drive...," Windows will let you type in the IP address of the machine you want to map. That'd work fine in this case. And, to be honest, I had no clue you could map a network drive from the Network Neighborhood before.

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A better FTP client for Windows: SmartFTP instead of WS_FTP
Authored by: ryanjbonnell on Feb 09, '04 04:24:13PM

A much better FTP program than WS_FTP for the Windows platform is SmartFTP. It's got a customizable layout, and offer many advanced features such as Upload/Download queues.

SmartFTP is free, but will ask you to register it if you use it during the normal work week (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm), but otherwise it's completely free.

When I do have to use Windows, I have found SmartFTP ( to be the best choice for a powerful, but easy to use FTP client.

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Use FTP for faster file sharing with Windows
Authored by: miker71 on Feb 09, '04 04:26:14PM
yep, on my home network I run the ftp server Mac side, and use Windows explorer for the read/writes -- saves the bother of getting a ftp client GUI just open up Windows explorer and type in:
then it's drag and drop baby!

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Speed up Windows-Sharing
Authored by: hoadl on Feb 09, '04 05:46:14PM


found this hint in

RE: File transfer over SMB extremely slow
( msg # 6.: Posted Nov 17, 03 1:35 pm )

Apple shipped Panther with some extremely non-optimal kernel tcp defaults.
So the solution for slow NFS/SMB tranfers requires a bit of Terminal magic:

sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.delayed_ack=0
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.mssdflt=1460
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.sendspace=65535
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.recvspace=65535
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.newreno=1
(Settings courtesy of Chris Zubrzycki )

With these kernel settings SMB transfer speed went from 50kB/s to 1.3MB/s and NFS transfer speed from 190kB/s to 1.9MB/s...

Full link to the discussion:

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Psuedo-secure FTP file sharing with Windows
Authored by: BeezelNut RaRa on Apr 20, '05 07:13:48AM

A method for pseudo-secure FTP sharing: it's not really secure, but you won't care.

With "FTP Access" enabled on the Mac...
1. Create a new, standard, local user on OS X. I named mine Bill Gates (shortname: bill) and used an easy password.
2. When you are logged into OS X as yourself, drop files in Bill Gates' Drop Box.
3. On Windows, open up Windows explorer and type in:

Since you've logged in as Bill from the PC, you should be able to browse all of Bill's home folder, and most notably, get the files in Bill's Dropbox.

To Move Files From the PC to the Mac:
1. On the PC, drop files into Bill's Public folder.
2. On the Mac, copy them from Bill's Public folder.

It's exactly the same as others have suggested - thanks - but by creating a new OS X user for the purpose of FTPing, you don't have to worry about compromising your own stuff, or your name and password - just Bill's.

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