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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection Laptop Macs
With so many complaints about FireWire disappearing from the MacBooks, I wondered if large files could be copied using just an Ethernet cable. It was successful, and the transfer was rapid -- less than one minute to transfer 1.8 GB.

I used an aluminum MacBook connected via Ethernet cable directly to an aluminum iMac. AirPort cards were turned off on both computers, the Ethernet connections were active, and file sharing in the Sharing System Preferences panel was on. Under Shared in Finder, the computers recognized each other, allowing me to copy from one computer to the other.

[robg adds: This is a fairly basic tip, but I don't think we've covered it here before. Basically, the Mac OS is smart enough to set up a functional network if you connect two machines together using Ethernet (or FireWire) cable. Once connected, transfers will happen very quickly. Unfortunately, this doesn't help with the larger MacBook/FireWire issue, which is that you can't connect FireWire drives, video cameras, etc.]
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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection | 17 comments | Create New Account
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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: scotty321 on Apr 15, '09 08:08:50AM

Not to mention that you can't use Target FireWire Disk Mode for troubleshooting. This is probably the biggest problem with loss of FireWire from the MacBooks.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: zcrow on Apr 15, '09 08:11:10AM

Just to confirm, you don't need an ethernet crossover cable to pull this off? Just a regular cat5 cable?



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: mbenchoff on Apr 15, '09 08:14:51AM

You are correct. Any old Cat5 will do.



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no crossover cable needed, EVER
Authored by: lowbatteries on Apr 15, '09 10:19:07AM
Crossover cables are never needed for any reason on newer Macs because the ethernet port does the crossover for you - something called Auto-MDIX.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-MDIX

This was one of the big things that so impressed me on my friend's Mac and got me interested in switching (no, I'm not joking). I bought a MacBook and threw away the crossover cable I always carried in my laptop bag.

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no crossover cable needed, EVER
Authored by: Zeitkind on Apr 16, '09 04:17:10AM

Well, almost _all_ newer ethernet cards do this for many years now, also almost all switches. It's not a special feature of Macs, though Apple built in quite early onboard NIC's with Auto-MDX.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: Anonymous on May 05, '09 08:45:09AM

Firewire Target disk mode is one is the most useful things ever for diagnostics,fixing macs, system installs etc....but now the ability to take drives out and pop them in a cradle/external enclosure is there i am not missing it as much as i thought. I always carry my trusty FW400/800 cables with me and have fixed so many peoples MAcs while on the road.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: SOX on Apr 15, '09 09:15:20AM

The problem I have always had with this is that for reasons I don't understand I don't automatically see the other computer but I can assign it an IP address and find it that way. I figure this is some setting I have set that I'm not aware of. Why does the other computer just not show up.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: jiclark on Apr 15, '09 11:16:55AM

I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but on systems older than Leopard, you would usually have to look in the Network Sys. Prefs pane to get the "self-assigned" IP of one of the Macs (169.xxx.xxx.xxx), and enter that in the Connect to Server dialog on the other Mac. "Connect to Server..." is in the Go menu in the Finder, or use Cmd-K...

In my experience, only Leopard makes it as easy as described above. Older versions of the OS require a little more effort, but once you understand the process, it's not hard.

The only other gotcha that deserves repeating is that File Sharing must be enabled on the machine you're trying to connect *to*, or you'll be unable to connect successfully.

All of which simply points out again what a shame it is to lose Target Disk Mode. It's just so easy!!



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: zpjet on Apr 15, '09 10:02:28AM

there's even no need to turn off wireless, as long as you have correct service order in networks.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: Fuuga on Apr 15, '09 11:57:40AM

No to disregard the hint just to say computer having an IP stack but no DHCP service is available or no static IP has assigned, protocol assigns so called Local-ilnk address (RFC 3330, 3927). When connected to another similar with direct cable both ends have local-link address and communication succeeds.



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection does it work for MB Air too ?
Authored by: afranz on Apr 15, '09 02:25:55PM

the other day a colleague and I tried this between a MacBook Air, via its USB to ethernet adapter, and a new iMac and it didn't work. Has anyone similar experiences with the Air adapter ?



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection does it work for MB Air too ?
Authored by: leamanc on Apr 15, '09 06:49:34PM

Yes, I have done it and it works as described in the hint. However from time to time when using this method, the two computers just won't see each other. In that case, I set up the IP addresses manually.

So try this:
MacBook Air IP address: 192.168.5.1
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0

iMac IP: 192.168.5.2
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0

Turn on File Sharing on the machine you want to copy from, connect to it from the other machines, using Finder>Go>Connect to Server, and enter:

afp://192.168.5.x (where x is the last octet of the IP you are connecting to).

(Also, I chose 192.168.5.x for the IPs for a couple of reasons: Apple's Internet sharing uses 192.168.2.x for its addressing; and most home routers use 192.168.0.x. Just to make sure you don't conflict with anything else on the network, pick another number--like 5--that is not already in use on the LAN.)



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection does it work for MB Air too ?
Authored by: jporten on May 05, '09 07:41:05AM

I use 192.168.5.x for Firewire networks, and 192.168.10.x for Ethernet. They're mnemonics: 5 = Firewire; 10 = 10BaseT.

And in the above example, you need to set the router when you're creating manual IP settings. Use the same number for both computers (and better to use the faster of the two), i.e.:

MacBook:
192.168.10.1
255.255.255.0
192.168.10.1

PowerBook G4:
192.168.10.2
255.255.255.0
192.168.10.1



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: mzs on Apr 15, '09 07:26:00PM
Apple should get an SATA over Ethernet implementation into EFI, the spec is not very long:

http://www.coraid.com/RESOURCES/AoE-Protocol-Definition

Then they could have something like target disk mode again. Too bad HyperSCSI died from neglect.

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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: RobLewis on Apr 16, '09 08:24:40AM

Do all newer Ethernet ports eliminate the need for crossover cables?

Used to be that when connecting two computers (as opposed to a computer and a router or switch), you had to use a special crossover cable. Then ports started getting smart and auto-detecting the type of connection and adjusting accordingly.

Is this auto-detection now universal?



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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: gadgeto on Apr 16, '09 12:21:00PM

Just from memory. This is a feature defined for GigEthernet.

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Transfer files using a direct Ethernet connection
Authored by: NaOH-Lye on Apr 17, '09 09:25:05AM

The Apple Knowledge Base document detailing which devices require a crossover cable can be seen here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2274.



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