Windows 2003 Server and my Mac


Windows 2003 Server

Windows 2003 Server

In my loft lurks a PC running Windows 2003 Server which I use for taking backups to. The license cost me enough so I’m determined to make use of it, and to be fair this has been one of my more reliable Windows machines (famous last words).

Backing up from PCs is a doddle, create a share on the server then simply ‘net use’ or map a drive to it and off you go with your chosen software. It would be just as easy on the Mac but for one annoying problem – the connection randomly drops for no apparent reason. I can mount the share quite happily and use it for days, then all of a sudden it’s disappeared and my backup software complains that it can’t access the relevant location. Reconnecting isn’t a problem, I just point the Mac at the server again and off it goes, so authentication isn’t the issue.

I wondered if installing AppleTalk on the server and connecting to shares using AFP rather than SMB might be better, but AFP is ‘crippled’ in Windows 2003 Server and so is of limited use. Sure it presents a nice little picklist of shares to the Mac user, but it doesn’t support long filenames nor does it support automatic reconnection which is what I really need. In fact if your a Mac user with a Windows 2000 or 2003 Server then you’re better off sticking with SMB from what I can see.

So I have three choices really.

  1. I splash out on something like a Mac Mini to replace the server and just hand the drives off it in external USB enclosures. Trouble I’m looking at spending at least £399 ($720) to get one and with the present credit crunch, that will have to wait. Besides, my first Mac Mini was destined to be a media player to replace my ageing PVR.
  2. I explore some way of detecting the disconnect on the Mac and then automatically reconnect. I’m sure I’ve seen a Mac utility that does this, it’s just a case of tracking it down. Or…
  3. I pursue finding a fix on the Windows side, although I don’t hold out much hope.

Incidentally, I got as far as Kalyway installing successfully on my spare PC, but it failed at the first reboot – something about failing to find some plist dependency on the drive I’d just installed to. I may revisit this when I get the chance as it was temptingly close.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi,

    There is a server side solution – ExtremeZ-IP – which replaces the discontinued Services for Macintosh and filly supports all of the Mac OS X functions including Leopard innovations such as Time Machine.

    You can try it for free. More here: http://www.grouplogic.com/products/extremeZ-IP/

    – Reid

  2. ExtremeZ-IP looks like an interesting solution. My only problem is that of cost – it looks like the minimum license cost is $895 for 10 workstation licenses (for that amount I could buy the Mac Mini).

    If there was the option to buy on a smaller scale, say $89.50 for a single license, perhaps with limited support to keep their costs down, then that would be a more attractive deal.

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