Mac on Windows 2000/2003 servers

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I am strongly considering buying my first mac (powerbook) before going to law school this fall, and had a few questions about compatability with windows-based servers. I know that the school file servers where the students' home directories and student organizations' shared files are located are on Windows 2000/2003 servers, in addition to the network printers. The IT support team tells me that the protocol that allows for mac machines to access these files and use these printers is not installed on their machines. I was under the assumption that nothing actually needed to be installed on their side, and that I would be able to access the shared files/use the printers through services for macintosh - does services for macintosh actually need to be installed in order for me to function in school with a mac? Are there any other incompatabilities that I should be aware of before purchasing a mac? Thanks in advance for any help.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    karl kuehnkarl kuehn Posts: 756member
    That is a difficult question to ask because there are so many levels of service that those Windows server could be using/requiring. MacOS X speaks a lot of the Windows protocols. Ask them if Linux clients can connect (if so, then you definitely can connect).

    If they are setup as simple file-servers, then the answer is an equally simple yes.

    If they are using the Kerbros authentication method, then the answer is a qualified yes.

    If they are using active server profiles, then the answer is a maybe... depending on settings...

    And the whole "roaming profiles" thing is out, unless they install an AFP-capable server to share out the profiles for the MacOS X clients, and have the server tables in LDAP (not the default... but it should be). If it is not LDAP, then it is out (MS proprietary).

    Oh.. and then there is ADmitMac that allows for some of this.

    After that there are a lot of specific issues that might pop up (like specific software that might be required). I know that there are a few big online legal databases that are very limited on the number of browsers they support (like one: IE 6 on Windows).
  • Reply 2 of 5
    OK, well the guy in charge of IT at the school has informed me that the file services for Macintosh are not installed - although they are accessible using samba. I will, however, still be able to access the internet on their network with a mac. My new question is: will it be impossible for me to access shared student folders and files if services for mac isn't installed on these win2000/2003 servers - i was under the impression that win2000/2003 servers inherently supported cross-platform file sharing. Is the IT guy right on this topic? Thanks again for any help!
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Ok.. sounds like they are not using any of the advanced features possible with Win2K/XP/2003 servers... which is good news for you. All we are talking about then is simple file sharing.. and then the answer is s resounding yes!

    You should inform your tech support that MacOS X comes with SaMBa integrated into the OS, you can even browse to the shares in many cases (depending on how they have things configured).

    Best case: You connect to the network (ethernet/wiFi), open up the network browser, see the server, click on it, hit "connect" and fill in your user-name/password.

    Next-Best-Case: You have to actually have to manually enter in the connection information. You select the Finder, hit "Command-K" to "Connect to Server" and fill in "smb://server-name/share-point" where "server-name" is either the IP address or DNS name of the server and "share-point" is the name of the remote volume you are connecting to (they should have that information at the help desk... they might not realize it, but they have it). Then you click "add to list" and you have a permanent bookmark for this information. Or you connect once and then make an alias of the connection.

    Worst-Case: The help desk is clueless and they really do use ActiveDirectory.... see my prior post.

    Oh... and Microsoft has never made the Macintosh and Unix connection adapters part of the default install, after all, that would make non-windows systems "compatible" (definite no-no as far as Microsoft is concerned). In fact they are mostly excluded from MCNE exams, so many of the windows admins don't really know anything about them... *sigh*... but the Macintosh adapter was AppleTalk anyways, and thus very slow in comparison to AFP over IP that MacOS has used since 9.0.

    But you don't have to care because Apple has included SaMBa so that you can connect as if you were a Windows PC.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Thanks for all the help!
  • Reply 5 of 5
    randycat99randycat99 Posts: 1,919member
    Virtual PC to the rescue?
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