mac to pc and

I am entering a very busy time at my job. I’ll be in the building where I work all day, every day, from February until June 1. I’m talking about 17 hour days.

I have an Imac and a Dell laptop. I have a copy of a freeware called RoughDraft on the pc. (Thanks to suggestions I read on another thread on this forum.) I have Word on both computers, also.

I also have a lot of very sensitive data on my laptop. For this reason, I never take it into the building where I work. They have a…oh what do you call it?..a set-up where everybody in the building can go on the internet without plugging in anything. I’ve been told that this means they can also go onto my computer and see what I have there. So, I leave my laptop at my home office.

But…I want to use the laptop to work on my book during the lulls at work. So, I need to figure out a way to take it with me.

Now. My questions.

  1. How do I fix my laptop so it can’t be accessed by that internet set up they have at work?

  2. What is the best way for me to move files back and forth between the pc and the imac? I’ve thought about a thumb drive. I’ve also thought about emailing them from one computer to the other. Also, I have a subscription to .mac that I use for off-site backup of important files.

Would fixing the laptop so that it couldn’t be accessed by their internet thing at work make it impossible to use .mac and email?

As I’ve said before, I don’t understand these machines. I just use them.



Hi Rebecca.

I am a “network security” and systems guy. While I understand your concerns they are probably unfounded. What your office probably has is a firewall that will let them seem any sites that you visit on the network. This is not invasive to your system but could be invasive to your privacy.

They may also have a system scanning device that verifies the security of local machines. This device may look at files on any drive you have shared. Since sharing is what you would do to make your dell files accessible on the iMac you might be exposed there.

A slightly more significant issue that you might not have thought of is virus propagation. If someone has an infected system and your dell is not updated, or if the virus is unknown to AV providers you might get infected as well. Even in a large corporate environment with LOTS of protections and rules we deal with this every day.

Now to solving your problem :slight_smile:

Use the thumb drive. This is the method that I use for quick transfers. It has a few advantages. you can move files between unconnected systems. Leave your laptop at home and just take the thumb drive.
no additional exposure of data. Since you are not transferring the files of the network no one else can snoop that data.
easy backup. you can keep a working copy on the thumb drive and one on your laptop. then you will always have a “backup” copy at hand. Think of it as a small .mac account in your pocket.
it will work in any system. If you have your drive and a computer you can work.

Some problemsthumb drives are small. As in easy to lose. I have to remind my guys to keep track of them and if last let us know so we can change all the passwords.
limited size. Not so much an issues to day with the 4 and 8GB models, but there are limits to how much data they will hold.
Did I mention they are small? I buy them by the 5 pack because we lose them frequently. Put it on your keychain or ID badge (I require that now)

Hope that helps. If you want more info on the other methods available let me know. I just think that that thumb drive option would make you a little more comfortable (ease and security).

I second Jaysen, you likely have very little to worry about in terms of intrusiveness into your personal computer. However, some companies have policies regarding personal computers at the workplace and reserve the right to search them. For that reason I would encourage you to put anything truly sensitive on an encrypted disk image that requires a password and DOES NOT keep the password on your key chain.

Other precautions:

Require a password every time your machine wakes from sleep

Require a password every time your machine starts

Require a password every time your screen saver comes on and set the delay for the screen saver to something quite short (mine comes on in two minutes).

I also have a Quicksilver hotkey to immediately lock my screen.

I don’t think she’ll have to worry about having the password on her keychain. If I understand her post correctly, the laptop in question is a PC.

rebecca - if you’re really worried about someone accessing your laptop via a wireless connection, it’s possible to simply turn that connection off when you don’t need it. I’m not sure how to do it on a PC, though - maybe someone else does.

On a modern dell just slide the “wireless switch” (left side near the caps lock key is the normal location) to off. This disables the wireless hardware. Doing it in the OS is a little more difficult. Thing is it really doesn’t solve the scan issue as she will need to wire in to get the files transferred.

From the networks perspective (server, scanners, os, etc) there is no real difference between wired and wireless as the method used for communications is several layers above the physical layer (over simplified on purpose, a dissertation on 802.11 should get its own thread).

If the data security is the concern then leave the laptop at home and use removable media to transport the files. Keep in mind that the files will still be seen when read to the transported data would be viewable.

An axiom in my part of the world (computer world that is)

Are you saying that I can put the whole Scrivener complex of files that constitutes my book on a thumb drive and then plug the thumb drive into my work computer, work on it, save it to the thumb drive, go home, plug into the mac and move it over?

That sounds too neat.

Lessee…the Scrivener files are rtf, aren’t they? So, does that mean I could just work on them directly on the thumb drive, with no intermediary software like RoughDraft? Can I put RoughDraft on the thumb drive too? Do I need to do that? I know I’m asking dense questions. It’s just that I AM dense about this stuff.

Thanks for your help.


Are both systems Macs? If so the Yes, it is that easy. As a matter of fact you don’t even need to move the file (there are reasons you should, but it is not required. If not then not so easy. More on that later

While the data is rtf, the scriv fils are not intended to be used outside of scrivener. You would want to export the contents of your scriv file as rtf or word doc. Now the problem here is that there is a lot of importing and exporting. This is not tough, but if you are not comfortable with doing it it could be daunting at first. If you take your time the export/import will become easier and more comfortable the more you do it.

Not dense questions, just beginner questions. Here are the big points you should think about:

  1. Are both systems Macs? If so then this could be real easy. If not not so easy but not impossible
  2. When you are moving data, do you really need ALL the data from scriv or just a small amount? Smaller would be a little easier.
  3. Not really sure what three should be, but I am know there is one I am missing.
  4. Sorry about this one keith… if the machine you will be doing most of your work on is NOT a mac, are you sure that scriv is the right tool for you at this time? Sorry Keith.

Your welcome.

Another option - slightly more pricey than a thumbdrive :wink: - is to buy a used computer and only put on it what you need for your writing (assuming that doesn’t include the sensitive files).

I did this with an old iBook a couple of years ago and still use it when I go out to write in coffee houses or the library. I put Tiger on it and have Scrivener, WriteRoom, the standard apps that come with the OS, and that’s it.

I also make sure that I have to enter a password to log on and when it wakes up (as mentioned above). It does have an airport card in it so I can get on the internet if I want to, but most of the time I leave it off.

(And for the paranoid in me, I also usually back up to a thumbdrive, too.)

(I have just recently purchased an Asus Eee PC and put JDarkRoom on it, though that is more for first draft work like I do with my Neo rather than an indepth writing like I can do with the iBook.)

Will an ibook run Leopard?

Where would I find one?

I assume we’re talkiing about something inexpensive, say $300 or so?

I think this might actually be the simplest solution…if I can afford it!

Thanks again for your help.


An iBook will run Leopard as long as it’s a G4 processor and 867MHz or faster. Be careful when buying a secondhand laptop tho as batteries need replacing after 2 or 3 years - you may need to buy a new battery.

Scrivener also works on Tiger.

My iBook is an old one - 500Mhz - so it will only run Tiger (with RAM maxed out). However, Scrivener runs fine under Tiger, so it’s not a problem with me. I should mention, however, that I fully expect a number of programs to eventually move on from Tiger compatibility, but that hasn’t happened yet AND there’s no reason I can’t keep using the older version for as long as the iBook holds up.

Since I bought mine a few years ago, I did pay ~$300 for it. You should be able to get a good deal on a faster one these days. RTJK’s post has info to follow.

I would also strongly recommend that you wait until after next week. MacWorld is on then and new products are usually intro’d. After that, a lot of folks will be selling their old stock to get the new stuff, so prices should be pretty good for a relatively new machine.

As to the where - there are a number of used mac companies out there. A good place to start is:


Click on “Deals” in the bar at the top and it will take you to a list for a number of sites that sell used machines. If you’re wanting to sync over the 'net, make sure they come with an airport card or have wireless built in (depending on the model).

And, of course, there’s also ebay. Over the years, I’ve purchased a couple of used computers (a Wallstreet, and a Fujitsu Tablet PC) from venders on ebay. I tend to stick to the corporate resellers, but that’s just me. I haven’t bought anything there lately, though.

Two things I would recommend: get the latest model you can afford, and max out the RAM if you can. I’ve used for memory for a lot of our laptops (yes, I have too many :wink: ) and have always had good luck with them. (They have been recommended on this forum a number of times; I think it was a post by AmberV who first sent me there.)