Connecting two Macs

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Jun 2, 2003
I'd like to connect my old and new Mac to allow exchanging files easily. Currently I take the "primary Mac" that's connected to the internet offline by unplugging the ethernet wire and then plug this wire into the "secondary" Mac to allow file transfer.

Is there a way to connect the two computers without disconnecting the "primary" Mac from the internet? My pet hamster, who knows more about computers than I do, claims the Mac that is not connected to the internet will attempt to go online and likely find a way once it's connected to the other Mac that is online.

What are my best options? "Help me, Obi Mac Kenobi, you are my only hope!"
Japanese woman? Her thoughts on the issue weren't exactly encouraging. She said my suggestion of using a hub and firewire probably wouldn't work.

PS: bugbear alert:

it's = contraction of "it is"
its = possessive pronoun


[ August 01, 2006, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: moribundman ]
I edited the bugbear part in, because I didn't necessarily want to come across as what I came across after all anyway.

PS: The verb is "to edit," while "editing" is the verb's gerund.
Is there any Mac-literate in the house? If you give me good advice, I'll overlook any typos on these boards for a whole week!
Not sure if this applies to Macs, but you can try connecting the two computers via eithernet to a switch, then have your cable/DSL modem connected to the "WAN" or "Uplink" port on the switch.
If you can tell me what this type switch with ethernet ports is called, then that will help me investigating your proposal.
Back then I used to connect my iBook to my Performa using a crossover network cable. This was before I had DSL broadband. The only way I could think of is getting router so both computers are networked and share files, internet, printers, etc. You could get a wireless or non-wireless router. Not sure about using a usb cable or firewire, google it or I'll post back if I find something.

For now I think the best option in my opinion is to buy a wireless or non-wireless router. Its not that expensive.
Try a 5-port Ethernet Switch w/Uplink. But given how common Wireless Routers are (most have a built-in switch), it is a more practical choice to pay a bit more for the built-in wireless capability as it may become useful in the future, shall you purchase a laptop.

This is the concept that I'm referring to:

Here's a Wireless Router/Switch that is currently onsale at Fry's for $25:

I'm Mac ignorant and illiterate, so I cannot help you with the finer details, but I'm sure there are many Mac friendly forums that could help.
You need a router or a second ethernet card on the primary MAC. A switch is going to tick off the Internet provider because it is going to allow the other MAC to request an IP address and most won't allow this. You can get a router for less than $30. The other option is to install a second ethernet card in the "primary" MAC and use it to connect to the second computer with a crossover cable and use the main ethernet card to connect to the internet modem. Makes the most sense to get a router. That way both can access the internet or each other for file sharing.
Okay, guys, thanks for the tips, which are a good starting points. I'll check my options out.
tmorris1, if I understand you correctly, a router will allow either one of the two Macs to go online (not at the same time of course), which will not be an issue with my provider? Sounds perfect.
Both can be online at the same time, but the provider probably wants to sell you their networking services as well.
I don't think earthlink allows me to have two computers online at the same time. That was my main issue from the beginning in regard to connecting the two computers with one being online. I do not want both online at the same time.
The old Macs didn't take ethernet cards, it is on the mother board. Big advantage of a router over a switch or hub is having everything online at once. I have an old Power mac, this AK6 Linux box, and a Cisco ATA 186 connected to the router. When my daughter and SIL come, he plugs his wireless router into the fourth port of my router and we have all 5 on line at once sometimes. Been this way for 3 years. Bright House has never complained. I forgot to celebrate last month, 3 years freedom from my local excuse of a phone company.
If your Mac is like my old 1ghz PowerBook, the 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) network connection is auto-sensing...thus you don't need a switch nor a crossover cable.

You will have to manually assign IP addresses on those machines to facilitate network communications between them.

How's my spelling so far?
Mori, A router is the way to go. Your service provider will only see the router, and all equipment attached to the router will be hidden from from the link. Make sure that the router has the same type of service port that your modem/link adaptor has. IE: Lan, USB, FireWire,??
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