MacDisk FAQ

Summary: FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on all aspects of data transfers and file exchanges between Mac and PC, using our MacDisk and other utilities. Explanation of some specific aspects of Macintosh files and how to cope with them.

Using the FAQ

The table of contents below contains links to the answers given. From each answer, there is a link back to the table of contents, allowing you to navigate and find the information you are looking for.
Back to Main FAQ Page.

Table of contents
2. How to change MacDisk language?
3. Why a difference between conversion and transfer?
4. Why does my file get a TXT extension on the PC?
5. What is the signature of Macintosh files?
6. Why can't a double click launch the correct application?
7. How to open a file with DDAPDDFL signature?
8. My master EPS file (in a DCS fileset) doesn't open
9. DCS files copied to the Macintosh medium appear as text files
10. MacDisk doesn't access normally to the floppy drive on some laptops
11. The destination program can't open the transferred file
12. What are HQX (BinHex) files?
13. I don't find the file copied to the PC
14. The computer hangs when accessing the Macintosh drive
15. What is the meaning of the error message "error 268"?
16. Error while loading the program with a message about "SHBrowseForFolderW"
17. Access to removable drives under Windows 2000 and higher
18. Missing SHFOLDER.DLL
19. How to open a Macintosh IDE hard disk on a PC?
20. Problems installing and using lsdiorw
21. Error about OLEAUT32.DLL when launching under Windows 95/98
22. MacDisk complains about the service Lsdiorw not being loaded or free (Windows XP SP2)

How to change MacDisk language? Back to ToC

Open the 'Options' menu. Select the Language/Langue item. Select the English language. This setting is saved in the Registry. That means that you'll only have to do it once.

Why a difference between conversion and transfer? Back to ToC

We call transfer the fact of bringing the raw file to the other platform. Our programs are transfer tools, i.e. utilities to manage foreign media on a PC computer. They don't change anything within the files.
On the other hand, conversion means transforming the contents of a file to allow another program to open it (e.g., conversion of a WordPerfect file to open it in Microsoft Word).
If you're transferring files between Word for the Macintosh and Word for Windows, for an example, you don't need any conversion. The word processor manages everything.
Anyway, we bundle our programs with a little conversion utility, which can be helpful, mostly with some Macintosh text formats. See our data sheet on MacText.

Why does my file get a TXT extension on the PC? Back to ToC

To compute the extension added to the name of a Macintosh file copied to the PC, our programs use a look-up table, that is a table whose entries are on the PC side an extension string and on the Macintosh side a signature string. For example, given the signature "MSWDWDBN" (signature of Word 4/5 for the Macintosh), our programs give the files you're copying a "DOC" extension.
When the program can't identify the signature in whole or in part, it uses the default "TXT" extension. This option can be canceled in the 'Preferences' item of the 'Options' menu of Macdisk.
To get a more useful result, for example, the "QXD" extension for a Macintosh QuarkXpress file (don't bother, this one is already in the table), you will have to edit the internal table of the program. You have to look at the signature of a known good file, on a Macintosh medium (look in the last column of the Display panel, or in the 'Properties' dialog box), and put it in the table with the correct PC extension using our SignEdit utility.
It is also possible that the signature file got corrupted or deleted or moved. Please check that the program points to the correct file in the registry. To do that, select the 'Registry' item in the 'Expert' menu and look at the contents of the key stored in the registry. Check that this file exists. You can also click on the 'Browse' button to search for this file. If the file was deleted, you can download a new copy from this site.
You can also consult our page on signatures for more information and for a list of the most commonly used signatures.

What is the signature of Macintosh files? Back to ToC

The Macintosh file system doesn't use extensions (as the "doc" part in "filename.doc") to identify the contents of data files, but signatures. The signature string is an 8 character string, that is 4 to define the file creator (the program or application creating or managing the data) and 4 to define the file type (the kind of data, like a text file, a tiff picture, etc.). For more information, please consult our page on signatures.

Why can't a double click launch the correct application? Back to ToC

You transferred a data file from one platform to the other, but a double click on the file icon doesn't launch the correct application. The causes can be different, depending on the target platform:

On the Macintosh

A double click doesn't launch the correct application, and you are asked whether you want to open the file in SimpleText. The cause may be that you don't have on this computer the program you need to open a precise data file, say Tiff files. The cause may also be that our programs don't know the MS-DOS extension of the source files and could only put a generic signature on the file (corresponding to a generic file icon [cornered paper sheet]). See our page on our utility SignEdit to see how to correct the behavior of our programs.

On the PC (under Windows 95/98/NT/2000)

You can almost get the same problems on the PC, even more if you asked Windows not to display the file extensions. If a double click on a file icon doesn't start the correct application, the extension is surely wrong (or you don't have the correct application). The extension can be wrong because our programs don't know the signature of the Macintosh file. In this case, you'll have to use our SignEdit utility to correct the behavior of our programs.

How to open a file with DDAPDDFL signature? Back to ToC

On the Macintosh, several programs exist to compress files. Some are well known and there are versions running also on the PC (StuffIt, ZipIt, etc.). See our page on Compressed Files for more information.
There are also schemes where the file is compressed by a kind of TSR (like DiskDoubler etc. on the PC). Those files have the signature DDAPDDFL. I don't know any way to uncompress them on the PC. You'll have to ask the sender to send you uncompressed files, or files compressed with other utilities (see above).

My master EPS file (in a DCS fileset) doesn't open Back to ToC

PhotoShop allows you to save a EPS CMYK-picture in DCS format. DCS stands for Desktop Color Separations. This fileset (5 files) contains a master EPS file, with a low-resolution preview picture and maybe also a clipping path, which is used to do the placement in PageMaker or in Xpress, and four color separation plates (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, whose files have the initial letter as extension). This method is interesting because the color separations compress well and because you manage lighter files in the layout.
The names of the color seps are stored in the master EPS file. When you transfer the fileset from the Macintosh to the PC (with our utility MacDisk, the filenames may change (for example, if the filename contains a "/" or some other illegal character). More, most programs used to transfer data between both platforms have features to add an extension according to the file signature. As the color seps are also EPS files, you get filenames like "file.y.eps". Therefore, we added to our programs a new file naming mode, which does nothing and keeps the filename used on the Macintosh. It remains that some characters can't be used on the PC. In this case, we have to do something to be able to create the file on the PC hard disk. Therafter, when you try to open the DCS fileset in PhotoShop, you get the error message:

Unable to open DCS color files

Obviously, you have to restore the linking between the files. One often recommended solution is to open all color separations in PhotoShop and to merge the channels. The problem is that you loose the contents of the master EPS file, which can contain clipping paths, etc.
Therefore, we had the idea to develop a little utility to edit/rebuild the links between the master EPS file and the files containing the color separations. This utility, named DCS-Edit, can be downloaded from this site. The program is very easy to use. Select the master EPS file (and the color seps if the program can't find them itself). You can then edit freely the filenames in the master file and the names of the files on the disk. Just save your changes before exiting. We would like to get your comments and observations on this utility.

DCS files copied to the Macintosh medium appear as text files Back to ToC

In your DCS fileset, the master file is correctly copied to the Macintosh medium with the EPSF signature (EPSF????), but the four channels appear with a TEXT???? signature (generic text signature). Those files are also EPS files, but their extension (file suffix) is not recognized in the signature file.
The solution is to insert four new items in the signature file:

C,EPSF????,DCS - Cyan Channel
M,EPSF????,DCS - Magenta Channel
Y,EPSF????,DCS - Yellow Channel
K,EPSF????,DCS - Black Channel

You can cut and paste those lines in the signature files, or enter corresponding entries in SignEdit 32.

MacDisk doesn't access normally to the floppy drive on some laptops
(Compaq Armada, Olivetti ECHOS)
Back to ToC

MacDisk correctly lists the floppy drive on those computers, but the hardware access is very long (typically 5 to 10 s) and doesn't yields anything (Typical message: "The drive is empty or not ready"). The floppy drive controller of this model family is not a standard controller, but a multibay device controller (you can also mount a battery pack in this slot).
The driver (HSFLOP.PDR) doesn't bear the same date as the other files of the IOSUBSYS subfolder. If you want to be sure, go into this subfolder and right-click on the file, then choose Properties and the Version tab. You should find an item labelled "ItemName" whose value is "QFE" (Quick Fix Engineering). Please note that this problem only occurs with Windows 95 OSR 2. It was cured with Windows 98.
The only cure is to upgrade to Windows 98 or NT, if the hardware configurations allows it.

The destination program can't open the transferred file Back to ToC

You transferred a Macintosh file to the PC and our program gave it a non-ambiguous extension (like XLS), but the program (Excel in this case) refuses to open the file, claiming that the format is not correct. We observed several times that Macintosh programs could perfectly open, modify, print and save files with a MacBinary header, for an example files sent through a modem or the like (Macintosh communication software often defaults to the MacBinary mode). That way, the presence of the header remains transparent on the Macintosh, and users often aren't aware of this.
When such files are transferred to the PC, our program gives them a correct extension, but the destination program refuses to open the files, saying that the format is incorrect, because of the presence of this header at the beginning of the file.
One solution is to use a little utility we developped, called MacBinary, to correct (that is strip) the header. The program proposes to options: adding a header and stripping it. The program tries to be prudent while checking the presence of the header, but you surely should work on a copy of the file...

What are HQX (BinHex) files? Back to ToC

You got a file with the suffix HQX or containing the string (This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0) in the first line. The Binhex format is a kind of encoding standard (like uuencode, mime, etc.) used frequently to send Macintosh files on the Net. See our page on the Binhex coding standard for more informations and for an utility to decode the files.

I can't find the file copied to the PC Back to ToC

You selected a file on the Macintosh medium and instructed the program to copy it onto the PC hard disk. But, in the Explorer, the file is not there. You even checked with the File Search function.
We have discovered this behavior quite recently. The explanation is a badly set registry key, that the program should double check. This will be corrected in the next version (6).
In the mean time, the solution is to open the registry and to put a zero in the key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\LS_Duhem\program_name\Options". If you don't feel secured when fiddling with the Registry, you can delete the whole LS_Duhem key. Our programs rebuild their keys when they don't find them in the Registry.

The computer hangs when accessing the Macintosh drive Back to ToC

One user found that, when using Norton Anti-Virus program configured for automatic protection, our programs hang the computer at the first attempt to access the Macintosh drive. This behavior only exists with version 4 of Norton AV and with the "automatic protection" feature.
Our programs behave normally with Norton version 5, running with all possible settings.

The program doesn't access the NTFS disk under SFM Back to ToC

MacDisk doesn't access a NTFS drive handled by SFM, or doesn't display the files like Macintosh files. To access Macintosh files stored on a NTFS server running SFM, the program must use functions which are not implemented under Windows 95/98. The workstation running MacDisk must therefore run under Windows NT/2000 to use those functions.

What is the meaning of the error message "error 268"? Back to ToC

This error message is in fact a message from Windows 95/98. This means an error accessing the floppy drive. Th explanation is that you tried to read a Macintosh DD (Double Density) floppy disk (capacity: 400 or 800 KB). Sadly, it's strictly impossible to read such disks on a PC, because of the way the disk is formatted and registered. The only possibility is to copy the files back to the Macintosh hard disk, then again to a HD (High Density) floppy disk.
If the diskettes are physically High density disks (letters HD on the right of the sliding piece of metal or plastic), it is nevertheless possible that they were formatted on a very old Macintosh (before the SE 30 and II CI models).
In this case, to be able to read them on a newer Macintosh computer, you'll have to hide the second hole (the one without the read protection sliding piece) with a piece of opaque adhesive.

Error while loading the program with a message about "SHBrowseForFolderW" Back to ToC

This error message only happens on a computer running under Windows 95 as released in 1995 (version 4.00 of the DLL shell32.dll). This can be the case if you reformatted your hard disk and reinstalled Windows 95 from scratch. Even the installation of Internet Explorer 3.0 or later updates the DLL to version 4.70 and solves the problem.
The problem doesn't exist under Windows 98, Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4 (even with version 4.00 of the DLL shell32.dll in this later case).
If you don't intend to install any version of Microsoft Internet Explorer on your computer, ask for a corrected version of the package. If you encountered the problem with a demo (trial) version, please download the program again. All versions were updated on 07/12/2000.

Access to removable drives under Windows 2000 Back to ToC

Under Windows 2000, the method to access drives connected to the parallel port and to the USB bus has changed. We had to write a new set of functions to access those drives. Those functions are implemented in the version 5.3 and higher.

Missing SHFOLDER.DLL Back to ToC

MacDisk and MacImage use some functions exported by shfolder.dll. This DLL is normally installed under Windows from Windows 95 OSR 2 and from Windows 4. If you get an error message about this missing DLL, please download it and put it in the Windows/System folder.

How to open a Macintosh IDE hard disk on a PC? Back to ToC

For a long time, Macintosh computers only used SCSI hard disks. Nowadays, they also use IDE models.
MacDisk cannot access such drives under Windows 95/98/ME. On the other hand, it perfectly opens them under Windows NT/2000/XP.
If you don't see in the Drive Selection dialog box a drive which is correctly recognized by the BIOS, please check that this drive is not blacklisted (see this function in the 'Expert' menu).

Problems installing and using lsdiorw Back to ToC

Under Windows 2000 and XP, we use a service called lsdiorw, which calls IOCTL and SPTI functions. This service runs under the local system account and can do low-level access to all drives, even from a plain user account. See the admin.txt file in the installation folder for more information on security aspects.
This service must be installed from an administrator account. The installation is done by the installer, called instserv.exe, stored in the lsdiorw subfolder. Uninstalling the service is done by uninstallserv.exe, stored in the same folder.
If you get an error message about lsdiorw, first check that the service is installed and started. Go to Start, Parameters, Control Panel, Administrative Tools and Services. In this console, look at the line lsdiorw. If the service is not started, you can start it in the context-sensitive menu (right click). This will fail if you are a plain user.
If you want to download a fresh copy of the service and the installation routines, go to the Downloading Page.

Error about OLEAUT32.DLL when launching under Windows 95/98 Back to ToC

When launching MacDisk under Windows 95 or Windows 98, you get an error message stating that MacDisk "is linked to the missing export OLEAUT32.DLL:VarNot".
This error happens on computers running Windows 95/98 without the latest DCOM updates.
To solve it, you'll have to update the DCOM software, using one of following links:
Link for Windows 98
Link for Windows 95.
The updater for Windows 95 is also present on the distribution CD-ROM, in a folder labelled DCOM. The updater for Windows 98 is not a freely redistributable component, and we could not include it on the CD-ROM.

MacDisk complains about the service Lsdiorw not being loaded or free (Windows XP and higher) Back to ToC

The service lsdiorw offers three slots for connexions by user programs. I you hang Macdisk three times, there is no free slot anymore. You'llhave to restart the computer or to uninstall/reinstall the service using the graphical installer.
See the text on this installer on the page about the service Lsdiorw.

  Back to ToC

Pierre Duhem (ex-Logiciels & Services Duhem)
3, rue Pierre Haret - F-75009 Paris (France) - Tel. (+33) [0]149 700 455