Macs can handle Windows disks

Help Line

August 14, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

At our family reunion we exchanged many old family photos, which I scanned into my computer and planned to copy onto 3.5-inch disks for each member. Some of my family members have Macs. Can they use the same disks as my Dell with Microsoft programs?

The answer is a blissful yes. Almost all Macs in service can read Windows-formatted disks. So all you have to do is save those pictures as JPEG format files on that Dell and pass them out to your Mac relatives.

You should know, however, that this is a one-way street, because Microsoft has never deigned to reciprocate by building Mac compatibility into its floppy disk formats.

I recently purchased a new PC, which is running Windows 98, to replace an older PC, which is running Windows 95. I'm wondering if there is a "simple" way to transfer files from the 95 PC to the 98.

If both are connected to the Internet, you can accomplish large file transfers using one of the many Web-based file backup/storage/sharing sites like

This service creates secure personal storage space on the sponsor's servers that allows users to store up to 20 megabytes for free. Just fire up that 95 machine and upload from it. Then fire up the 98, go to the same site and download your stuff.

There are many ways to move files between PCs, but this is the easiest by far.

I ask my friends if they have MIME messages attached to their America Online e-mail and they look at me as if I am weird. I got a download from AOL to translate these strange files, but that software was so complicated I couldn't do it.

Why do I get MIME messages, and what is the best way to handle them?

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, or MIME files, normally get translated automatically by the America Online software, but as you have experienced, sometimes pictures turn up in AOL e-mail as untranslated garbage with a .mim extension.

To create the silk purse of a computer picture out of the sow's ear of those .mim files, I use WinZip 8.0, which you can find at and order by phone for $30.

I would add, however, that you should try downloading an evaluation copy of WinZip, which you also can do from that Web site.

Your recent column was right on the button. I needed info regarding Spanish-language accents. Although I can obtain a desired character from Windows Character Map and paste it into my text, I am unable to obtain anything when using Alt+0191, or other numbers. What's up?

I forgot to add something to that item explaining how to create characters in languages other than English - like Spanish, French and algebra.

You must use the numeric keypad on the right-hand side of your keyboard instead of the numbers along the top of the keys to make those Alt + number settings work.

To recap: You find the Character Map by clicking on Start, then Programs, then Accessories and System Tools.

Once there, you can select the accent desired and paste it into your document.

You also will be given an Alt + code to use with the numeric keypad to get that same character in the future without calling up the Character Map.

Send e-mail to jcoates@

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