Vincent Laforet’s Blog

Tech Tip V
August 27, 2008, 6:28 am
Filed under: Tech Tips

Tech Tips are back – now that I’m back out of the Olympic Bubble…

Here’s a simple one that most of you likely know – but for those who don’t – it’s so essential that I have to go over it.

When you get back from an assignment and want to copy files from your laptop over to your desktop machine or server – simply restart your laptop and hold down the “T” key on your keyboard.

This will start your laptop in Targe Disk Mode (or any Apple machine btw- this is a great way to get files back and forth or to “diagnose” certain things.)   Meaning your hard drive(s) from that machine will simply mount on the desktop of the host machine as regular hard drives.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to get files on and off any machine – especially if you use Firewire 800 cords.  (Firewire 400 cords are half as fast.)  You’ll see the icon you see at the start of this blog post on the screen of your laptop or other machine – once it’s entered Targe Disk Mode.  Simply plug the firewire cord from one machine to the other – and voila – your drive(s) appear on the host machine.  You’re good to go as far as copying anything off of, or on to – that machine.

Once you’re done copying, unmount the laptop or machine from the host computer by dragging the icon of that hard drive to the trash (or pressing the Apple + E Keys) and restart your original machine that is in target disk mode (hold down the Control + Apple (Command) + Power button for a quick sec.)

Here’s another tip: If you don’t want to reboot your machine you have two other options.

1.  Launch iChat on both machines – they have to be on the same WIFI or LAN (Ethernet) network.  Press the Apple (command) + 2  key combination – this will launch the Bonjour window.   You should see the other machine pop up (you need to launch iChat and open the Bonjour window up on it as well!)   iChat will also ask you to enable “bonjour” if it’s not already enabled.  Simply drag a file, or folder onto that computer’s name that pops up in the Bonjour window,  and the files should transfer instantly.  Not as fast as firewire – but works great nonetheless – and with both Tiger and Leopard.

2. If you have Leopard installed – make sure you have “File Sharing” enabled in your System Preferences – in the Sharing settings.  When you then open up your hard drive – you should see all of the other machines that are being “shared” over your WIFI or LAN network, (this works as well as by using an ethernet cord to plug the two machines into one another.)  You are automatically logged in as a “guest” and get access only to that folder (or the folder(s) you specify back in that sharing window) – alternatively, you can actually log on as the full user – and access the entire contents of the other computer.  This too is an incredibly useful and quick way to share things.   You can also do this in Tiger of course – by mounting the hard drive by pressing Apple (Command) + K – and entering it’s IP address.  (That’s slightly  but you’ll easily find examples on the web.)

3. Of course – USB keys always work as well – but they’re much slower…

There are also some cool third party utilities that have drag and drop interfaces to get files from one computer to another – very very simply.  The tricks above are more than simple enough for me – so I really haven’t looked into them – anyone have a favorite to share?


3 Comments so far
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Hi Vincent, another way to transfer files between modern macs: FireWire filesharing. You can get almost the same speed of file transfer without going to “target disk mode.” Just set your desktop computer to share the internet via FireWire (System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing > To computers using: FireWire). No reboot required. Plug your laptop into the desktop FireWire like you would for target disk mode. I usually turn off AirPort on my laptop (System Preferences > Network > AirPort > Turn Airport Off) just to make sure it uses the FireWire network.

At this point your laptop and desktop should see each other as Bonjour devices on the local network. Just mount one from the other and move files. They should move pretty darn fast.

This may seem like more of a bother than target disk mode, but the elimination of two reboots really does speed things along. Once you get used to it, changing the settings does not take long. Plus, if you like, you can leave the desktop sharing via FireWire even when the laptop is not present.

Beautiful work at the Olympics, by the way. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with the weeding!

Comment by Eric

Eric – sure – I’ve had nothing but problems doing it this way but I’ll give it another go – cheers – Vince

Comment by Vincent Laforet

thank you for the tips and congratulations on the Beijing photos! I had a kick going thru the blog post everyday.
Anyway, about this tech tip.. I was thinking, why not use the gigabit network port on the macbookpro connecting it the the network/mac pro?

Thank you,

Comment by Luis

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