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The Macintosh Webmaster Forum

Can a Mac read a site burned on a PC formatted CD?
Website on CD

 9:03 pm on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

If I burn a copy of a website to CD on a PC, will a Mac be able to read the CD?

This may be a dumb question, but I don't know anthing about the filling system structure on Mac's.

Please don't shoot me for asking on this forum ..... lol




 9:24 pm on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

The issue is the formatting of the CD, not the files. I'm pretty sure that most Macs can read CD's burned in PC format (but certainly not the other way around). It's definitely the case for Mac users who run Virtual PC - a common self defense step for a MAc user in a Windows dominated world!

I'm moving this question to the Macintosh Forum - instead of shooting you ;) - because I'm sure you can get definitive answers there.


 9:31 pm on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Make sure you respect the 8:3 rule when naming your files. The numbers
relate the number of characters your file name should have.

i.e. If you named a page: portfolio.htm when you burn it on CD, your page will
be renamed: portfol~.htm or something like that, messing up all the linking.
Not sure about the extension though, you may be able to get away with 4 letters.


 9:40 pm on Aug 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

So basically you are saying that Mac's don't support long file names.



 2:56 am on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

Pre Mac OS X Macs support filenames up to 31 characters. Mac OS X supports up to 256...I think...Never wanted a filename that long, so I never ran out of room.

But, the problem fashezee was talking about has to do with the Windows format (Joliet, is it?) not compatible with Macs. There is a utility that will allow Macs to read that Windows format, yet it has to be installed before it can do so. (The Mac will be able to read just about any PC CD, but since all of the filenames will be different, the links will be broken.)

You may be able to burn the CD in another format that a Mac will not have trouble with...are there any formatting options in your CD burner software?


 11:22 am on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>I'm pretty sure that most Macs can read CD's burned in PC format (but certainly not the other way around).

tedster, it is true that Windows is not able to read Mac formatted disks. Nowadays, most Mac CD burning software will let you burn a hybrid CD that both Mac and Windows can read. This option is generally checked as default.

Both fashezee and bodine are correct. Macs support 31 caracters filenames since 1984, it supports up to 255 ones since Mac OS X. The problem is not that Macs does not support long filenames. The problem is its incompatibility with Joliet, which presents a mock filename to Windows users.

The current limits for filename length on the various file systems used by Macs and PCs are as follows:

FAT: 8 characters plus 3 characters (eg 'filename.ext')

VFAT: 255 characters plus 3 characters (eg 'longfilenamehere.ext')

NTFS: 255 characters plus essentially arbitrary number of characters so long as 255 characters (eg 'longfilenamehere.extension')

HFS: 31 characters with no extensions (eg 'longfilenamehere')

HFS+: 255 characters with no extensions (eg 'evenlongerfilenamehere')

First, Windows 95/98 and Windows NT/2000 appear to support long filenames on FAT volumes. They do this by using a short filename internally (in 8.3 format) and presenting the long filename, which is a mock filename stored within the file (Joliet). This longer string will get lost when the file is transported to another file system or accessed by any non-Windows OS, Unix included (as far as I know).

Second, Windows 95/98 and Windows NT require the entire pathname of the file on VFAT and NTFS file systems (ie the full path to the file such as 'c:\directory\other_directory\another_directory\filename.ext') to be no greater than 255 characters. So, for example, a file with a 252-character name can't be stored anywhere but in the root directory (c:\) on a Windows box.

Third, although HFS+ supports 255 character filenames and Mac OS 9.0.x's also support such long filenames, the Finder in the Mac OS that present files only support the presentation of 31 character filenames. Mac OS X supports file-names up to 255 characters long on both HFS+ and NFS file systems.

So you are left with 2 options :

As fashezee suggest : 8.3 filenames will get a you a site open to almost any computer platform. (wich is the best option, but requires some work)

Burn the CD with software that allows you a hybrid format. Most Mac users do this. There are cheap or free utilities that will let you do that on Windows. Try 'Hybrid CD burner' on your favorite search engine...

Further reading :


<edit>fixed language bloopers. Thanks tedster!</edit>

[edited by: Macguru at 11:16 am (utc) on Sep. 2, 2002]


 1:27 pm on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth, I found THIS [roxio.com] on Roxio'x website. HERE'S [uwec.edu] another link that might help.



 3:25 pm on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot guys very helpful info.

One other question:

Is .hqx an executable on a Mac like .exe is on a PC?


 3:58 pm on Sep 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

No, not exactly.

For Mac users, BinHex (.hqx) is the standard 7-bit encoded format because it preserves that Mac resource fork, as well as the data fork , throught most Internet gateways. Non text files (binaries) are usually 8 bits wide. It is some way to 'force' a wider (8 bits instead of 7 bits) encoding binary encryption allowing Mac files to carry all informations.

Most Mac users have Stuffit (some kind of zip program) that will handle compressed files (.hqx, .bin, .sea and .zip) to be downloaded and unstuffed (unzipped) and still carry 'hidden' informations. This utility was written by Raymond Lau when he was 16 and still licenced for free by Aladdin Software for both Mac and Windows.

If you recieve some 'filename.exe' as an attachement to an email from a Mac, most chances are it is actually some .sea (self extracting archive) made by Stuffit.

Mac cannot natively run .exe programs without Windows software emulation.

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