Macintosh Files in a Windows World: MacOpener 2.0

macopener20-1Prior to the turn of the century, it was generally considered an outright nuisance sharing files between Macintosh systems and well everything else. Apple provided Apple File Exchange and later PC Exchange in the early 1990s, system utilities that allowed PC-formatted floppy disks to be used initially with System 7.0. Whilst having the annoying habit of creating hidden files, it was good enough for moving around Office documents and JPEG images between platforms.

Users of DOS, Windows, and OS/2 were left neglected in the ability to read Macintosh-formatted disks, and consequently if you were frequently moving across files between platforms it was best to leave them formatted for PC. If you were determined to read Macintosh disks directly on your PC, you were left with no choice but to purchase a third-party utility. Whilst not the only option, this is where MacOpener comes into play.

Developed by DataViz, this was their lower price offering compared to their Conversions Plus product. In a nutshell, MacOpener allows viewing and transferring files across, though unlike Conversions Plus it does not have the ability to translate files. This means if you were to have a ClarisWorks document, having the ability to change it over to a Microsoft Word document with the formatting and contents mostly intact.


MacOpener 2.0 installation.

Installation is short, though you are prompted more than usual. Version 2.0’s main benefits over the original was its virtual device driver, an optional component that allows Macintosh files to be seen via standard file management programs such as File Manager for a more seamless experience. Windows 95 and NT were also supported, and provided you used the 32-bit version allowed to see the full Macintosh file name. Under Windows 3.1, these are truncated to the usual 8-character length. The File Navigator program is still required for formatting floppy disks however, or alternatively in DOS you may use FORMATM.EXE.


MacOpener’s device driver (MO.SYS) as loaded in DOS.

File Navigator itself is relatively simple, with source and destination of files on either side of the window. The main areas of interest will be from the Disk and Options menus. From the Disk menu, you have the options to utilise SCSI devices and formatting a 1.44 MB floppy disk in the Macintosh format. Under Options you may determine the copying method of data and map Macintosh files to a PC file extension.

Whilst not a comprehensive program, it suffices to at least retrieve files images and documents saved on a Macintosh. Without the fully fledged Conversions Plus however, in an ideal situation it would be best to have the same software to reduce formatting issues.

macopener20-iconDownload MacOpener 2.0 for Windows 3.1 & 95 (1.7 MB)

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