Walt Mossberg

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Moving a 25 GB File From a Mac to a PC

(See updated item below and Corrections & Amplifications note at the end.)

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about moving a 25 gigabyte file from a Mac to a PC, switching the iPhone to horizontal mode, and enlarging font size.


How can I move a 25 gigabyte file from a Mac to a PC?

If the two computers are on the same network, you could simply transfer the file over the network. Or, you could establish an ad hoc network using what’s called a “crossover” network cable, though that might require some technical expertise. You might also try uploading the file from the Mac to one of the online backup-and-storage services and then downloading it to the PC. For instance, a service called MediaMax, at mediamax.com, offers 25 gigabytes of storage free, and claims to work with both Macs and PCs.

For the best combination of simplicity and speed, I suggest you purchase an external USB hard drive, formatted for Windows. The Mac should be able to instantly recognize it, since Macs can read Windows disks and can write to them as well, as long as they use a standard Windows format called FAT. You would just plug the drive into the Mac, copy the file to it, then remove it from the Mac, plug it into the PC and copy the file from the external drive to the PC’s internal hard disk. Update: Due to technical limitations, you can’t copy a file larger than four gigabytes in size to a disk drive formatted using the FAT file system.

A 30-gigabyte or larger Apple iPod can also be used as an external hard disk and thus would do the trick — provided it is formatted for Windows, is set to work in disk mode, and has enough room to hold the file.

Is it possible to switch the iPhone into horizontal mode when typing emails, which would allow for wider spacing on the onscreen keyboard when typing, thus helping to eliminate typing errors?

No. While the iPhone’s Web browser, built-in iPod and photo program can operate in landscape, or horizontal, mode, its email program works only in vertical, or portrait, mode. However, in my daily experience with the iPhone, I have actually found the horizontal version of the keyboard (which appears in the browser) clumsier to use than the narrower vertical version.

My grandmother, age 85, recently stopped our weekly emails and when I asked why, she said the 14″ screen has become difficult to use. I considered a 20″ LCD, but the bigger screens seem to shrink the font, and the Magnifier option under Accessibility isn’t agreeable to her. What other options are there?

I assume from your question that she is running Windows XP. If so, you can enlarge the fonts she uses in several ways, to offset the shrinkage you noted on the higher-resolution monitor. First, in Windows itself, go to the Display control panel, click on the Appearance tab, and in the Font Size menu, select “Extra Large Fonts.”

Most email programs and Web browsers also offer options to enlarge the size of text. For instance, in Outlook Express, go to Tools, then Options, then click on the Read tab and the Fonts button. Change the Font Size setting to “largest.” In the Compose tab, click the “Font Settings” button and select a large font size. While reading an email, she can increase the font size by clicking on the View menu, selecting “Text Size,” and then selecting “Largest.” There is a similar “Text Size” setting in Internet Explorer, under either the View or Page menu, depending on which version she is using.

Finally, if she is reading her email inside Internet Explorer, you might try a very good $25 utility called WebEyes, which enlarges the type on any Web page. I tested it in 2004 and liked it (Read the review). You can get it at www.ionwebeyes.com.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online free of charge at the new All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at mossberg@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications:

Due to technical limitations, an individual can’t copy a file larger than four gigabytes in size to a disk drive formatted using the Windows file system called FAT. A previous version of this column incorrectly advised that a 25-gigabyte file could be copied to such a disk drive.


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