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Monday, December 23, 2013

Integrating a Brand New Mac with 10.9 with an old Windows XP computer-It can be done with the Wormhole Switch

You’ve heard all the reasons for dumping Windows XP. Microsoft won’t support it after March 2014. Virus developers will try to exploit its vulnerabilities. It doesn’t support new technologies, like Thunderbolt and USB 3.0. It won’t support new software. And so on and so forth.

I thought about this and then I came up with reasons you might want to keep Windows XP on hand.

No, it won’t support the new hardware. Windows XP, however, supports several olderˆtechnologies, such as using the parallel port (remember that?) as an input for scanners and ZIP & SyQuest drives. You might have a serious investment in peripherals using the RS-232 serial port, such as computerized sewing machines. Sewing the sails for racing yachts. You’ve spent a lot of money on this stuff and expect to get many more years of service out of them before you have to scrap them.

Then the questions about software arise. You may use software.that runs fine on Windows XP, but will not run on Windows 7 or 8 no matter what you do. This is the software that connects to the above mentioned computerized sewing machines connected by serial cables.  As for replacing the payroll software, hey, it works. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” comes to mind on these occasions. 

You’d like to connect a brand new Mac to the old warhorse XP machine, but how to do it without making the XP machine more vulnerable to malware?  How can I share text and graphics between the two machines? And you’d like to keep what remains of your sanity and not fuss with exotic configuration files.

I believe I have found the answer in the JUC400 Wormhole Switch. I have successfully configured it to work with a 2003 vintage Windows XP machine and my Mac Mini running 10.9.1. I have exchanged text and graphics via a shared clipboard and can drag files from one desktop to another. I did this over a USB 2.0 connection without a connection to the Internet. 

The device cost me $39.95 at Fry’s Electronics, but you can get it at a better price now at Amazon, Tiger Direct, NewEgg, and B&H Photo

Installation Problems and How I overcame them

So I set up my vintage Windows XP box with an appropriate 15” CRT VGA monitor to the immediate left of my Mac Mini and 23” Samsung monitor


Windows XP and Mac Mini side by side

I had previously used my Wormhole Switch with my Windows 7 box, which caused problems downgrading to a Windows XP machine. I resolved this problem by running the installation program for the latest driver. They had these programs for both Windows and Mac, but you only need to run one. The program upgrades the program held in flash memory in the housing. Just follow the on-screen directions.

I plugged one end into the XP box and the other end into a USB hub with my Mac Mini. It took a while, but finally everything synced up and I could move my cursor from one screen to another with both the Windows mouse and the Mac’s Magic Trackpad. I exchanged text and graphics clips via the clipboard and dragged files back and forth. You might want to keep an Ethernet connection between the two machines if you need a volume of files and folders between them.  

Configuration of the Wormhole Switch

Once the connection between Windows XP and OS X 10.9 occurs, you only need to select which side the other machines lies on. 


This is the Mac side. You click on the Wormhole icon to make it the foreground app. Then click on the left-most menu “Wormhole Switch” and set the position of the Windows PC.


Mac preferences

This is the Windows XP preferences. You right-click on the Wormhole icon in the System Tray. Again you set the position of the other computer.

Windows Preferences


As you can see from the screenshots, you have more options you can set. You can choose to automatically go between desktops by moving your mouse to the edge of the screen or by setting a hot key. 


For $40 or less, the JUC-400 Wormhole Switch provides a cross-platform melding of keyboard, pointing device, clipboards, and even the ability to drag a few files from desktop to desktop. It requires minimal configuration and no editing of configuration files (I’m looking at you Synergy) You may need to upgrade the programs stored in flash memory in the cable housing, but that’s a simple process. 

It would be nice if it offered cross-plateform audio, too, but that’s a minor quibble. 

If you need to integrate an older Windows XP machine (and its older user, too) with a brand new Mac running 10.9.1; then the JUC-400 Wormhole Switch provides an answer.

Note: When ordering make sure you get the JUC-400 cable and not another Wormhole switch. j5create makes several of these, some intended for Windows only and some for Windows and Android systems.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog









1 comment:

  1. It worked for me but.. Microsoft has announced the end of support for Windows XP from April 2014.. and now i am looking to switch to shared hosted desktop VDI... will i'll be able to integrate in the same way after switching?




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