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Networking RISC OS Computers to Windows95/98

Article by Paul Vigay

I have set this page up as a simple set of instructions to help people link their Acorn machines via an Ethernet card to a PC running Windows95 or 98 and be able to access PC files from the Acorn using !Omniclient, which was supplied on Acorn's !Browse and !Java CDs.

I haven't really experimented that much (mainly because I tend to use Wintel machines as little as possible) so the instructions provided here are pretty much an exact account of how I setup my machines here, and may not necessarily work if you change too many settings. However, I have tried to give additional instructions and comments were suitable, and you are more then welcome to email me in the case of specific difficulties and I will try to help wherever possible.

Information available on this page;
  · Configuring Windows95/98 TCP/IP stuff
  · Sharing stuff on the PC drives
  · Running OmniClient to access the PC
  · Printing to a Shared Printer on the PC
  · Encountering Timeout problems with linking OmniClient to Windows NT Servers
  · Other Links

Starting off
In order to try to stem the migration of schools from Acorn computers to inferior PC computers, I am prepared to offer free Acorn networking advice and support to any Schools using Acorn equipment. I do not give PC support.

These instructions assume that you have installed the latest Acorn !Boot sequence onto the Acorn machines and have installed the relevant network card driver software onto the PC. The latest Acorn !Boot sequence (the one with the various ROxxxHook directories in it) does work on pre-Risc PC machines, so let me know if you have difficulties installing on A5000 or Ax00/1 machines.

Configuring the Acorn TCP/IP stuff
Configure the RISC OS machines via my RISC OS TCP/IP configuration page.

We will now look at configuring Windows95/98 so that we can talk to it and access shared files on the PC drive. After that we will then return to the Acorn to setup and configure !Omniclient to talk to the PC.

Configuring the Windows95/98 TCP/IP stuff
I'm assuming here that you've correctly installed your network card from a hardware point of view. The following instructions will refer to setting up Windows95/98 for communication between other PCs or Acorn machines on your local network.

1. Turn on the PC and wait for it to load up Windows.
2. Double-click on "My Computer" or click on the "Start" icon and go to the Settings submenu.
3. Double-click on Control Panel.
4. Double-click on Network. This will open the Network window containing a number of configurable options. Initially you should see a list of installed network components.
5. Make sure your ethernet card is listed, adding it if isn't.
6. Move down to TCP/IP -> xxx Ethernet Adapter, where xxx is the name of your ethernet card. Mine appears as "RTPI PCI". If this component is not listed you will need to add it by clicking on the Add icon below the list.
7. Once you've found the TCP/IP to Ethernet Adapter component, double-click on it. This will open a rather complicated looking TCP/IP Properties window containing a number of options. The default screen should display IP addresses.
8. Make sure the Specify an IP address icon is selected and enter a unique IP address.
My PC is called 'Voldemort' and I've defined an IP address of, which is what I entered into the IP Address box.
9. Enter in the 'Subnet Mask' box. This is the same as the Netmask
10. Now click on the WINS Configuration tab at the top of the window and ensure that the WINS Resolution is disabled.
11. Click on the Gateway tab and make sure all the boxes are empty.
12. Click on the DNS Configuration tab and make sure it's disabled.
13. Click on the NetBIOS tab and it should all be greyed out.
14. Click on the Advanced tab and the only property listed should be none.
15. Click on the Bindings tab and check which options are ticked. On my machine I have three options listed - all ticked; Client for Microsoft Networks, File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks and Microsoft Family Logon.
16. Now click OK at the bottom of the TCP/IP Properties window as your TCP/IP settings are now configured.
17. Click the Identification tab at the top of the Network window. This will open your computer identification details.
18. In the Computer name box, enter the name you want your computer known as; Voldemort in my case (see step 8).
19. In the Workgroup box you can enter the name of the workgroup your PC is attached to. If you only have one PC, you can enter anything in here because the Acorn doesn't care about this. It's more designed for WindowsNT and Microsoft networking. On my PC, I entered "Pauls".
20. And again, in the Computer Description you can enter what you like. Mine says "Pauls PC" - mainly because I couldn't think of anything witty at the time!
21. Now click on the Access Control tab at the top of the window.
22. Make sure the Share-level access control setting is ticked.
23. You can now click on OK at the bottom of the Network configuration window which will activate all the parameters you've entered. Of course, being Windows, it will want to reset the machine. Do so now, and when the machine boots back into Windows it should be all ready to talk to your Acorn machine.

Sharing stuff on the PC drives
Before you can load !OmniClient on the Acorn you need some files or directories to access on the PC, because by default none of the directories are shared. !OmniClient will only look at remote resources that have been shared, so we might as well do this now before we load up !OmniClient.

Although you can share files or directories, I think it is easier to just share directories. After all, if you share a 'temp' directory then any files within it automatically inherit the same share settings as the parent directory.

1. This is actually dead simple. Just click on a file or directory in your file explorer window and click the right hand mouse button. A menu should open giving you various options. One of them should be Sharing.... Click on it.
2. You now have two sharing options; either to cancel a share (if it's already been shared) or to share this file or directory. Click on Shared As.
3. You now need to supply a name for the Share. I tend to just enter the same name as the original file or directory. This tends to simplify matters and save confusion over conflicting names etc.
4. You can enter a comment if you like, but as it's optional I usually leave it blank.
5. Now set the Access Type by clicking on the relevant icon. They should be self-explanatory. Full control will allow you to do anything; delete, rename, read, write etc. to the file.
6. You can set a password if you like, but as it's a home network I tend not to set passwords. This is only really useful if you are letting other people access your shared resources.
7. Click OK to activate the sharing settings. You should find that your file/directory now has a little hand icon on it. This is Windows' way of saying that the object is shared.

Running OmniClient to access the PC
To access the various files or directories that you shared on the PC you will need to be running OmniClient on the Acorn. OmniClient was provided by Acorn on the Browse or Java CDs produced by Acorn (inside the $.DISTRIB.NET.Network directory). If you don't have either of these CDs you will need to buy OmniClient seperately. In either case, consult your local Acorn dealer.

1. If this is the first time you've installed Omniclient, firstly double-click on !OmniSetup.
2. You should ensure that two filing systems are installed (ie. ticked). These are Lan Manager (Windows) and Acorn Access. When selecting Lan Manager (Windows) also ensure that the transport mechanism is set to TCP/IP rather than NetBEUI.
3. Set the other options to your personal favourites and click Save.
4. You can now load OmniClient. Indeed, in future you can jump straight to this step because !OmniSetup only needs to be run once - unless you wish to change the settings.
5. OmniClient will appear on the left hand side of the icon bar. Do not click SELECT on it, but click MENU over it's icon. This will give the Omni menu and you can move right from Mounts to see a sub-menu.
6. The first time OmniClient is run you will only see two options; Save mounts and Protocols. The following procedure should be followed for each file or directory you wish to access on the PC. If accessing the PC via OmniClient I would recommend only sharing directories on the PC.
7. Move right from 'Protocols' to open the Protocols sub-menu. This has one item for each of the file systems that you configured earlier using OmniSetup. You should see 'LAN Manager' and 'Acorn Access' listed. To open a PC share you will need LAN Manager. Click on it now.
8. This will open a "Mount 'LAN Manager' server" window containing a number of writable icons...
9. For 'Name' and 'Directory path' enter the name of a shared directory on the PC. For example if you shared your c:\Temp directory and called it "TEMP", then enter "TEMP" for both of these fields. The name entered should be the same as that given at step 3 of the 'Sharing stuff on the PC' section above.
N.B.The 'Name' icon can actually be set to anything because this is the name OmniClient will call the icon on the iconbar, but I tend to set to the same as the shared directory to cut down on confusion.
10. In the 'Server name' icon, enter the name you called the PC (step 18 in 'Configuring the Windows stuff' above) - in my case "Voldemort".
11. The other icons can all be left blank (unless you password protected your shared directory on the PC - step 6 in the 'Sharing stuff on the PC' section above - in which case you will also need to enter the password in the Password field.
12. Click Connect and if all is well there should be a short delay and then OmniClient should open the shared disc on the PC in a normal Acorn filer type display. You will also find that the OmniClient icon on the iconbar will change to the name you entered in 9.
13. The directory you shared has now effectively become the root directory on a new filing system (disc drive) which OmniClient has become. If you now go back to step 5 and create another mount for another shared directory you will find that OmniClient adds a new icon (each with it's own relevant name) for each shared object.
14. If you want OmniClient to keep all your 'Mount' information for the next time you use OmniClient you should click on Mounts->Save mounts on the OmniClient menu.
15. To dismount (and thus close) an open mount, simply click on Dismount on the OmniClient menu.

Printing to a Shared Printer on the PC
If you have a printer shared under Windows95/98 you should be able to print to it from the Acorn via Omniclient.

At the Acorn end, load up the required printer driver and go to the printer control window. Press MENU over the relevant printer name in the printer control window and click on 'Connection...'

You need to send the print out to a file, so click on the 'File' icon. This will highlight the filename box where you should enter the following:-


where 'Zen' is the network name of the PC with the printer attached and 'PrinterXYZ' is the shared name of the PC printer.

Encountering Timeout problems when linking Omniclient to Windows NT Servers
Windows NT appears to have a problem with it's DMAC handling via NetBEUI. I've setup a separate page of instructions to describe a possible solution.

Click here to view them.

Hopefully, these instructions will have helped you to get the Acorn to look at and share files with the PC. Once you have 'Mount'ed a shared directory on the PC you can save and load files from the Acorn. OmniClient won't allow you to share things on the Acorn so that the PC can view them, but you should be able to do everything you want by following the instructions above.

As always, do feel free to contact me if any of the steps above don't work or if you would like further help or information.

Other software you may find useful:-
  · LanMan98 from Warm Silence Software that integrates with OmniClient and allows you to access the long file names of Win95/Win98/NT.
  · The RISC OS Samba server that allows the PC to see the RISC OS file system. This is available to download from

Other links to networking info:-
  · Ian Jeffray's Networking Instructions
  · Comp.sys.acorn.networking FAQ
  · Richard Murray's Networking page

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 Last edit: 10th Apr 2016 at 4:55pm (2967 days ago)

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