Transfer Data Between Two Computers Via USB

Saw an ad on the telly last night that promised easy transfer of files, settings, etc. between two computers via USB - it looked like only a cable and perhaps some software was involved.

I have need of this, but I suspect that this may be easier and way cheaper than what was advertised.

Could it be that only a special USB cable - flat-ended to flat-ended (instead of flat-ended to square-ended) is needed? Or maybe a USB hub?

Has anybody done this or know about it?

It’s more complicated than just adding a cable. USB makes a distinction between controllers and peripherals. The controller is the master and the peripheral is the slave. All communication on the USB network must take place between a master and slave. Masters can’t communicate with each other and slaves can’t communicate with each other.

You don’t mention what OS you have but WinXP has a files and settings transfer wizard that gives all the info. It’s in the System Tools folder inside the Accessories folder. I have not used it so don’t know how good it is.

I should have Googled before posting. You’re right mks57, it’s not a simple cable, but this solution seems to be pretty common. TigerDirect has one or two of these for about $25, and there seems to be some interface circuitry built into the cable or one of the connectors.

It’s about the same price as the advert that I saw, though.

An easier way is just a crossover ethernet cable. In this case, all you need is jsut one cable, and no software. Just be sure it IS a crossover cable, and not a standard ethernet cable.

I have tried a couple of different models of USB transfer cable and they generally suck. The reason for this is that (at least with mine) the file transfer was only possible using their proprietary software, which was like LapLink, except that it only worked about half of the time. You can’t just see each other’s computers in Windows Explorer and drag and drop the files that way.

bouv is right; an ethernet crossover cable is far simpler, as well as more likely to work, and it doesn’t require the installation of any additional software. Most network interface devices made this century are now auto MDI/MDX sensing, so in many cases, you don’t need a crossover cable - a straight one will work, however, unless you’re sure at least one of the devices is autosensing, it’s probably better to play safe and go with the crossover cable.

As an alternative 160 gig external drives are around 70 bucks or so after rebate and 2 gig thumb drives are now around $ 40-50 or so after rebate.

There is an extension to the USB spec - USB On-The-Go - that is intended to overcome this limitation. Not all (perhaps actually not many) USB devices support it yet.

Do any PCs support it? I have been involded in working on it for phone chipsets that support OTG but I don’t really know of anything available commecially that will switch from being a host to being a device. The only thing I see when searching for USB OTG are ICs that can be used to implement such devices.

This is what I’ve been thinking I need to transfer some files. Any suggestions on brands/types/suppliers? I don’t know nuthin’ 'bout buying no thumbdrives.

(I’ve got a cross-connect cable, but turns out that Windows XP on a domain will only transfer to other computers on the domain…my main computer at home is set up with the domain at work and I can’t get the old PC added to the domain.)

I have a thumb drive now - a so-called “sneaker net”, but I want to get away from that. An ethernet connection may work, but one of the computers is on a corporate network and the other is not and it must remain that way.
Would the non-networked computer be visible or have any connectivity to the network if configured this way?

I never had any trouble getting a USB transfer cable to work, but these days I should think you would find a thumb drive a lot less hassle. The transfer cable is about 6 mbit, IIRC, and you need to use a client like PCLink at each end, as noted. In its day, the file transfer cable was a cheap and easy way to temporarily connect a couple machines, and shuffle a few files. I’m not throwing mine out, but I haven’t used it in quite a while.