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Connect 2 Computers with a USB cable?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by TonyPSchaefer, Jul 11, 2005.

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  1. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    It's almost sad that I'm posting a computer question on a car forum, but as they say, know your audience! :)

    So anyway, I thought I had a brilliant idea. I bought a male-to-male USB cable thinking that I could plug each end into different computers and they would detect each other and see each other as Mass Storage Devices or possibly other computers. My goal was to move large volumes of data quickly and without thumbdrives, CDs, LAN connections, or anything else.

    It failed.

    So . . .
    1) Is this possible?
    2) If this is possible, how do I do it?
  2. prius04

    prius04 New Member

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    I'm surprised you have not yet gotten an answer. I did a quick google search and it seems there are special male to male usb cables, with a small device in the middle, that will do this. From that search they are about $20.

    However, I did find a place that said a firewire male to male will do this, you just need to set up some kind of network.

    If both computers have ethernet cards, you get get routers as cheap as $20, with rebates, from Compusa or Best Buy, you just need to keep looking a be patient.

    But I'll bump this up so someone who actually knows what they are talking about can answer you.
  3. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    not possible

    just as hooking two computers together with a standard ethernet cable doesnt work either.
  4. Ghoti

    Ghoti Junior Member

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    With ethernet, no router would be needed for this, just a $15 crossover cable would do the trick.

    As mentioned earlier, FireWire (IEEE 1394) would be more suited to the tast as it's a lot faster than 100baseT Ethernet is.

    To answer the original question, though, a straight male A-to-male A USB connector will not do anything for you, for the same reasons that a non-crossover Ethernet cable won't connect two computers directly.
  5. micheal

    micheal I feel pretty, oh so pretty.

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    The easiest (and cheapest) would be as Ghoti mentioned would be a crossover cable. It looks like a regular cable, just wired differently. I got a six foot one at CompUSA for $6.

    If you have Windows XP on both, then it is generally just a matter of changing the IP addresses on the two computers, sometimes I have to restart. Then it is just as if you have a 2-computer network.

    You change the IP Address on one to 192.168.0.1 (Subnet Mask of 255.255.255.0) and on the other to 192.168.0.2 (Subnet Mask of 255.255.255.0) in the TCP/IP Properties.
  6. Bill Merchant

    Bill Merchant absit invidia

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    [font=Comic Sans MS:8a6cc4ae7f]It could work if you have the right driver software on both machines. Most OS don't expect to be transferring data as you suggest, but there's no reason an application on both couldn't use the USB serial port to communicate with each other.

    You can connect two Macs with a firewire cable, boot one regularly and the other in "Target Disk Mode" and the second then appears as a disk on the first.

    Crossover Ethernet cable is the easiest way to go. Some machines don't even require crossover since they will autosense direction.[/font:8a6cc4ae7f]
  7. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I have a X-over cable, but both computers MUST keep all IP/domain/Subnet items intact.

    I started writing out the whole story, but it's way too boring. Here's the short version:
    * I'm not changing the IP settings of my work PC
    * The other computer is a Development system permanently attached to proprietary hardware via Ethernet. I'm not screwing with the test environment.

    The problem is that when a new software build is released, I have to thumbdrive them from my LAN-accessing computer to the stand-alone Development computer. I have a 1-Gb thumbdrive and the software builds are multiple CDs in size requiring multiple 1-Gb transfers.

    I am not going to install a firewire into my corp. laptop and I'm not going to introduce new drivers and devices to my Development system.

    That's why I was hoping the relatively innocuous USB cable would work.

    What Prius04 mentioned sounds like my best option so far. Just what search parameters did you use and what did you find?
  8. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    ok i guess you havent seen the new thumb drives coming out at 20 GB?
  9. vincent1449p

    vincent1449p Active Member

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    Try google for "USB bridge cable".

    Vincent
  10. prius04

    prius04 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(TonyPSchaefer\";p=\"106440)</div>

    I used google and put "computer to computer" in parenthesis and then the word USB and I think the word connect.

    The 3rd or 4th one down had the firewire solution.

    However, you do need to make some network settings changes, though they seemed to suggest it was nearly automatic with windows xp.

    Vincents solution should do the same thing.



    The router solution would require waiting for them to go onsale. And you might need to install the router software. The speed of networks is changing quickly. What I was suggesting for $20 would be wireless g. Wireless b is nearly extinct, and the g+ and g++++(or whatever they call the latest speed demon versions, would be nearly $100.

    But you can get a "g" quite cheap now.

    I wish I had kept the exact web site.
  11. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    ya know, if you are not in a hurry, you could always use an ipod.
  12. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    Most modern operating systems allow you to multihome a single physical network interface - that is, assign multiple IP addresses on different networks to a single network interface. Windows XP and any recent release of Linux support this. So even though your desktop PC only has one network adapter, it can logically live on two entirely separate networks (different network numbers, different subnet masks, etc) that just happen to share the same wire. You could even have your desktop PC act as a router between the two logical networks - this is know as the "one armed router", since there's only one physical network.

    For example, if your development system is on network 192.168.100.0, you could add a second IP address to the existing network adapter on that network on your desktop PC, in addition to the IP address it already has on a different network. This is simple to do and would probably take less time to do than it took you to post your original message.

    Unless there's some security issue where you're not allowed to put the development system on the same physical network as your PC, I would take this route.
  13. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder Staff Member

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    There are also the relatively cheap 4GB thumb drives out there, too. Other than that I have nothing to add :)
  14. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(DaveinOlyWA\";p=\"106448)</div>

    I was excited to be able to write off the 1-Gb on the project budget. I'm not pushing my luck.

    I have a good friend who is an IT wiz for another company. When I initially mentioned joining these two computers, he went on and on about how all I need to do is change this setting here and that setting there, bridge this, hub that, and bam there's my connection. And yes, I understand all that. I was actually CNA for Novell 4.1 and a LINUX admin back in the '90s.

    But I don't get paid to do that anymore. I get paid to do my job and not muck up functining systems. And those of you who work in IT know as well as I that there is nothing more annoying than when someone goes in and makes a bunch of changes to a perfectly functioning machine just because they thought they knew what they were doing.

    One of the points that I pruned from the "extended version" is that the Development computer is attached, via Ethernet, to a piece of also-Developmental prorietary hardware. No pre-Beta systems are allowed on the corporate LAN. Ever.
  15. tcooper185

    tcooper185 Member

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    I've used a program from Alohabob called PC Relocator and it worked really well. Install the software on the original computer, install it on the new computer, connect with the crossover USB cable, and it'll do all the copying for you. Even copied Windows Desktop settings and bookmarks. Except for the speed of the new computer, I would have never known anything was different.

    Looks like you can get a 3 day trial period...not sure if you can actually do your copying with the trial, but if so, you're only looking at about 8 hours to do everything (I started it, went outside and rebuild my deck, and came back for dinner and it was almost finished!). I think I copied somewhere about 15 GB.

    It also looks like the basic version, w/o the cable, is only $29.95. I'd recommend that software over dealing with IP addresses, etc.

    tim
  16. Canuck

    Canuck Member

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    I've connected my two computers together via an inexpensive KVM electronic switch which allows me to use the same mouse,keyboard and monitor for both at the press of a key on the keyboard. One computer is still Win 98 and the other Win XP. This, however, doesn't answer your problem of the computers communicating with each other. That could be solved with using a D-link router.
  17. jimofdg

    jimofdg New Member

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    Hey, Tony.

    I see two clues in the responses above.

    The iPod may be slow, but can be connected with either USB or FireWire.

    I have used Target Disk Mode on 2 Macs connected with a FireWire cable, with great results.

    I will trim down my "If I only had a Mac" section of this post to mention that all recent Macs have auto-sensing Ethernet ports, so crossover cables matter not.

    But why not bring your questions to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store? If you don't like the suggestions at Old Orchard, enjoy downtown Chicago or Oakbrook. They will enjoy wrestling with your problem and you will get more than you pay for. Hope this helps.
  18. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i transpotred an entire win 98 setup with an ipod and it worked like a charm. only issue we had was a redetect on the video card. the OS just thought we had replaced the card. we just rebooted to safe mode loaded standard VGA drivers booted back up and installed the new video card drivers and done. total time 15 mins. other option?? reload entire os and updates. probably two hours
  19. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i transpotred an entire win 98 setup with an ipod and it worked like a charm. only issue we had was a redetect on the video card. the OS just thought we had replaced the card. we just rebooted to safe mode loaded standard VGA drivers booted back up and installed the new video card drivers and done. total time 15 mins. other option?? reload entire os and updates. probably two hours
  20. IALTMANN

    IALTMANN New Member

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    Check out Tiger, they sell a USB cable and program to do just that, and CHEAP
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