How to Connect a Laptop to the PC Using a USB
A working professional may use a laptop at the office during the day and also take work home during the evening. A student may learn on a laptop at school and then transition studies to home during the evening. These situations may involve the need to connect a mobile laptop to a desktop. For example, the processor on a desktop may be more robust and faster than a laptop, thus the need arises to transfer files between computers. A USB-to-USB data cable, sometimes called a USB bridge, can assist you in establishing a connection between two computers, permitting file sharing and transfer.
Things You'll Need
- Microsoft Windows XP or newer operating system
- USB-to-USB data cable (bridge)
- USB-to-USB data cable "native software"
- Internet (optional)
Visit a local or online electronics retailer to purchase a USB-to-USB data cable. Ensure the package includes installation software and drivers native to the cabling hardware. Read the package carefully, as terminology differs slightly among makers of USB-to-USB data cables. Key words to look for include "USB-to-USB data cable," "USB bridge cable" and "USB networking cable." Similar to the importance of a router or switch on an Ethernet network, a USB-to-USB data cable has circuitry along the middle of the cable aiding in data flow.
Install software and drivers. Follow manufacturer instructions for installing the USB-to-USB data cable software. Be sure to install the software on both computers.
Connect the USB-to-USB data cable to USB ports on both computers. Focusing on one computer first, allow the operating system to recognize the connection; signs a connection is taking place are seeing pop-up informational balloons on the taskbar and hearing sounds/alerts.If the software pops up automatically leave it up. If the software does not pop up, find the icon in "All Programs" on the "Start Menu." Duplicate this step on the second computer.
Learn the software. The software interface for USB-to-USB data cable hardware differs among manufacturers, but the concept of using the cable is intuitive and similar across makers. When the software opens, a connection may establish automatically. If not, look for language in the software menus related to the term "Connect," as the main objective of the cables is to link the two computers together.Additionally, the software will profile both computers in a split, side-by-side pane fashion, showing files for each computer.
Move data. Files and folders can move from computer to computer, sharing hard drives. Click in and out of folders to explore contents. Drag and drop folders and files between computers just as you would on a single computer. Right-click on files and folders to expose context menus with common features such as "Copy," "Cut", "Paste" and "Move."
Tips & Warnings
- In a situation where you do not have permission to install native software (i.e. computers owned by employers or schools) Microsoft Windows XP and newer operating systems may have "Windows Easy Transfer" already installed, allowing connection and file transfer between two computers. Windows' software, however, is not as versatile as native software. For additional details see Resources.
- Be careful to differentiate between a USB "extension" cable (sometimes called A/A USB or A/B USB) and a USB "bridge" cable (USB-to-USB data cable). Attempting to connect two computers using an "extension" cable can cause damage.