Quick & Dirty 2K to XP file xfer via USB hub?

By Mugsy
Mar 30, 2008
  1. I need to move files from an old Windows 2000 PC to one running XP Pro.

    Is it possible to simply plug the Win2K machine into the USB hub of the XP machine and they'll see each other? (I am well aware you can't just go from port-to-port without damaging the computers' ports, which is why my question is about HUBs specifically.)

    I'm looking to do this on the cheap... using stuff I already have, rather than waste money buying another null modem cable, Cat-5 crossover cable, or expensive USB "Laplink" cable with built-in circuitry, for a file transfer I'll only do once. My Ethernet hub is DOA at the moment, so I can't do it that way.

    I have an OLD null modem cable... so old it has DB25 connectors on each end, while the PC's have newer DB9 serial (COM) ports. So using my old null modem serial cable is out, and I have NO desire to purchase two 25-to-9 adapters just to use it. Plus, it would take AGES to xfer gigabytes worth of data at even maximum serial port speed

    "Removing the drives" from the 2K machine, even temporarily, is not an option because it is still in use. And why even go through the bother if I can help it?

    Anyone else ever try this?
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    No, it is not possible.

    Those 'laplink' cables have their own drivers, firmware and circuitry which act as a middle-man, allowing the computers to talk to something (the device in the cable) that understands how to transfer files.

    Neither of your computer's USB controllers have a clue how to send files back and forth. You are definitely going to have to consider new options.

    My recommendation would be a network crossover cable or adapter. An adapter costs less than $5 after S/H on eBay...
  3. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 360   +9

    Okay, will go the Hub route.

    Thanks for the reply.

    I have a old cheap-o 4-port Ethernet hub that is out-of-commission because the power cord was chewed beyond repair by my cat, and I've never found a cheap replacement p/s for it.

    Also, after posting my question, I realized I don't have a "male-to-male" USB-A gender changer that would even allow me to plug the Win2K machine into one of the USB ports on the hub (I have a M/F extension cable, and a USB-A to USB-B cable, but nothing that would give me a "USB-A male" connector on both ends. :)

    I guess I need to break down and buy another cheap hub. Thanks.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Even if you found that sort of a connector, connecting two computers with it would short the power supplies, most likely destroying the USB controller and/or the motherboard and/or the PSU. As Rick hinted, USB is a strictly computer-to-device connection and doing direct computer-computer is not allowed.
  5. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 360   +9

    Please read.

    I think that fact was already acknowledged in my original post.
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    A USB hub does not change the fact, you are still connecting two host devices and shorting their power supplies to each other or the hub.

    Those Laplink cable are expensive because they are not cables - it's a special device that acts as a slave to both computers.
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