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Can You Use a USB Cable to Transfer Data from One Computer to Another?

File transfer has gotten more efficient over the years, owing to better tech as well as software, particularly in the Wireless space. With many options to choose from, you may be wondering, can you use a USB cable to transfer data from one computer to another?

The simple answer is that Yes! you can, but the process is more complicated than it sounds. For starters, you need a very special kind of USB cable. Just a regular USB cable with the same connector on each end won’t do. Instead, you need a data link cable with special circuits that facilitate the transfer.

And while having the correct cable is indeed a step in the right direction, you will still need to install the correct software and drivers before you can start using the datalink cable.

Can You Use a USB Cable to Transfer Data from One Computer to Another?

Yeah, you should use a special USB cable to transfer data while you’re going from one device to another and transferring the files, or if you’re only copying a few papers.

The cable in question is recognized as a Data Link USB cable or a bridging cable, but it goes by several other names.

Let’s look at how you can move data from one device to another using a USB cable.

1. Get the Right Cable – DATA Link Cable

Plugable USB 3.0 Transfer Cable, Unlimited Use, Transfer Data Between 2 Windows PC's, Compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Bravura Easy Computer Sync Software Included
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Plugable USB 3.0 Transfer Cable, Unlimited Use, Transfer Data Between 2 Windows PC's, Compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Bravura Easy Computer Sync Software Included
  • FAST USB 3.0 SPEED - Transfer files and folders when upgrading from one Windows 10, 8.x, 7, Vista, or XP computer to a newer one. Up to 3x faster than USB 2.0 if both computers support USB 3.0. Works in USB 2.0 ports at USB 2.0 speeds. Both 32- and 64-bit Windows versions are supported. Not compatible with Windows 10 S Mode, Windows Server editions
  • INCLUDES SOFTWARE - A unique 16 character Product Key for Bravura Easy Computer Sync software is attached to the cable ($19.95 value). This software allows you to transfer your important files such as documents, music, pictures, videos and other data files
  • NO NETWORK NEEDED - No size limits, and simpler than transfers by disk. Both PCs involved in the transfer must be fully functional, and have attached displays
  • CUSTOM SYNCING - Supports custom file and folder syncing between two supported Windows computers, including drag and drop transfers. Does not transfer programs; they must be reinstalled from the original disks or downloaded files
  • 2 YEAR WARRANTY - We love our Plugable products, and hope you will too. All of our products are backed with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty as well as Seattle-based email support

Before you do something else, double-check if you have the correct USB cable for the work. A data link cable can be purchased from a variety of online retailers.

Unlike standard USB cables, this one has an electrical circuit that allows the laptops to connect via USB. As a result, it could have a bulge where the circuitry is located somewhere along its length.

2. Power On and Connect the Computers

Can You Use a USB Cable to Transfer Data from One Computer to Another

If you’ve found the right USB cord, the next reasonable move is to make sure all machines are close by. They’ll need to be turned on and unlocked as well.

Attach both ends of the USB cord to the two machines when you’re ready. You will go on to the next level if you get a warning that the USB cable has been found. If that doesn’t function, consider connecting to separate USB ports and waiting a minute for the machines to recognize the latest hardware.

3. Install the Drivers

Drivers assist USB ports in deciding an acceptable connection technique as well as how the USB can relay data, taking into account that USB ports will convey both data and power.

The drivers can be included on a disk with a USB cable. Of course, this is dependent on the manufacturer. However, if you did not get a disk with your USB cable, you can uninstall the app.

Go to the manufacturer’s website and see if there is any free program for the USB cable you just purchased. Then proceed to install the software as normal.

4. Software Configuration

You will also need special software that handles the data transfer for you. It’s handy as it will let you set up how the connection will be handled.

Software configuration will vary depending on the USB cable you have. Furthermore, the software you use, just as with the drivers, should come from the product manufacturer.

The Plugable USB 3.0 cable shown above, for instance, includes the Bravura Easy Computer Sync software to facilitate data transfer.

5. Move the files

Once you’ve got it set up right, you’ll need to transfer the files. Choose the directory you want to copy your files to under setup, and make sure it’s wide enough to contain the files you’re sending.

Depending on the software you’re using, you can start the transfer with a simple drag and drop, and some of them are really intuitive.

Enable for the completion of the move. When the switch is complete and the cable can be withdrawn safely, the app can display a progress indicator or alert you. You can then disable the machines until you’ve got this notification, and voila! You’ve only used a USB cable to pass data from two devices.

Some Precautions to Take Note Off

Once you’ve got it set up right, you’ll need to transfer the files. Choose the directory you want to copy your files to under setup, and make sure it’s wide enough to contain the files you’re sending.

Depending on the software you’re using, you can start the transfer with a simple drag and drop, and some of them are really intuitive.

Enable for the completion of the move. When the switch is complete and the cable can be withdrawn safely, the app can display a progress indicator or alert you. You can then disable the machines until you’ve got this notification, and voila! You’ve only used a USB cable to pass data from two devices.

Why You Need a Special Cable?

The bulge on the cable shows that there’s more than just wires going on. For example, each end has two male USB connectors. A typical USB cable may not work and the wiring may cause complications for both computers and can also cause damage.

Computers also compromise as master devices over USB connections, despite the fact that USB is designed as a master/slave architecture.

The two computers connected by a standard USB cord would have no idea what to do in this situation. The circuitry in a data link USB cable simplifies this procedure for all devices, allowing for quicker data transfer.

What Other Options Do You Have To Transfer Data?

ethernet transfer

Ethernet (LAN) and WiFi are the most widespread and easiest method for transfer huge amounts of Data.

Although the answer to the question “Can You Use a USB Cable to Transfer Data from One Device to Another?” is yes, why would you want to do so?

Unless you have particular requirements, there are a variety of other options for data transfer. Ethernet and WiFi are the most common and simplest ways to transfer vast volumes of data between two devices, with Ethernet ruling supreme in terms of ease of use, reliability, and transfer speed.

Also Read: Best Powerline Adapter

In terms of data processing speed, all solutions are restricted by the speed of your hard drive. The transmission rates would be slower if both had HDDs. If one has an SSD and the other has an HDD, the slower PC with the HDD would dictate the speed.

If both have SSDs, the transfer speed could be very fast.

A 10G Ethernet network, on the other hand, will support even higher speeds than a USB 3.0 Data Link cable.
This is especially significant in the case of SSDs on both platforms, as the transfer connection, not the drive, will be the speed bottleneck.

Final Thoughts

After reading this, you’ll know if you can pass data from one device to another using a USB cable. A special USB cable with male connectors on both ends is used in the process.

There is a bulge between the two male connectors that comprise electrical circuits that allow the two computers to connect successfully. This also stops the USBs from causing harm to one another by providing power via the link.

You’ll need to install the necessary program from the USB cable’s vendor, as well as the appropriate drivers, to get a working connection.