With this special USB cable, it is possible to use one Keyboard and Mouse to work with 2 computers (and with 2 screens). In addition, one can transfer files and share the clipboard.
In Wikipedia, it is called “Easy Transfer Cable“:
The Easy Transfer Cable is a special USB 2.0 cable used to connect two computers together.The connectors are both USB-A male connectors to connect to each PC, and the cable has a small box in the middle which contains the electronics needed to allow the computers to communicate with each other, and controls data flow between the two computers.
The figure below is from a store showing the example of connecting 2 PCs together.
The file transfer and clipboard sharing can be especially usefull if those 2 computers are connected to different networks. The alternative software solutions might no work on those situations.
File transfer speed
Testing the transfer speed by doing simple “copy-paste” of one file of 1.8GB. It took less than 2 minutes. (Both computers do have SSD).
One can try to find it with names like “USB data link cable”, “USB KM switch”, “USB PC Link Cable”, “USB networking cable” or “USB 2.0 bridge cable”.
Comes with some Risks
- Is the cable doing only what it is supposed to do, or is there an embedded keylogger? ie. Buy from reliable source and manufacturer.
- Connecting computers and transferring files this way can create additional risks, especially if the computers are in different networks. (There is a risk that certain security controls, that are normally applied to network, are not effective)
USB 3 cable?
This blog is not about USB 3. Currently these cables are USB 2 based with a special chip in between the cable.