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Background:

I have a portable USB drive that I use to make sure I have access to common files whenever at home, work, travel etc for cases when I may not have Internet/Network access of any kind.

There are some cases when I have to work simultaneously on a laptop and a desktop computer, and for those cases I usually have to unplug this USB hard drive and move it between the two.

Question: dual-computer USB drive?

Is there a USB-based solution that would enable me to use this portable drive between two computers simultaneously?

If there is not a USB-based solution, does anyone have alternative suggestions, consistent with the underlying rationale?

Rationale:

Sometimes I have to work on a desktop computer with locked-down networking capabilities (such as at the local photocopy shop) and it can be difficult to get a network configuration that allows dual-computer access without breaking things, or accidentally making my USB drive visible to the entire network.

Basically what I need is a very simply LAN that is guaranteed to work regardless of the rules or constraints set by the network administrator for wherever I happen to be at the time.

See also: http://superuser.com/questions/99274/how-to-connect-two-computers-with-usb

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3 Answers

Any reason you can't simply SHARE the drive?

Plugged my Corsair USB Flash drive in on one computer, enabled sharing on it, & can read/write from a networked computer.

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They sell NAS-to-USB adapters cheap these days.

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+1, nice solution. –  Moab Jan 13 '11 at 19:03
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No. Operating systems assume they have full control of directly connected drives. So a dual solution would run into file corruption issues.

One solution is to use a cross over network cable to set up a local LAN between the two computers. This would allow you to share the drive via the OS's built in file sharing.

A second solution would be to use a NAS (network attached storage) vs. a USB external drive. In this case the drive enclosure acts as a file server and you would use a small hub/switch or wifi to connect the two computers.

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