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Is it possible, using a Y or similar arrangement, to mount a USB device to more than one machine at once?

I realize a NAS or similar would be preferable, but if it were possible to mount en external drive to two laptops at once, for example, it'd be nice to be able to read off it to both places (not worrying about simultaneous writes right now).

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are Y connectors, but they're mainly for boosting the charge you can get to a single device. There's also a "switch" you can get to share a device but it only allows a connection to one at a time. Without something like a NAS negotiating locks etc, seems like this would be a bad idea if it worked at all. If your laptops have network connectivity, why not mount the stick or drive on one and share it to the other?

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that's about what I was thinking, but didn't have spec info in front of me - thanks! –  warren Aug 22 '11 at 22:01

You can mount it on one computer, do a network share, and mount the shared drive on your other computer.

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Don't do it. The USB signalling spec doesn't allow for multiple "host" devices on a single bus, and having two will at best prevent everything from working, at worst scramble data.

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No, at worst is something more like blow everything up in a large explosion of fire and melted components. –  Hello71 Aug 22 '11 at 21:41
    
Well, at the very worst the diminution of quantum uncertainty would cause the pace of time itself to become unstable and lead to the heat death of the universe, but I didn't want to make anyone nervous. –  CarlF Aug 23 '11 at 3:41

They make things like this, but CarlF is right. Two devices onto one HDD is bad business.

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Cheaper, better manufacturer: amazon.com/Belkin-Easy-Transfer-Cable-Windows/dp/B002PAR0AQ/… –  Chris Aug 22 '11 at 21:47

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