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What are my options for quickly transferring a large amount of data (videos, pictures, PDFs etc) between two computers?

Currently I have to copy from the first computer to an external hard drive, and then copy from the drive to the second computer.

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Can anyone suggest some good cable to transfer data from Windows 7 to WXP and vice versa.....(not just onetime upgrade from XP to W7) – Tom Sep 26 '11 at 1:57
Obligatory XKCD. – Mateen Ulhaq Oct 9 '11 at 0:34

If both computers have gigabit ethernet, then an ethernet cable will do.

Then you just file share and copy the files to each other.

You should specify an OS also.

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Enabling file sharting on vista takes a lot of time. Normally we copy from XP to Vista and Vista to XP. – Tom Sep 17 '11 at 22:36
You just turn it on in the network sharing center. You don't need to setup a password. Just use the Public Folders to move files. – surfasb Sep 17 '11 at 22:38
@Tom: If file sharing doesn't work properly, you could consider using FTP. – Tom Wijsman Sep 18 '11 at 0:52
File sharing should work readily on default Windows installations (i.e. not "tuned" by professionals or system "optimisation" software). You don't even have to set IP addresses as Window supports IPv4 link-local addresses and SMB works over that. – Oct 9 '11 at 0:41 Yeah, not really sure where the a lot of time comes from. Copying from Win2K to Vista takes no work either. – surfasb Oct 9 '11 at 1:03

Options? Hard disks only crank out 25-50 MB/sec, so among the digital interfaces out there, you only need to look no further than connections as fast as:

  • USB 2.0
  • 802.11n
  • Firewire 400
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless USB
  • Giga IrDA
  • ExpressCard 1.2

Connections like eSATA and USB 3.0 are already overkill.

If I were you, I'd just get a $15 USB Transfer Cable.

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Does USB data transfer cable required software to install? Looks it work only if both OS are same, right? – Tom Sep 18 '11 at 12:49
Windows Vista and 7 have built-in support. Mac OS and older Windows require drivers and/or file transfer software. Some better brands of cables already have the driver installers embedded in the cable, so no driver CDs to carry. Finally, some driver installers offer "network mode", i.e., it appears as a network adapter on both computers, which inevitably requires more steps in installation. – William C Sep 18 '11 at 13:36
At their speed, USB Transfer Cables work with the most OSes and hardware, there's no hardware to dismantle, and lately there's no software to install (furthermore, no admin privileges required). Hey even its name implies that it's exactly for what you want done. :) – William C Sep 18 '11 at 13:46
Can you please suggest some cable which give user option of selecting folders. It looks from reviews that suggested cable transfer all. I want to use it for backup and manually copy important folders from PC1 to PC2 and vice versa.... – Tom Sep 23 '11 at 18:37
I just called Belkin CS and they told me it is only for WXP/Vista to Windows7 upgrade, not for data tranfer from W7 to XP. So that won't solve my issue. – Tom Sep 23 '11 at 19:18

If you're taking out drives why not plug the drive into the other PC if there's an available SATA / IDE slot and then copy it across as if between 2 local drives.

If this isn't an option I second the ethernet cable between the two.

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You could avoid copying twice if you take out one of the hard drives from either computer, and mount it in an external enclosure or dock. Then you can connect it to the other computer and do the copying in one shot.

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Unless they have an eSata dock, gigabit ethernet will outpace USB. – surfasb Sep 17 '11 at 22:42
Yes, but unless there is a gigabit router in between, connecting two computers to each other via gigabit ethernet will require a Cat5e or Cat6 crossover cable and it can be very tricky to set up the OS to do it. – Mike Rowave Sep 18 '11 at 0:34
Tricky? Crossover? It's 2012 man. Auto MDIX+ static IP equals EZ mode. And you can use any Cat5 cable buddy. – surfasb Sep 18 '11 at 0:47

Probably best is Ethernet cable - set a static IP address on each PC, for example on PC 1 use '' and on PC 2 use ''. Then, on PC 1 open the command prompt and enter:

net use W: \\C$ /user "username" "password"

Replace "username" with your username and - assuming you have one - "password" with your password.

That will mount your C: drive on the second PC as network drive W: and then you can copy all you want. You can replace C$ with any drive letter you want to mount as network drive.

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