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I haven't had much exposure to Windows 8, and while doing some research I came across a usb transfer cable that says it's designed for Windows 8. So that leads to my question, does Windows 8 require a certain type of cable to do transfers? If so, what type of usb, or even firewire, cables work for Windows 8?

And if that really is the case, how does Windows 8 recognize what kind of cable is attached? I thought any type of cable would work with any OS.

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It says it was designed for Windows 8 because they tested the drivers against Windows 8. You don't indicate what this cable does exactly because tis not a standard USB cable. – Ramhound May 3 '13 at 11:28
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Actually you can't do any PC-PC transfer on a plain USB cable.
There is a chip embedded in the cable (usually in one of the connectors) that handles the connection.

Most designs I have seen come in 3 flavors:
1 They use a network card chip (so both computers "see" an ethernet card attached by USB and a fake point-2-point LAN connection to the other computer).
2 Or they use a fake USB pen-drive that is visible to both computers.
3 Or they use a USB to serial chip so both computers see a serial (null-modem) link

The software that comes with the cable handles the actual transfer and knows how the use the cable.

"Designed for Windows 8" is just marketing speak for "software is Windows 8 comptable".

In fact any Windows 7 compatible cable/software will work on Windows 8 too. There is no difference in driver model between 7 and 8.

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You can't just directly connect a piece of wire between two USB ports and do anything useful.

A USB transfer cable is not simply a piece of wire. It contains electronics to facilitate the communication between two computers.

The electronics must be recognized and supported by the Operating System.

The Windows Easy Transfer requires certain type of device. A device that works for Windows 8 probably should work just fine for Easy Transfer feature in earlier versions of Windows. But the stores just add the 'Designed for Windows 8' bit to convince people buying a new computer to also buy a cable.

Pictures on this site with a transfer cable broken open.

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Think you meant "can't" in the first line... – Tonny May 2 '13 at 21:22
@Tonny, You are right. – Zoredache May 2 '13 at 21:24
Thats beter :-) – Tonny May 2 '13 at 21:24
I was going to comment on that as well, I have plenty of wire hanging around the house and that would have solved all my problems :) – C-dizzle May 2 '13 at 21:26

If you are using an extension cable, then it does not matter. Likewise just an adapter like Micro to Mini, A to B.

If you are trying connect two PC, which I did not read from your question then there are special considerations. Otherwise thats marketing, some people are terrified by technology and assume if its doesn't say it works, it won't work.

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