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Laptop as Desktop's external USB hard drive???

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February 21, 2006 3:07:01 AM

Hi,

I need some kind of USB bridge to fool my Desktop into thinking that when I connect my Laptop to it with USB it will apear as an external USB hard drive.

I know this is somehow possible because I read in a review of Sharp MM20 laptop and it did just that all by itself (with the docking station).

Any ideas?

Thanks!
a b G Storage
February 24, 2006 4:33:26 PM

Just map the drive on the laptop and it will show up in MY Computer as a network drive. Basically the same thing you want to do.
February 24, 2006 6:11:16 PM

Quote:
Just map the drive on the laptop and it will show up in MY Computer as a network drive. Basically the same thing you want to do.


Do you mean that I just:

1. Share my hard drive on my laptop.

2. Run a USB cable between the Desktop and the laptop.

3. The drive will show under "Network Neighborhood" and I can give it a letter from there (map it).

BUT

I thought that it was impossibe to just run a (straight) USB cable between 2 computers? I thought you needed some kind of adapter?

Thanks!
Related resources
a b G Storage
February 25, 2006 7:46:46 PM

You would be better off using a regular ethernet crossover cable. Not only would your speeds be better but networking it would also be easier.

Once the computers are networked you share what folders or drives you want to and they will show up in my network places.
You can also map the drive manually.
February 25, 2006 10:25:49 PM

No, it HAS to be USB. I know there are some kind of adaptors (basically a USB cable with a small adaptor built-in in the middlel of the cable). I was just asking if anyone had any experience with that.

However I think with those adaptors (bridges) it actually makes a "Network Connection" - I don't want that - I NEED it to apear as a external HARD DRIVE (or compact flash or something)

Thanks for your help though!
a b G Storage
February 27, 2006 5:42:04 PM

Just curious. Why does it have to appear as an external hard drive?
Just wondering if your making this harder than it needs to be. Might be an easier solution if I knew why.
February 27, 2006 6:24:59 PM

yes you want an external 2.5 hd enclosure. here's a some from newegg (this of course requires you to remove the hd from the laptop):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

i think the only time somebody would want something like this versus getting a hub/switch/router is because the laptop died and need to recover data so if you were a bit more specific then people would answer more promptly (my apologies if this is incorrect assumption). the other time, if they want a easy to carry storage system and laptop hd are alot smaller then desktop hd, but this doesnt seem to be your case.
February 27, 2006 6:29:20 PM

Quote:
I know this is somehow possible because I read in a review of Sharp MM20 laptop and it did just that all by itself (with the docking station).

also, here's what i can find about the sharp MM20:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1548264,00.asp

notice it says:
Quote:
Sharp also includes a unique cradle solution and synching software. The Actius MM20 has a proprietary connection port on its left side, which plugs directly into the cradle. The cradle attaches to a desktop PC via a USB 2.0 cable. Once docked, make sure the cradle's DirectHD switch is on, and your desktop will automatically recognize the powered-down MM20 as an external hard drive. Using the SharpSync software, you can easily sync the MM20 with the desktop, transfer files, or run backups. Plug the notebook's AC into the cradle and it will charge the system while docked: A battery life indicator tells you when the battery is fully charged.

key words being Unique Cradle solution as this is not very common. most people who need to transfer from a laptop to a desktop will usually have a network solution.
February 27, 2006 6:58:09 PM

Then you need to go buy that Sharp laptop, re-read the article....it has a proprietary connection.

Think about it, on a typical laptop, HD's have NOTHING to do with USB at all. NO adapter in the world will connect a laptop, without that proprietary technology, to a desktop and have the HD pop up as an external drive.

Basically what's happening with that proprietary connection on the Sharp laptop, is the laptop itself is designed to power up the HD while the laptop is off and with software installed on your desktop recognize the entire Sharp laptop as an external USB device.....nuff said.
February 27, 2006 7:35:58 PM

Basically I need to use it at a place where they let you plug in USB card readers etc. to the Desktop but do not let me add my laptop to the network. So to transfer files I have to dump them to a Compact Flash and then from the Compact Flash to te laptop. I was hoping to avoid the extra step.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
January 26, 2009 3:24:54 PM

I understand the question...I want to do the identical thing...that is how I reached this forum...want to plug in my laptop when I am home to combine files without having to use a thumb/travel drive to do a double transfer each time...thanks...
June 3, 2009 11:27:45 PM

I am looking for the same solution. I would like to use my Asus Eee PC netbook as an external harddrive on my desktop. I have a solution at home to share my harddrive as a network drive, but it doesn't help me at work or at other people's houses or offices. My Palm Centro can be plugged in as an external harddrive, so I know it must be possible, but from what I can tell no one has written the drivers yet.

You can do this with Mac OSX on a Mac Laptop. You just shut the laptop down, plug it into the desktop via USB or FireWire, and then reboot the laptop while you hold down the letter "t".

Then, Ta Da! you have an external harddrive/laptop!

Maybe I should install OSX on my Asus...hmm... (Oh boy I hope Steve Jobs wasn't listening!)
June 13, 2009 5:13:27 PM

Just to check you can make a MacBook running OSX connected to a Windows XP/Vista PC Appear as an external hard drive? Also does the cable for this come with a MacBook?

r_255
December 11, 2009 2:00:31 AM

petreza said:
No, it HAS to be USB. I know there are some kind of adaptors (basically a USB cable with a small adaptor built-in in the middlel of the cable). I was just asking if anyone had any experience with that.

However I think with those adaptors (bridges) it actually makes a "Network Connection" - I don't want that - I NEED it to apear as a external HARD DRIVE (or compact flash or something)

Thanks for your help though!


its just there is an adaptor usb-ethernet. but still u use RJ45 and a CAT5 network cable, but not in your ethernet port, its just the same that your using a crossover networking..
December 11, 2009 2:02:30 AM

IF U WANT TO USE EXTERNAL HARDDRIVE, JUST BUY A 1000GB of it, or the 1.5TB.. dont need to do it in a hard way..
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
March 24, 2010 8:13:43 PM

I have the same expectations. Here is my situation:

I need to make my computer pretend it is an external hdd / usb drive. It should somehow emulate USB properties and "translate" data in as USB drive would do via USB cable. As a complete laymen I do not see any hardware difficulties in accomplishing this task, only the software need for "USB drive emulator" :D 

The reason why I need it:
1) I have eee pc 1008ha with non-removable hdd, so hdd enclosure solution does not work.
2) I need the other device I am connecting to to see it as USB hdd / USB key / memory card or something from this series as it is a JTAGged Xbox 360 i try to connect to.

Thanks, if someone finds a solution or a reasonable explanation of technical difficulties (as "hardware impossible") - share :) 

(and I would not be asking if I had these dollars to buy an external hdd or any hardware)
April 12, 2010 8:14:37 AM

i came to this thread googling the same thing. i always have to copy data from my computer to a usb drive, then connect that to the usb port of my dvd player. i'd like to setup a software so that my movies folder appears as usb drive if i connect the laptops usb to any other usb port. sounds not very hard, but it seems that noone found a solution for that yet.

and please stop suggesting alternate solutions, this thing is interesting in itself, independently of concrete applications.
July 15, 2010 1:33:04 AM

Seems people engrossed in Windows and never really used a Mac aren't understanding what one can do. Mac to Mac with one as an external drive requires a Firewire (IEEE 1394) connection (at least I never tried USB); not very well supported in Windows. This is commonly used when one buys a new Mac and wants to transfer files and installed software from the old Mac to the new one. I have done it from our iMac SE to my PowerMac. When I used Windows and needed to up grade I would use Alohabob's PC Relocator; which came with a USB network cable. Unfortunately MS bought PC Relocator and buried it. After installing SP2 to XP the version I had (v3.x) no longer works. MS is offering no upgrade unless you buy Vista or 7, even then it is unreliable. Tried Vista, got sick, won't even look at 7. So I bought the PowerMac and dumped Windows as my development platform.

However, Apple does not have a tablet PC and the after-market ModBook is gawd awful expensive so I bought a Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC with a multi-base running XP Tablet Ed. Nice enough for the $250 I spent. Old style Graphics tablets and my aging eye-hand abilities make it necessary that I use a drawable screen/tablet for PhotoShop, Manga Studio, and Anime Studio. A Wacom screened graphics tablets start outside of my present budget at around $1000. I don't think so.

I am here now because I would like to try and do the external drive thing with my M200. I.E. work away from my desk, get back to my office, and plug it in as an external drive. Yes, you can do this Mac to Mac (OS X/Unix). Having to man two computers and get into my network is more than I want to be bothered with for this task. And, considering I was able to do this 30 years ago with AT&T Unix SVR32 makes it a bit aggravating.

So, anyone come up with a real solution?
July 15, 2010 4:11:13 AM

afair the mac has to be booted into a special state to enable that, right? if so, the usb controller itself might have to support that, maybe its standard built in things like hand-shake attempts are already wrong for pretending to be a harddisk, so nothing cant be done by software alone?

i dont know anything about this, but i cant think of another reason why noone has done this. if the hardware is no problem it should be quite simple to write a little software that simulates a thing as simple as a usb stick which should have a very limited instruction set.
July 15, 2010 5:55:24 AM

Yes, you do need to boot into "Target Disk Mode." From OS X you go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk -> Target Disk Mode or hold the 'T' key down while booting. The later being the preferred method here. Any Mac running OS X doing this can be attached to another Mac or a Windows computer. The host will see the "Target" computer as an external hard drive. Again I do not know if it would work connected to a USB port. Firewire (IEEE 1394) 400/800 is recommended and what I have experience with. It is a feature of the Mac firmware and not Mac OS; other than Mac OS (v8.6 and later) has the option. Windows, of course, has no such options as most PC/Clone motherboards do not support such a feature.

Guess that last line says it. It ain't gonna happen with a Windows computer. It would either have to be a feature of the motherboard or someone comes up with a Windows application that will restart Windows in a Target Disk Mode. Then again it wouldn't be too hard to make a bootable SD stick with Linux and SAMBA the NTFS drive over a Firewire network.

Hmm, I might have to look into that. I could use a 2bg SD to boot a slim version of openSUSE and host the NTFS drive. As a network share that would be easy, but there's that network thing again. Maybe I can find a "How to" on making a Linux based external drive/array.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
November 21, 2010 6:11:56 PM

I remember a Belkin cable that did the thing. Can't seem to find a link on their now.

This one required proprietary windows software with the cable to do the job
February 26, 2011 5:39:27 PM

I know this is an old forum and you might have found a solution by now, but I have this Targus cable that does almost what you want. It doesn't show up as an external drive, but it lets you transfer files between both computers.

Targus ACC96US High-Speed File Transfer Cable

I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can get it any place if you Google it. The software is located within the cable, so you just plug it in to both computers, boot them both up, and the cable will show up like a flash drive in "My Computer". Open it on both machines and copy and paste whatever you want.
August 17, 2011 6:07:31 AM

antivirus007 said:
its just there is an adaptor usb-ethernet. but still u use RJ45 and a CAT5 network cable, but not in your ethernet port, its just the same that your using a crossover networking..
yes the belkin transfer cable that have usb hook with a little rectangular box n the middle its $19 on dell.com website....danielle g
August 17, 2011 6:09:04 AM

antivirus007 said:
its just there is an adaptor usb-ethernet. but still u use RJ45 and a CAT5 network cable, but not in your ethernet port, its just the same that your using a crossover networking..



Yes it is the belkin transfer cable with usb on each side they have one in dell small business for $19...

modern gal
September 11, 2012 11:43:46 AM

Ok, so I don't understand why someone would want their laptop to be an external hard drive. You may save time uploading files to a flash drive or an external hard drive, but why would you want to carry your laptop with you instead of a flash drive(at least 20 times bigger) If you are too lazy to copy the files, get a dropbox, google drive, or get a huge flash drive(32GB should do), and a program that will monitor all your files and back them up to a flash drive everytime you save something. It might slow down your laptop a little, but you wouldn't have to worry about copying your files to a flash drive.
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