How to share a USB device between two computers

Olga Weis

Have you ever had trouble trying to share a USB device between two computers? Well, if you rely on USB peripherals on a daily basis, you are likely to be familiar with the situation when it’s required to access a USB device inserted into one machine from another PC. Of course, if computers are located close to each other, you can simply unplug the peripheral from one machine and plug it into another one any time you need to make use of the device’s functionality. This way seems to be not that convenient, however. But guess what? In this article we’ll tell you about two great methods to share USB devices among multiple computers with nothing more than a couple of clicks or one push of a button.

Contents


  1. USB Network Gate: software tool
  2. USB switch: hardware solution
  3. Pros and cons of each method

USB Network Gate: software tool


No matter how far the required USB device is from your computer (in the next room, in another city, or on the other part of the world), as long as you use the dedicated software, USB Network Gate, you’ll be able to connect to this remote peripheral from your PC. The advanced functionality of the app lets share a limitless number of USB devices among different platforms over any distance. Best of all, you won’t need any cables or wires, the software will help you redirect and access a valuable device over the Internet.

USB Network Gate: software tool

Here’s how it works:


  1. First, you download the program and install it on both machines: the PC with a USB device attached (the server) and a client PC that will access the device remotely.
  2. Next, share the device in the app’s interface on the server machine.
  3. Start the software on the client computer and connect to the shared device. This is it! A few simple steps and a USB device placed miles away is shown in the Device Manager of your computer.

USB switch: hardware solution


Now, let’s consider another efficient way to share USB devices with multiple computers. USB switch is a hardware solution that provides a convenient means to share one or several USB peripherals (USB external hard drives, USB flash drives, USB memory card readers, USB multi-function printers, etc.) between different users. With the specialized hardware, USB 3.0 sharing switch, you can change the connection of a single set of USB devices from one computer to another. All it takes is a simple press of the button on the hardware device.

USB switch: hardware solution

Here’s how you can share one, two, or several USB devices between two computers:


  1. Connect your USB switch to the USB device you’d like to share (it may be a USB hub with several peripherals attached).
  2. Next, connect your USB switch between two computers which will get access to the USB device.
  3. Now, when you press the button on your USB switch, the USB device attached to the hardware will change its connection from one machine to another. That’s it! It’s really that simple.

Pros and cons of each method


As we can see, both solutions are able to make USB peripherals available for access from multiple computers which greatly simplifies the use of devices. It’s obvious, however, that the software solution provides more benefits for users. Not limited by the distance, USB Network Gate works over any network (LAN, Wi-Fi, the Internet) with any number of USB peripherals. Above that, the dedicated app supports USB passthrough to virtual environment and works perfectly well over RDP. On the other hand, the main advantage of the hardware tool is its affordable price. However, with the powerful feature set offered by USB Network Gate the price for the software solution seems to be fully justified.

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USB Network Gate

Requirements for Windows: XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10, Server 2012
Also available on macOS, Linux OS and Android , 5.62MB size
Version 8.0.1859 () Release notes