Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Technology

Make a PC Look Like a Firewire or USB Drive? 122

Posted by Cliff
from the optionally-attached-storage dept.
buckinm asks: "Here's the problem: I have a Windows laptop that I use for work. When I'm at home though, I much rather use my Mac. Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac. What I'd like to know, is there any software out there that would make the PC act like a Firewire or USB drive? I'd want to be able to mount it read/write. I know I could do some sort of rsync of thing when not connected to the VPN, but that seems like too much trouble. I wouldn't be against writing something like that, if I could get some idea of what is required to listen / respond to traffic on the Firewire or USB ports."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Make a PC Look Like a Firewire or USB Drive?

Comments Filter:
  • At first glance I thought this was an article about cramming PC parts into a Firewire drive enclosure, along the lines of the stories that proliferated after the release of the Mac Mini:)
  • Possible, I think (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:21PM (#11770582) Homepage
    I see no reason that it shouldn't be possible. Macs can do this. You boot them while holding "F" or "D" or "Command-F" or "Command-D" or something. They sit there and act like a firewire disk. I think you can even access the CD drive in them.

    As for the PC side, I don't know. It's obviously possible, but I haven't heard of it. The Tinkerer in me says make a switch that disconnects the HD from the computer and connects it to a IDE->Firewire adaptor you hide in the case. Switch in one position it's a normal computer. Switch in the other it's a firewire disk.

    Good luck.

    • Re:Possible, I think (Score:5, Informative)

      by nuxx (10153) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:32PM (#11770712) Homepage
      For what it's worth, you hold T and it puts it in 'T'arget disk mode. This is so damn handy for when you've got a b0rked OS install, but you want to recover the data. It's so much easier than pulling the disk and sticking it in an external enclosure, especially in laptops...
    • by peragrin (659227)
      You press and hold the T key during boot.

      No you can't do it with x86 bios.
      No you can't do it with the cheap hardware.

      Target disk mode as i understand it loads up the kernel and just enough hardware/software to operate the drives, as an external drive enclosure.

      The only reason Apple can giveyou cool features like that is because they have a tight control of their systems.

      • The only reason Apple can giveyou cool features like that is because they have a tight control of their systems.

        What's stopping an x86 motherboard manufacturer from providing the exact same feature? I would hope they have tight control of their systems, too.
        • Because the motherboard manufacturer's only control the motherboard, and in some cases either the video card or the CPU, not the memory, hard drive, sound card, TV tuner card, Firewire card, network card or pretty much anything else that Apple keeps tightly under their control.

          You'll only see this in items like laptops where the manufacturer does keep tight controls over the entire product, like the ones that can play CDs or DVDs without booting up into an OS for example.

          But then again you won't be able t
          • Re:Possible, I think (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Joseph Vigneau (514) *
            Because the motherboard manufacturer's only control the motherboard, and in some cases either the video card or the CPU, not the memory, hard drive, sound card, TV tuner card, Firewire card, network card or pretty much anything else that Apple keeps tightly under their control.

            More and more motherboards have this stuff on board, particularly Firewire and USB controllers. With a smarter BIOS (maybe even LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org]), those manufacturers could provide a service similar to Apple's Target Disk Mode.

            FWIW, Appl
          • Interestingly my motherboard has all that stuff except the TV tuner onboard. Many of them are even from the same manufacturer. VIA in particular has all of that stuff themselves (they have their own CPU, chipsets, video card, network, firewire, usb, multi-io, raid, and just about everything else) so they have complete control over what goes on their mini-itx boards for example.
      • Re:Possible, I think (Score:4, Informative)

        by Ster (556540) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @06:02PM (#11771152)
        Actually, the kernel isn't involved at all. It's all done in OpenFirmware.

        Back when PowerBooks used SCSI, it turned the 'Book into a SCSI drive. I believe there was a Control Panel you could use that would set the SCSI ID that it would use.

        It's not just for PowerBooks anymore, though. Any[*] Mac with built-in FireWire can do Target Disk Mode.

        [*] I'm pretty sure it's "Any", but it might just be "Most". Certainly works for old "Sawtooth" PowerMac G4s on up, and iMac DVs on up, in addition to the laptops.

        -Ster
        • I don't think you can use a Blue and White G3 or Yikes! G4 in Target Disk Mode
          • Dunno about the G4 but you're spot on for the G3. And, in the case of the powerbooks, it was implemented with hardware. The system just became a SCSI enclosure. I have a whole bunch of old busted PB160, 160c, 180, 180c sitting here in my room (well ok about 6 laptops) that I need to get rid of pronto... None of them have batteries or chargers though. Time to find a receptive dumpster...
      • No you can't do it with x86 bios.

        No you can't do it with the cheap hardware.

        Sure you can do it with cheap hardware [google.com] All a vendor would have to do is integrate something like this into their product, and provide power only to the drive (have the MB not access the disk.) These adapters generally sell for $20 or less on Ebay, so all we really need is someone to actually do it, there's no reason this couldn't work, on any bios.

    • Re:Possible, I think (Score:4, Informative)

      by sigjuice (769539) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:47PM (#11770945)
      Sharp Actius MM notebooks can be used as USB drives when they are docked and charging in their cradles. http://www.sharpsystems.com/products/pc_notebooks/ actius/mm/ [sharpsystems.com]
    • On a PC, it could be possible to implement some kind of micro-OS, probably fitting on a floppy disk, that contains drivers for firewire and IDE and behaves just like the little chip inside external Firewire-to-IDE cases. It does not need to be very smart: There is no need to know anything about partitions or filesystems, this is the job of the machine mounting the drive via firewire. Accessing a single IDE drive on the primary master connector is easy, just simple port-I/O (unless you want performance). I d

  • by ForestGrump (644805) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:21PM (#11770586) Homepage Journal
    the firewire interface has a tcp/ip stack.
  • You'll want .... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:23PM (#11770609) Homepage

    ...the gadget device driver and API [linux-usb.org]. From the linked page:
    The API makes it easy for peripherals and other devices embedding GNU/Linux system software to act in the USB "device" (slave) role. The drivers implementing and using that API combine to make a useful driver framework for Linux systems that implement USB peripherals.

    • The gadget driver operates a USB *peripheral* port. It's meant for use in embedded systems like printers. Your PC does not have a USB peripheral port, it has only host ports. The USB protocol is asymmetric; you're not going to connect an Apple and a PC using their USB host ports.
    • firewire != USB.
      mac fanboys: yes, firewire drive mode is great, but has nothing to do with this problem. he wants a way to access the files over USB. I looked into it myself when i had a bad case of mac envy, but usb is a master/slave model, devices are classified either as masters, or slaves, not both, and as far as i know, 2 of the same type are not able to communice via the usb protocol. it looks like the above poster has software to allow a server to emulate a slave device, but firwire is more of a pee
      • I just went and took a look see at the USB gadget device driver page, and it looks like in fact, master/slave is set set set in hardware, and that little bit of software is for embedded devices that run linux and have slave style usb hardware. So I guess the answer to this ask slashdot is no, there is no possible way to hook up his laptop as a USB hard drive.
      • firewire != USB.
        Very Ture


        mac fanboys: yes, firewire drive mode is great, but has nothing to do with this problem. he wants a way to access the files over USB.


        The question also mentions Firewire as an option.

        Make a PC Look Like a Firewire or USB Drive?
        Posted by Cliff on 02-24-05 04:16 PM
        from the optionally-attached-storage dept.
        buckinm asks: "Here's the problem: I have a Windows laptop that I use for work. When I'm at home though, I much rather use my Mac. Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I
    • Also from the linked page, right at the top of the page:

      The <linux/usb_gadget.h> API makes it easy for peripherals and other devices embedding GNU/Linux system software to act in the USB "device" (slave) role. The drivers implementing and using that API combine to make a useful driver framework for Linux systems that implement USB peripherals.

      Many Linux systems will not be able to use it, since they only have PC-style USB Host (master) hardware in a PC, workstation, or server. But when you're putti

  • Simplest way:

    Share the drive with SAMBA. Windows (and probably every other modern OS) supports Ethernet-over-Firewire.

    Mount SAMBA share with IP-over-Firewire.

    Problem solved.
    • Re:Simplest way: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wowbagger (69688) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:28PM (#11770669) Homepage Journal
      This probably WON'T work, for the same reason he cannot use Samba over normal Ethernet.

      Most VPN clients, in order to protect the network you are VPN'ing into, will shut down all other connections - they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

      So doing IP over Firewire will work, right up to the time the VPN client kills it.

      I'd suggest finding a small Linksys/Dlink (but NOT BELKIN) router that has Cisco VPN client support - the router will handle the VPN, and you can plug both your Mac and your PC into it.
      • Doh.

        That's a pain...although I suppose it makes sense.

        Thanks for clarifying.
      • Re:Simplest way: (Score:4, Informative)

        by FreeLinux (555387) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:42PM (#11770884)
        they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

        Too true. and adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

        route add mac'sIP mask 255.255.255.255 eth0'sIP

        It may also be necessary to add a host route for the local eth0 interface as well, depends on how far your VPN client goes. I'd put it in a batch file so that I could run it each time I bring up the VPN.
        • they set the VPN interface to be the default route, and then they remove any other routes.

          Too true. and adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

          Some VPNs do more than just change routing; they block all non-VPN traffic, route or not. Checkpoint can do this, for example (it can also be configured not to do this).

          • Re:Simplest way: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
            A Google search turned up this document that shows that the Cisco VPN client is cabable of split tunneling [cisco.com].

            The AskSlashdotter needs to RTFM.
            • A Google search turned up this document that shows that the Cisco VPN client is cabable of split tunneling [cisco.com].

              The AskSlashdotter needs to RTFM.

              From that link: You enable split tunneling and configure the network list on the VPN device.

              In other words, the admin who controls the VPN device (not the client) controls whether the client can do split tunnelling. It's probably off - it should be to be prevent the VPN client being a conduit for the outside world into the company.

              Assuming he is no

        • That won't work with the Cisco VPN client, as one example. It does some weird kernel shit to stop local LAN access from userspace. Even root can't get around it.

          Yeah, you could hack their kernel module to disable this "feature" but that's a real bitch.

        • Re:Simplest way: (Score:4, Informative)

          by Tintivilus (88810) <{gro.sulivitnit} {ta} {sulivitnit}> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @07:03PM (#11771757)

          adding a host route or two resolves the issue.

          This likely won't work either... the Nortel client, for example, automatically disconnects if *any* routing table changes are made after the client connects. Makes it a real pain to use networked printers at home, too.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          The Cisco client does some low level stuff that if I understand it correctly, actually installs a new low level IP stack under the OS's that you have no control over or access to. The OS's stack is fully under the control of the VPN client since all traffic has to pass through it's private stack. It's funny, you can't even ping your own defaut gateway, the one the VPN traffic is traveling through.

          The way around it is to use another stack. IPX might work but the simplest one i've found the IPv6 stack. I
          • Hack the damn thing (Score:3, Informative)

            by JackAsh (80274)

            The Cisco client does some low level stuff that if I understand it correctly, actually installs a new low level IP stack under the OS's that you have no control over or access to. The OS's stack is fully under the control of the VPN client since all traffic has to pass through it's private stack. It's funny, you can't even ping your own defaut gateway, the one the VPN traffic is traveling through.

            The way around it is to use another stack. IPX might work but the simplest one i've found the IPv6 stack. It's

      • sheesh, the number of people that haven't understood this and have posted some networking file sharing mothod is amazing.

        Mod the parent up please.
      • Instead of going through TCP/IP, is it still possible to use NetBEUI on newer versions of Windows? Is it possible to use NetBEUI on Macs? And, does the Cisco VPN kill NetBEUI too?
    • ssh tunnel home from work on port open through firewall (80/443/etc). run nfs over ssh tunnel. No need for vpn tunnel. Not that I have done this. No sirree.
  • Not sure, but adding a 2nd ethernet card might help. You could run a network separate from your main uplink, only between the Mac and the PC.
    • That shouldn't work. Any worthwhile VPN setup will disallow network connections that don't travel trough the tunnel. This is why the submitter needs a 'network-less' connection to share the information.

  • Easy on a mac (Score:2, Informative)

    by elliotj (519297)
    Hold down COMMAND+T when you boot for "target disk mode". Makes your computer into a firewire drive.

    This is great if you want to use the HDD of your Powerbook G4 on your friend's G5 tower. I think you can even set it to be the boot disk.

    Macs rule.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    SCSI and FireWire Disk Modes
    2000.11.29
    Paulo Rodrigues

    Our Fair Computer Company has released some quirky yet useful features in its computer systems and OS, and then advertised them very little, if at all. Apple's SCSI Disk Mode, and it's modernized offspring, FireWire Target Disk Mode, are excellent examples.
    SCSI Disk Mode

    SCSI Disk Mode, introduced way back in October 1991 on the PowerBook 100, allowed you to mount your PowerBook's hard drive on another Mac using a funny $30 cable made called PowerBook 10
  • by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:48PM (#11770972) Homepage Journal
    Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac

    OK, you have a PC laptop. You have a Cisco VPN. You have files. What files do you need to share?

    If the files are on the laptop, just network the 2 boxes at home and share the files, right?

    If the files are at work, get a Cisco VPN solution for the Mac (I used one for years).

    If IT won't help (surprise, right?), and you're determined to break the law/policy/whatever, there are a lot of options:

    Add an interface on the laptop and set it up as a router.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/openvpn/, maybe over http://www.nocrew.org/software/httptunnel.html (either from the laptop or a machine in the office).

    Maybe run the VPN in an emulator layer (http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/), give it access to the local filesystem, let the "outter layer" windows export the same filesystem, keep updating using rsync (just brainstorming, here).

    Or just keep it simple, stupid. Get an external firewire drive, dump the files you need, and swap it to/from the mac/laptop.
    • I think, perhaps, the person asking the question would like to be able to access the files on the PC and VPN simultaneously. He said he could do an rsync type thing prior to initiating the VPN, but that's too much work.

      Given that many VPN solutions are configured to not allow split tunneling, you cannot access your local LAN IP addresses while connected via VPN. I believe the Cisco client by default disallows split tunnelling, but that may be a server side setting that is negotiated, I'm not 100% sure.

      S
      • So, let's rephrase: How can I access the information on my PC without using IP?

        I've never worked for a company that didn't allow any outside access at all (including web). If there is ANY outside access (carrier pidgeon, http, ssh, etc), I would set up a tunnel. Either from the laptop in question (in which case you'll be routing through the company and back to your mac), or from a machine at work.

        If not, I'd try a windows in a box solution and do the mirroring in there.

        Either way, we don't have enough
  • Sounds like you want Target Disk mode for PCs, but I don't think that such a beast exists. I believe Target Disk mode is a lower level feature than the OS (perhaps in Open Firmware?). I don't know a BIOS that supports anything similar, though I am no maven there.

    You could put your Mac into Target Disk mode on your PC, but then you'd have to software for the PC that reads HFS+ formatted disks. Ugh...

    IP-over-FireWire won't work because the VPN client locks out other network connections, so that knocks that
    • > software for the PC that reads HFS+ formatted
      > disks. Ugh...

      It isn't that simple. Target mode doesn't turn the mac into a real firewire device, it is a special device which only MacOS has a driver for. Even Linux, with great firewire support and HFS+ support, you cannot mount the "disk".
      • I just booted my iBook G4 into target disk mode and connected it to my Linux box (SB Audigy's firewire port). The iBook showed up as sda and I was able to mount sda3 as hfsplus just fine. (on Macs the first and second partitions are not real partitions but the driver and partition map, iirc). To make it work you not only need hfsplus compiled into the kernel or as a module but you also need to compile in mac partition table support.
        • I tried it in the past with my G3 Powerbook and my Linux box and found it did not work. The PowerBook never registered with the sbp2 driver, it didn't get to a point where partition maps would even matter. I was explained at the time that the Powerbook wasn't an sbp2 device, it had its own protocol.

          I'll try it again, though, perhaps recent kernels have support for this now.. (or maybe they changed something in newer models)
    • If you are willing to tear out your drive each time you work at home, then I suppose you could use one of the Wiebe Tech USB/FireWire enclosures, but I doubt that would be worth your time.

      I would think that it would be easier to turn off the VPN client than tear out the drive; I'm assuming there's some reason he wants to be simultaneously VPN'd on the PC and accessing that PC's drives from the Mac.
    • but then you'd have to software for the PC that reads HFS+ formatted disks. Ugh...

      There are a few utilities that do that: MacOpener [dataviz.com], MacDrive [media4.com], TransMac [asy.com], and (also for *n*x) TransferPro [dit.com]

  • Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work, I can't mount the drives on the PC from the Mac.
    So, shut down your VPN client and close the VPN pseudo-connection. Then establish an ordinary network connection with your Mac.
  • by Taladar (717494) on Thursday February 24, 2005 @05:58PM (#11771102)
    Use a Linux-Live-CD or USB-Boot or even Floppy to boot a minimal Linux with Samba, NFS or whatever fits your Mac best and share the files with that. Switching is as easy as removing the CD from the Drive and rebooting.
    • Or even just a small Linux partition to dual-boot into.

      Or a small Linux partition, plus an unfetterd second Windows partition. Lilo is a useful bootloader, and can 'make' partitions on a system boot 'Windows' that Windows itself doesn't comprehend (this may not be as easy as it used to be, back when I had Slackware 3.4 and a whole handful of different DOS and Windows partitions on a single system)

  • Use the Cisco VPN [cisco.com] client for Mac OSX? Am I missing something here?

    Sera

    • Am I missing something here?

      Yes.

      It doesn't matter which computer uses the VPN client, he's still not going to be able to use the network to do this, as he implies in the posting. The Cisco VPN can be set to prevent ALL network traffic that's not VPN traffic, and the setting is maintained at the company's end, so he can't change it.


      • Thus using the Cisco VPN client...

        Since we use Cisco's VPN client at work

        It tells me that what he meant was that they have Cisco servers. From my home I can use Windows, Mac, or linux to VPN into work. This is the whole reason to use VPN. If he is at work using VPN to get into thier own network .... then he should be able to do it from anywhere on the Net. If they block external access - then I have to ask why in the world they have a network set up that way - not trusting internal clients is odd at best

        • No, he's saying that his company uses Cisco's VPN solution, which happens to include the need to use the Cisco VPN client on his home computer to access the VPN. It's a somewhat proprietary system. The restrictions I explained earlier apply to this client.
  • I looked into this a while back.
    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 &c2coff=1&threadm=79240318.0302052128.2ac4b7de%40p osting.google.com&rnum=8&prev=/groups%3Fq%3Dcisco% 2B%2522default%2Bgateway%2522%2Bvpn%2Bclient%26hl% 3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26c2coff%3D1%26sa%3DN%26 tab%3Dwg [google.com]
    is a summary of what I found then.

    There is an option "allow local LAN access" on the "transport" tab of the VPN client setup. However, according to the Usenet post above:

    "... the admi
    • "... the administrator has the final say whether or not clients can do local LAN, both by enabling/or/ not enable "split tunnelling" in the concentrator GROUP/CLIENT CONFIG. Without split tunnelling your stuck sending everything through the tunnel. You are only allowed to speak to your DEFAULT gateway, I.E the ISP ROUTER. Nothing you can do with the client will override this."

      Correct. The VPN Concentrator has to be configured to allow local LAN access and can even restrict the addresses used, for exampl
  • Its a bad idea anyway.

    Even Apple is dropping Firewire. [slashdot.org]

    USB wins! Yea! What did it win?
  • Get a USB of firewire hard drive and back up you notebooks drive to it. Hook it up to you Mac and you at least have all your data. Could be a good reason to get an iPod.
  • OpenFirmware [openfirmware.org] is a hell of a lot more featureladen than the PC's BIOS. While attempts to update BIOS are ongoing (see LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org]), a more effective shortterm solution is to emulate part of the functionality: boot off a livecd/floppy and network/fileshare over tcpip (nic or firewire). I'd advise u to look towards the always excellent Bart Lagerweij site [nu2.nu]
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Thursday February 24, 2005 @08:44PM (#11772579) Journal
    Is there a program that will make my Pocket PC (Asus 716) behave like a normal USB drive so I can copy stuff on and off of it without needing the ActiveSync app installed?
  • There is support in newer Linux kernels for doing just this, only for SCSI (or was it an external patch)? I think it was originally meant for SANs and such, but you could probably get about the effect you want from it if you can find the patch :-)

    /* Steinar */

  • Well, as others have pointed out, the obvious solution to his problem is to shut down the VPN and then mount the drives across the network. That's so obvious, even by normal "Ask Slashdot" standards, that I'm going to assume there's some reason it won't work.

    I'm guessing that he wants to be pull down files from work to his PC, then use the Mac to modify the files, and then push the files from his PC back to work. If we further assume that he can't (effectively) add entries to his PC's route table when th
    • My best suggestion would be to go sneakernet -- get yourself a small removeable storage medium (an iPod, a USB drive, a floppy, a digitil camera, whatever), and just transfer the files from one machine to the other that way.

      I agree. Assuming that the complication here is that he needs the laptop running Windows as a VPN client to work, all the other suggestions such as SAMBA or live Linux CD won't work. But I wonder, does the VPN also shut out port 5900? If it doesn't, he can always run a VNC server and

  • The whole point of having a VPN and a work computer is to isolate and secure your work data.

    By propagating your work data to your home PC (even if it is a more secure Macintosh) increases the chance that something is going to go wrong. The IT/IS people at work gave you laptops so you could work at home on the laptop. They set up a VPN so that you could SECURELY connect and work from anywhere. Is the simple convienience of working on your personal computer worth the risks of bypassing a reasonably secure se
    • wierd I am not "bucking the man" but i totally agree with the parent poster.

      if you do have personal data on the laptop just use a removable harddrive if they are huge files or a thumbdrive if they're smallish.

      all that aside The laptop "_SHOULD_" have the programs you need to work iwth the files on it. what of compatibility issues? say something you save on the mac embedds something in a way one of the inferior pcs that have to deal with your jobs output can't handle?

      I get files all the time that "_SHOU
      • he'd have to actually move the mouse since he doesn't know any keyboard shortcuts.

        "I hold down the button while I click?" (last week, about holding ctrl to select multiple files)

        He's used windows for 8 years now.

        cringe
  • FireWire host-controllers in PCs are symmetric as far as I know, so you could theoretically have a PC behave like a FireWire drive (i.e. speak SBP2). The protocol itself is a form of RDMA - which means FireWire controllers export their hosts as addressable 48bit memory ranges. Should be symmetric.

    USB host-controller in PCs are different. In USB, only the host-controller can bus-master - i.e. initiate transactions on the USB bus - no other device on the bus can. I believe this is specified in the protocol i

  • something like a pc-linq cable [google.com] or some such - check the google text ads on the right...

    I am pretty sure it works with macs too.
  • You could try another approach...

    Buy a cheap USB-to-ethernet adapter, and run a 2nd network to your laptop. VPN over the primary NICr, and shared drive over the secondary NIC.

    Note that I have not tried this, but *in theory* is should work. It, however, depends upon how the VPN software is written.

    If you check out the sales, even if this does NOT work, you should only be out $10 or so (assuming that your Mac can talk to a cheap USB NIC - check for compatability before you buy).
  • by WhyCause (179039) on Friday February 25, 2005 @11:46AM (#11777580)
    I needed to do this when I upgraded from an old Win98 desktop to my current WInXP laptop. The best solution (cost wise) that I found was a USB to USB bridge cable.

    I purchased an IOgear Smartlink cable [iogear.com]. I had to use USB 1.1 due to OS and hardware inadequacies, but there may be a USB 2.0 option (though I don't see it on the IOgear site). The connection software is pretty crummy-looking, but it works, and their site claims that it supports Macs as well Windows (although I have not used it on a Mac). Since it's USB 1.1, it is as slow as molassass for entire-drive transfers, and you may prefer a different method.

    Another option I looked into was an ethernet crossover cable, which, I believe swaps two of the wires over the course of the cable run. This was available at RadioShack [radioshack.com] (and I am sure other places). I decided not to go down this route, and it sounds like a no go for you as well, but I'm including it for the sake of completeness.

    The third thing that might work is an external harddrive. I didn't use one because of the expense, but it may be worth it if you don't want to wait while your files transfer via USB. If you're doing smallish (less than 1GB) transfers, a thumb-drive may be the easiest way to do this.

    It is VERY important that you do not try a straight USB to USB connection without the bridge cable. I understand that it can fry the USB ports on the machines. If you look at the image of the Smartlink cable on the page linked above, you'll see a bulge in the middle of the cable. That's the USB 'slave' that allows both computers to act as masters when doing the file transfer. FireWire may be a different story though, as you may just be able to plug it right in (no guarantees, though).

If I want your opinion, I'll ask you to fill out the necessary form.

Working...