How to share USB devices between two computers

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Looking for an efficient way to share USB devices between two computers? In this article, we will highlight two popular methods to achieve this. The first one is a software tool called FlexiHub - a compact app designed for sharing USB peripherals over the Internet. The other solution is known as a hardware USB switch; it provides the ability to share devices among computers without the need of networking those devices. Each of these methods has its pros and cons. Learn more about them below.

Sharing a USB device with multiple computers - software methods

So why would you need to know how to share a USB device between two computers? If you’re using USB peripherals, at some point you may need to gain access to a USB device plugged into another computer. Surely, it wouldn’t be a problem if that computer is within your reach, so every time you want to access a USB device you can just disconnect it from that other computer and then attach it to your PC. But what if the computer with a physically connected USB device were located miles away from your local PC? Probably the best solution would be to resort to the help of a dedicated software tool - FlexiHub.

How to share one USB device with two computers with Flexihub

FlexiHub

Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
4.8 Rank based on 78+ users
By using FlexiHub you’ll be able to share a USB device between two computers regardless of the distance between them.
FlexiHub

Or, even more than two devices, no matter how far apart they are located - in different rooms or in the opposite hemispheres. USB over Ethernet is a high-functional software that allows you to share an unlimited amount of USB devices over any distance no matter what platforms are used. And what is still better, no additional wiring will be necessary for FlexiHub provides you with full access to your USB device via the Internet.

The software can serve as a virtual USB hub for multiple computers.


This is how it works:
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1
Register your FlexiHub account to get a free trial.
 flexihub account
2
Download FlexiHub and install it on the computer with a USB device you wish to share and also on all the PCs that need to get remote access to that device. Once installed, launch the application and sign in to your account.
 sign up flexihub trial
3
On a remote computer, find your USB device in the list shown in the FlexiHub interface and click the “Connect’ button next to it.
 Log in to connect usb to virtualbox
4
That’s how easy it is to arrange for a USB device located halfway around the world to show up in your computer’s Device Manager.
 add usb to virtualbox

You will find more details in the video tutorial below:

Try the software USB device switch for free!
7-day trial subscription

How to connect one USB device to two computers over LAN

USB Network Gate is another popular solution helping you access the same USB peripheral from different computers. The software is capable of sharing USB ports over LAN so you will have no problem connecting your devices to one, two, or many networked machines.

One of the greatest things about the program is that it’s compatible with the Microsoft RDP and Citrix ICA protocols. It also provides support for the native RemoteFX USB redirection. This means you can easily share your local USB devices between two machines while working in your RDP session.

USB Network Gate is easy to install and use. Here is how you can connect to a USB device remotely with this handy app:

  1. First, you install USB Network Gate on the server computer - the one to which a USB peripheral is attached directly. Then, install it on the client machine from which you are going to remotely connect to the device.
  2. Once done, start the software on the server and share the device by clicking the button next to the device’s name in the “Local devices” tab.
  3. After that, find the device in the software interface on the client PC and click “Connect”. (The shared device can be found in the “Remote devices” tab.)

That’s it! The device will appear on the remote computer without being physically connected to that machine.

Now any time you will want to switch the device between different computers you can use the “Connect” and “Disconnect” buttons in the friendly software interface.

Note: USB Network Gate and FlexiHub provide the ability to connect to a USB device from one computer at a time. You cannot access one peripheral from several machines simultaneously.

This video guide illustrates the steps for connecting USB to multiple machines:

Sharing USB devices between two computers by using a hardware USB switch

share usb between two computers

There is one more effective method to access your USB device from several PCs - by using a USB switch. It’s a handy hardware solution that helps you to share any USB devices (MFDs, memory sticks, external drives, card readers, etc.) with other users. And using a USB 3.0 sharing switch you’ll be able to throw over a whole bunch of USB devices from one machine to another just at the push of a button.

So all it takes to share a USB between two computers is a few simple steps:

  1. Step 1: Plug the USB device (or a USB hub with some devices attached) you’d like to share into the USB sharing switch.
  2. Step 2: Now connect your USB switch between two computers you want to share USB peripherals with.
  3. Step 3: Whenever you need to use your USB peripherals on another PC, just push the button on the switch to flip them over. And that would be it, as easy as one-two-three.

Benefits and pitfalls of each method

When choosing between software and hardware methods to share USB devices between multiple computers, users usually take into consideration the following important factors:

  1. How many devices can be shared at the same time.

    Software solutions like FlexiHub or USB Network Gate have a clear advantage over a hardware USB splitter or switch on that front. Software applications have no limitations on the number of devices to share while a hardware tool is always limited to the number of USB ports it offers.

  2. The distance of work.

    Thanks to the ability to redirect USB device data over the network (LAN or the Internet), the software solutions allow connecting to devices from anywhere no matter the device location, whereas hardware USB splitter cables are limited by the distance.

  3. The ease of use.

    All that is required for sharing a device with FlexiHub is a couple of mouse clicks. No complicated settings, wiring, or configurations.

  4. The price.

    Hardware USB switches are usually chosen because of their affordable price. But taking into account the powerful feature set offered by the FlexiHub and USB Network Gate software, their price seems to be perfectly reasonable.

FlexiHub

Requirements: Windows 7/8/10, Server 2012/2016/2019
Size: 6.97MB
Version: 4.1.12932 ()
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users)