Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Copying a USB drive without a computer is unlikely. Even a USB duplication device will need to be some sort of computer.

Is it possible to copy or transfer files from one USB drive to another USB drive without a computer? For example, a desktop, a laptop, and so on?

In this excerpt from Answercast #101, I look at the possibility of copying files from one USB drive to another without using a computer.

Copy USB without a computer

The pragmatic answer is no. You need something into which you can plug both of the USB drives in order to actually perform the copy operation. That means a computer.

There may very well be duplication devices out there. In other words, devices that are dedicated to the function of copying from one USB device to another. The problem is that ultimately what they are - is a computer!

USB duplication devices

If that's really important enough to you, I'm sure you can look into USB duplication devices. I know that since some companies actually distribute software on USB devices, they clearly have a way of mass producing them. That involves mass copying from a master copy to a bunch of USB devices.

If that's what you're looking for, I'm sure that kind of stuff exists - but if you're just looking for a way to take a couple of random USB devices that you happen to have and copy from one to the other, you're going to need a computer to actually perform that operation. I'm not aware of any consumer level hardware or equipment that would allow you to do something like that.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

End of Answercast 101 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C6390 - April 8, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
Eric Bloch
April 9, 2013 2:43 PM

Look for "macally syncbox"

steven
April 9, 2013 7:47 PM

try this(A google search)
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&gs_rn=8&gs_ri=psy-ab&gs_mss=usb%20duplicator%20h&cp=19&gs_id=1n&xhr=t&q=usb+duplicator+hardware&es_nrs=true&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&oq=usb+duplicator+hard&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.44990110,d.dmg&fp=e06ac1f34cda67ef&biw=1024&bih=653

johnpro2
April 11, 2013 2:11 AM

Belkin has supplied usb duplicating devices for many years ..just Google.
Jp

TERRY HUFF
April 12, 2013 10:14 AM

LEO:
I could not help chuckling about the idea of
copying one usb to another. I laugh not at
the writer but at the ingenuity of incessantly
pushing the envelope. This could be a splendid
idea to put to Jameco Electronics because they
have an area where ideas like this can be
suggested to hobbyists who first will design a circuit and then follow thru with a circuit board
and a kit. It can be a lot of fun.
Keep up the good work and keep poking new
ideas.
terry huff.

Billy Bob
April 14, 2013 8:22 AM

How does a request like this originate, though? Maybe something like:

I need to share my top secret space ship plans with my team mates but we can't use a computer because the CIA is monitoring my computers because they are afraid I will make contact with aliens when my buddies and I fly into space. Yeah, and I keep a tinfoil hat on my computers too, so the aliens can't steal my data!

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