How Do I Transfer Files from PC to PC Using Ethernet Cable?

Read this detailed post to learn a step-by-step tutorial to know how to transfer files from PC to PC with or without Ethernet. It is OK if you have a spare LAN cable or not, you can try one of the provided ways or use a free file sync software.


By Lily Updated on June 12, 2024

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User case: how to transfer files between computers


How do I transfer files from PC to PC using an Ethernet cable?

If I want to transfer files between two PCs, and all I have is an Ethernet cable, how can it be done? I've read/seen about Windows easy transfer, but when I tried it (with an Ethernet cable connecting the two PCs), it says cannot find an easy transfer cable.
Can files be transferred by simply connecting the two PCs using an Ethernet cable? (apparently, that doesn't work---need settings? router or what? I thought the router was for wireless??)

- Question from City-Data Forum

Benefits of transferring files from PC to PC with an Ethernet cable

When you get a new computer, you will need to transfer files between computers. If there is a small number of files to be transferred, USB flash drives can be a good choice to help you with data transfer. But if there is a large number of files to be moved, using an Ethernet cable may be more efficient.

Compared with USB flash drives, an Ethernet cable has the following advantages:

· More suitable for transferring plenty of files: There’s no capacity limit if you transfer data with an Ethernet cable.
· Faster transfer speed: The physical connection between computers via Ethernet cable makes data transfer faster.
· Avoid repetitive work of plugging and removing USB flash drives: Moreover, you won’t be worried about connection problems and spend extra time repairing pen drives not detected on the computer.

However, there may be some cases where the PC-to-PC file transfer via LAN cable is not working or transferring files from PC to PC over Ethernet cable is too complicated, so a free PC migration tool is covered for you. Please read on and learn how to transfer data from PC to PC without or using a LAN cable in Windows 11/10/8/7.

If you already have an Ethernet cable, you can click here for a detailed tutorial.

Best free tool to transfer files between computers

As long as the two computers are on the same wireless or wired network, you can transfer files between computers even without an Ethernet cable. AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free PC-to-PC file transfer software, can complete the task easily. You can benefit a lot from the following features:

📍 Various sync locations

You can synchronize PC files to local folders, network shared folders, NAS devices, or cloud drives and vice versa. You can also sync two external hard drives and the like.

⏰ Automatic file sync

It enables you to create a schedule to auto-run the file sync task daily/weekly/monthly.

📮 Batch file transfer

It supports transferring multiple folders simultaneously, thus saving you from tedious work.

💻 Compatibility

It works with all Windows PCs running Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP (32-bit and 64-bit).

Wanna try it out? Just download the freeware right now!

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

👍 Fastest way to transfer files between computers on the same network

1. Launch AOMEI Backupper on the source computer. Click "Sync" and select "Basic Sync".

File Sync


It also provides other three sync features, and they are available in the professional version.

  • Mirror Sync: This feature can always keep the source directory the same as the target directory. So, any extra files in the target folder will be deleted.
  • Two-Way Sync: It will sync the changes in the source file directory to the target file directory and vice versa.
  • Real-Time Sync: If the software detects any changes in the source folder, they will be synchronized to the target folder immediately.

2. Name the task so that you can distinguish it from other sync tasks. Click “Add Folder” to select the folder(s) that you want to transfer.

Add Folder

Tip: If you want to exclude certain file types from selected folders, please upgrade to higher editions and use "Filter settings."

Click Filter

3. Click the inverted triangle in the destination box and select "Add Share or NAS Devices" from the drop-down menu.

Select Sync Destination

4. In the Add Share or NAS Devices window, type the IP address of the source computer and click the blue button at the right. Type username and password if it prompts.

Type Network Path

5. After the IP address has been added, all network-shared folders on the computer will be listed. Choose one folder to store the folder(s) you plan to transfer and click “OK”.

6. Click on the "Start Sync" button to transfer files from PC to PC over the network.

Start Sync

>>Options: you can write a comment for your sync task so that you can figure out the specific sync contents. You can also enable email notification here.
>>Schedule Sync: you can set the sync task to run periodically. There are five modes supported: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers, and USB plug-in.

7. After the sync process is finished, access the shared folder(s) on the destination computer by clicking This PC > Network.

🔥 More convenient way to transfer files from PC to PC

Besides Ethernet cable, you still can transfer files between two computers with cloud drives like AOMEI Cloud. For 15 days from the time you sign up for an AOMEI account, you can enjoy 1TB of free cloud storage and view the total space and used space after you log in.

And it enables you to perform cloud backup on a regular basis, such as, daily, weekly, or monthly. If you modify these files frequently, it's suggested to set hourly backup under Daily backup.


How to transfer files from PC to PC using an Ethernet cable

Before you start PC-to-PC transfer using Ethernet, you should prepare a LAN cable (CAT5/6 will work fine). Learn how to share files between two computers using a LAN cable in detail below:

Step 1. Connect two computers.

Connect both computers to a LAN cable.

Connect via Ethernet Cable

Step 2. Turn on the sharing options on both computers.

Search for Control Panel and open it. Go to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Advanced sharing settings. Then perform the following settings for both computers and "Save changes".

  • "Turn on network discovery"

  • "Turn on file and printer sharing"

  • "Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders" 

  • "Turn off password-protected sharing"

Turn on Sharing Options

Tip: Turning off password protection will bring a significant security risk. You must select "Turn on password-protected sharing" once you've done transferring files over Ethernet.

Step 3. Share a folder on the source computer.

3.1. Select the folder you want to share and right-click on it. Choose "Share with" (or "Give access to") and then select "Specific people."

Share with

3.2. In the File Sharing window, select "Everyone" from the drop-down menu, click on the "Add" button next to it, and then click on the "Share" button.

Add People

3.3. When you see "Your folder is shared", click "Done."

Step 4. Access the shared folder on the destination computer.

4.1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer and click "Network" on the left-hand panel.

4.2. Find the source computer and double-click it. Enter the source computer’s password if prompted.

Access Shared Folder

4.3. You will see the folder you just shared. Copy the shared folder to anywhere else based on your needs.

As you see, you can only share one folder once. It will be time-consuming if you have dozens of files from different folders to transfer. If you need an easier way to transfer files between computers on the same network, why not try the free PC transfer software - AOMEI Backupper?

AOMEI Backupper

Best free file sync software to transfer massive files more simply and flexibly.

Bonus: Transfer files between computers without Ethernet

Manual transfer of files with an external hard drive

An external hard drive is a physical storage device that can help you transfer a few files or most of your PC's contents, depending on the drive's capacity.

1. Connect the external hard drive to your current PC.
2. Locate the drive in your file explorer and drag the files you want to transfer into the hard drive's folder.
3. Safely eject the hard drive, then connect it to the new PC.
4. Locate the drive again in your file explorer, and drag the files from the hard drive to your desired location on the new computer.

External hard drives are perfect for transferring files without an internet connection. They also save time when you don't want to download and install transfer software, providing a quick and direct transfer solution.

Transfer files between computers through cloud storage

Compared to manual transfers, cloud storage makes accessing and sharing files much easier. It's one of the most convenient options for storing and transferring files—no external storage devices or cables are needed! Files transferred through cloud storage are secured with data encryption. Unlike external hard drives, cloud storage is scalable, meaning you can subscribe for as much space as you need.

1. Create an account with a cloud storage provider like Dropbox.
2. Download and install the Dropbox desktop app on both PCs.
3. Sign in to your Dropbox account on both PCs.
4. Open the Dropbox desktop app on the computer containing the files you want to transfer.
5. Locate and select the files and folders you want to move.
6. Drag and drop these selected items into your Dropbox folder to upload them to your account.

Your files will then be accessible in a Dropbox folder on both PCs. You can leave them in the Dropbox folder or move them to a different location on your new PC.


To transfer files from PC to PC with an Ethernet cable, you can follow the guidance provided in this article. However, sharing folders one by one is a time-consuming process. If you have multiple folders to be transferred between devices, you can choose the free and reliable PC-to-PC file transfer software AOMEI Backupper Standard to help you solve the problem of how to transfer files between computers.

It allows you to transfer several folders simultaneously between computers, and you can sync your files with fixed frequencies such as Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. Apart from the File Sync feature, you can also use it to clone dynamic disks in Windows 10 and back up WD My Cloud to Google Drive. Try it by yourself to discover more!

FAQs about PC to PC file transfer

#1. Can I connect a computer to another computer via Ethernet?

Yes, you can connect two computers directly to each other using an Ethernet cable. This is often referred to as a "peer-to-peer" or "Ethernet crossover" connection. To do this, you'll need an Ethernet crossover cable, which is a special type of cable that allows two devices to communicate directly without the need for a network switch or hub.

#2. What is the fastest way to transfer files between computers?

The fastest way how to transfer files between computers depends on several factors, including the available hardware and connection options. Here are some of the fastest methods for transferring files between computers: direct Ethernet connection, local network transfer, external SSD or HDD, etc.

#3. Do you need a special cable to transfer files between computers?

Yes. Usually, the type of cable you need to transfer files between computers depends on the available ports on the computers and the preferred method of connection. Common types of cables used for transferring files between computers include Ethernet cable, USB-to-USB cable, etc.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.