Connecting two laptops: Here’s how

3 min

Connecting two laptops is not difficult. You basically have several options for this. Which is the best also depends on the technical equipment of the laptops.

These days, all computers are connected to one another via the Internet. But for extremely fast and, above all, immediate data exchange, it can make sense to connect desktop PCs or laptops directly to one another. This works primarily via a network cable or a direct WLAN connection between the two devices. However, there are other options as well.

Connect laptops via LAN cable

This method basically ensures the fastest data exchange, but requires that both laptops have an Ethernet connection. Via this the devices can be connected with a LAN cable and then directly exchange data.

  1. Open the control panel on one of the devices by pressing the key combination “Windows + R” and typing the command “control” in the run window.
  2. Click on “Network and Internet> Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. Then click on “Select adapter settings” and then double-click on “LAN connection” or “Ethernet”.
  4. A settings window for the LAN connection will now open; click on “Properties”.
  5. Double-click on “Internet Protocol (Version 4 TCP / PV 4)”
  6. Now enter a manual IP address such as, enter “” as the subnet mask and then confirm with ok.

Manual network

Entering manual IP addresses ensures that both laptops can exchange data.

Then you have to perform the same process on the second laptop. When entering the manual IP address, however, you have to change the last number, while the previous three numbers remain the same. In our example we would therefore select the address “”.

Now you have to go to “Control Panel> Network and Internet> Network and Sharing Center” again on both laptops and click on “Change advanced sharing settings”. In the subsequent menu, select the option “Activate file and printer sharing” under “Private” and confirm with “Ok”.

Extended network sharing

You can activate file sharing in the private network via the control panel.

Then you have to make sure that both computers treat the shared network as a private network. You must therefore also carry out the following steps on both devices.

  1. Open the Windows settings and click on “Network and Internet”.
  2. Select “Ethernet” and then right click on the network.
  3. Now make sure that the network profile is set to “private”.

You can then share individual folders with the other computer by clicking them with the right mouse button and ticking the appropriate box under “Properties> Sharing”.

Connect laptops via WiFi

In principle, it works in the same way if both computers are in the same WLAN network. In addition, you have to “Activate file and printer sharing” on both computers and define the WLAN as a private network, as explained above in the section on connecting via LAN cable.

When this is done, you can share individual folders over the network by right-clicking them and ticking the appropriate box under “Properties” in the “Sharing” tab.

Connect laptops via USB link cable

A little-known way of connecting two computers directly is with so-called USB link cables. These are USB cables with a built-in USB controller that ensures that two computers that are connected via them perceive each other as data carriers.

Most USB link cables are supplied with their own software that contains its own file explorer for exchanging data between the computers. With the help of this explorer, files or folders can be moved back and forth between the computers using copy & paste.

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Connect MacBooks to Thunderbolt Bridge

Thunderbolt cables can also be used to connect two laptops together. This basically works with all Thunderbolt-enabled devices. MacBooks with the so-called Thunderbolt Bridge offer a particularly simple method.

  1. Connect both MacBooks with a Thunderbolt cable.
  2. Click on “System Preferences> Network” and select “Thunderbolt Bridge” if the entry already exists; if not, click on the plus symbol below and set up a new connection “Thunderbolt Bridge”.
  3. Repeat the process on the other MacBook.
  4. If Thunderbolt Bridge is selected on both devices, a connection should be established automatically after a short time.

As soon as the MacBooks are connected via Thunderbolt Bridge, they can exchange documents or other data via “Share”.


  1. The best way to connect two laptops to exchange data is via a LAN cable.
  2. Alternatively, a shared WLAN can also be used for more or less direct data exchange.
  3. A little known method is to use a special USB link cable.
  4. Two MacBooks can be connected via the Thunderbolt interface.


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