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I have a secure laptop that, for various reasons, is not allowed to be connected to a network. I need to remotely control that laptop from a desktop computer and be able to send files to it. The two computers are in physical proximity, so I considered using a USB cable to control it, however, I am not sure if that is either possible, and if it is, how to do it. I’d ideally like to be able to run Windows Remote desktop, but other solutions would be acceptable.

Any help would be great.

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Any connection of this sort will be connecting this sensitive system to a network. A small, somewhat limited network, but still a network. If there is a valid reason to deviate from the "no network" policy then use a proper network, if not then don't do it. – Helvick Jun 18 '10 at 21:37
I agree with Helvick and must point out that using a USB cable to transfer files, while perfectly feasible, is in fact connecting it to a network. If the machines are that close together use a USB memory stick, if that is allowed. Forget Remote Desktop because that can only be done over a network, which violates your stated limitations. – John Gardeniers Jun 18 '10 at 23:08

how about a simple KVM switch, if you're close? and a usb stick for files

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Thanks for your reply, however, I'd like to be able to see both desktops on the screen at once. – Fred Thomas Jun 18 '10 at 21:22
an ip-kvm then, some basic avocent model maybe – dyasny Jun 18 '10 at 22:26

I agree with both Helvick and John: Any medium used to connect these two computers (USB, IR, whatever) is in fact creating a network. Now it may be that the mandate is only referring to what we would typically think of a network as, such as connecting to an ethernet LAN via switch, hub, etc. so my suggestion would be to speak to the powers that be and see if connecting the 2 to each other via crossover cable is in violation of the mandate, and if not, to connect them via an ethernet crossover cable.

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I have a secure laptop that [...] is not allowed to be connected to a network.

You said it. Period. No network on a secure computer.

I need to remotely control that laptop. [...] The two computers are in physical proximity. I'd like to be able to see both desktops on the screen at once.

Add a screen, keyboard and mouse, with long cables if needed, on the laptop.

send files to it

USB key, if usb is allowed on the secure laptop. If not, then it probably means that you don't need to add/copy files from it.

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Iogear GCS-661U "Laptop KVM" will do exactly what you want to do. It allows connecting a laptop using VPN (which kills the local network) to a desktop PC.

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If you connect the two computers via a USB cable, the laptop is connected to a network.

Thus, an ethernet cable is also okay for networking. ;-)

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Purchasing a small IP KVM would allow you to remote control this computer from the network without exposing the computer itself to the network although it could allow remote control of the computer same is if someone was sitting in front of it.

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