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When moving terabytes of data from one computer to another, cut out the external drive—an expensive, sluggish middle man—by cutting up an Ethernet cable. Rearranging the small internal wires on one end allows near-instant data transfer between computers via their network cards. Here’s how to do it.

Time: 10 minutes
Cost: About $10

1) Cut off one end of an Ethernet cable, strip an inch of its outer sheath, and untwist the four pairs of colored wires inside.

Rearrange Wires

2) Rearrange the wires in this order: green-striped/green, orange-striped/blue, blue-striped/orange, brown-striped/brown. (This links one computer’s outputs to the other computer’s inputs, and vice-versa.)

Insert Wires

3) Evenly insert the wires into a new cable head (clip facing down) and secure them in place with an RJ45 crimp tool. Connect two computers with your new crossover cable, square away your sharing permissions, and start moving mountains of data.

For instructions on changing a computer’s sharing permissions (to allow crossover cable file transfers), download this PDF.

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