Get my Macs and PC to share the same drive without....


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 28, 2012
Hi Folks, I have a need that has been driving me crazy for some time now. Here's my issue, I work for large company that provides me with a PC laptop for daily use. I dislike the machine as I have many Macs in my home office. I have a TC (time capsule) and it works great UNTIL I access the company VPN, at which time is disconnects the TC. Apparently, there is something in the VPN client that disconnects any network device for security purposes. It will allow local devices (usb stick but nothing on a network)

Example: I have a network laser that any of my computers can access via the network but I'm still required to connect to the laptop via the USB connection on the printer - otherwise I can't print while connected to the VPN.

I need a drive that I can connet to the PC via USB and yet share the files with my Mac(s) while connected to the company VPN on the laptop. Today I am forced to do the whole USB stick swap every time I need to move a file over. (kind of like the printer example- do they have a drive that I can connect locally to the PC via USB and yet the other computer (Mac) can access via the network simultaneously?

Thx so much for any help or product info you can provide - Bugs

I'm not concerned on cost and I need to solve this.
Nov 28, 2010
Any USB HDD can fulfil that requirement, if you set it up in Windows to be shared, you can access it from any other PC (Mac, Windows, Linux) if you want.

But I don't know much about VPN tunnelling, thus I can't help you with that problem.


macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
Portland, OR
When you activate the VPN... a secure tunnel is created back to your company, and in your case... 100% of the network traffic is directed to behind your company's firewall. Hence... it is acting as if your windows laptop is physically in the office.

Just as you cannot access your printer or TC if you are sitting in your work office... you also cannot access it when at home tunneled into your work office.

Some VPNs can be set up to distinguish network traffic that is local to your physical network... and only send non-local traffic through the VPN. In those cases, your local devices would continue to work. Either your VPN is not capable of this... or your company has restricted its usage.

Another option might be to use a cloud service (ex: Dropbox) to store your documents. This may be against your company policy... or they might restrict access to services such as dropbox... but if neither, then it is a great solution. it still does not solve your printing problem... or access to other networked peripherals in your house.



macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
having 2 things access a drive simultaneously can get a bit dicey.

even with a network share, although 2 computers might be accessing files on the drive, in reality only one computer is accessing the drive directly and sharing it on the network.

you would need more than just a basic drive, you would need an enclosure with a processor to deal with actual file operations on the drive. which typically means NAS, but in a quick search, i haven't found one that has a USB - B type connector, lots of them have A type to plug external drives into them though.
also local enclosures that have multiple types (firewire and USB for example) will only enable one port if multiple cables are plugged in, no experience with it at all

i would look at dropbox as suggested, or possibly one of the special USB cables (also not a very elegant solution)
or possibly something like itwin, just remember seing that go through the blogs a while back,


macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
Portland, OR
If you have a Mac that you use... and want to use your PC next to it... you might want to try using the new wormhole devices by j5create. I played with it at the CES show earlier this month. You can connect two computers (PC or Mac) together with a special USB-USB cable. The drivers are built into the cable electronics. It allows:

Using a single kbd/mouse between the two computer. You simply move the mouse to the end of the screen and it moves to the other computer. You can also drag and drop files between the two computers.

It doesn't solve all of your problems... but for printing you can drag your PC files over to the Mac screen, and then print from the Mac.

Here is a link. I think you would want the JUC 400. It is pretty cheap. I might give it a try because like you... I do use my work laptop at home through the VPN.