Thunderbolt ports enable high-speed connections between devices. But up until now, that’s mean you could use a Thunderbolt cable to connect storage, graphics cards, or docking stations to a PC.

Soon you’ll also be able to use Thunderbolt to connect one PC to another, thanks to Intel’s new Thunderbolt Share platform. This lets you quickly sync or transfer files between computers, or share a keyboard, mouse, display, and other accessories between two computers without plugging and unplugging. But there’s a catch: not all devices with Thunderbolt ports will support Thunderbolt Share.

Intel says it’s licensing Thunderbolt Share to select partners, including PC makers like Acer, Lenovo, MSI, Razer and accessory makers including Belkin, Kensington, Plugable, and Promise Technology. And you’ll need to buy at least one certified device in order to use Thunderbolt Share software, which is tied to hardware. At launch Thunderbolt Share will also be Windows-only, although Intel hasn’t ruled out support for other operating systems in the future.

That said, you only need Thunderbolt Share to be licensed on one of your devices (either a PC or a docking station). For example, if you buy a new laptop that’s certified for Thunderbolt Share, but you have a desktop with a Thunderbolt 4 or Thunderbolt 5 port, then you’ll be able to use the software to connect the two computers.

You can do that by running a Thunderbolt cable from one PC to the other, or by using a compatible docking station or monitor with Thunderbolt capabilities to act as a hub.

Once your devices are connected you can fire up the Thunderbolt Share software to choose what type of connection you’d like to establish.

  • Control Other Computer: Use your keyboard, mouse and display to control a connected computer.
  • Sync Files: Keep the contents of folders synchronized between two computers.
  • Drag & Drop Files: Use File Explorer to move files from one computer to another. You can also transfer files to and from external drives connected to a USB port.
  • Transfer Data to a New Computer: This mode lets you select which computer is the new one, which is the old one, and transfer data accordingly.

Intel says Thunderbolt Share also supports low-latency screen sharing at up to 1080p/60 fps. Higher resolutions are supported, but at lower frame rates.

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    1. Ethernet cables are cheap and plentiful. I don’t own a specific Thunderbolt 4/5 cable. I have lots of type C cables. How about a 10Gbps mode with just type C cables? Is there something special about the Thunderbolt cable that allows this?