|I have heard that you can toast the usb ports.|
"using a homemade setup"
You can buy a special usb connector that comes with the software though.
I would think a ethernet cable would be easier.
Need a crossover cable....not a straight through cable.
You are talking files right and not full programs like Office,winrar or Adobe.
Those need to be installed from scratch.
Might be quicker to just connect the laptop to the internet and redownload the programs.
Hope this of some help