Connecting a Raspberry Pi (etc) Direct to a PC with a USB-LAN Adapter

There are a number of articles on the web which describe how to connect a Raspberry Pi direct to a Windows PC with a USB to LAN adapter. This can be quite handy when tinkering, especially with an original version 1. This article is quite good but I struggled to make it work. This article explains the problem and solution… but read that article first, as I don’t explain a few things!

The root of the problem is that I was using a USB to LAN adapter. It appears that Windows (Windows 11 at least) does not trust these devices because the network is fixed as being “Public”; I could not find a way to change this. The second part of my initial downfall was that when TFTPD64* started up, and Windows Firewall popped up the “public or private network” challenge, I thought nothing of allowing it to proceed with “private”. Thus, the firewall is between my USB-LAN dongle and the DHCP server.

* – an alternative is OpenDHCPServer.

If, like me, you missed the chance to choose “public” when starting the DHCP server software, you need to find your way into Windows “Settings”, then “Privacy & Security > Windows Security > Firewall & network Protection > Allow an app through firewall” (take a breath)… click the “Change settings” button then scroll down the list and enable the entry for tftpd64 or opendhcpserver for “public”.

Oh: one thing which the article above was not clear on was to use a different subnet ip address for the USB-LAN dongle than the PC is on. e.g. if your PC is, don’t use any 192.168.1.* address for the static IP entry.

And What About Internet Connection?

While the procedure in the above-mentioned article is fine for accessing the Pi from your PC, as soon as you need to access the internet from the Pi, it is aparrent that you can’t! Network interactions time out because there is no route for network traffic from the dongle adapter to the PC’s LAN/WiFi.

This is easily solved using “Sharing”. First thing: shut the Pi down. Starting with your PC’s “real” network adapter, right-click > Properties > Sharing (tab) > select the top “Allow” and choose the dongle for “Home networking connection”.

This will change the dongle’s IP addres so a return to TFTPD64 will be required to change settings, after which the Pi can be powered on again to get its new IP address. Changed settings I used:

  • IP pool start address =
  • Def router (Opt3) =

Watching the TFTPD64 log I noticed that it allocates two IP addresses. I suspect the first one (it had MAC address 00:AB:00:00:00:00, which is not normal!) is part of WIndows’ sharing magic. The other one should have your usual (and of course remembered!) Pi’s MAC. For me this was