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Is there a way to access a PC's drives from a Galaxy Note (4.0.4) through the USB port at the initiative of the phone itself. Ideally I would write an Android application which would - permissions permitting - access the PC's resources (SMB client for instance).

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USB mass storage is off limits, the PC acts as the USB host always. What might be working: Use the USB for a networking connection and use a network FS on top ot it. Probably off limits on stock devices too. –  ce4 Nov 27 '12 at 10:27
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Only by SMB (windows file sharing), another file sharing (eg you can make on PC FTP server, etc), USB connection is always client-server and PC is server.

Unlimited access is possible only theoreticaly, if you manualy boot special OS on PC (any, what will not use disks to run) and emulate android accessory protocol on PC (no software available - need to create), what will handle your applications on phone and PC... Fantastic scenario.

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