If not a router then an Ethernet hub or switch would still be needed but then you’ll need to set them both (PC & HUB) to what is called a ‘hard IP address’ and that sounds like it may be out of your comfort zone. The router would take care of that for you by assigning both the PC and the HUB an IP address via what is called DHCP after which your PC should ‘find’ the HUB on the new network.
For the expense and as a reserve asset I’d still go for the external USB drive. It’s faster, easier for the less initiated, and a smaller 500gb or even smaller would suffice if funds are tight.
Ok I don’t doubt what you’re saying here but my Hub’s network config is set to automatic. I regularly just move it over to the PC and connect it directly to the NIC with a cat5 cable and get a lot better transfer rate than I do over the network. No router and no switches are involved just one piece of cat5 cable. I change NOTHING on the PC other than to enable the NIC in the PC after I connect the Hub.
In order for that to work your PC and HUB subnets must match and the IP’s must be different. If not, no go. You sound like you have a good setup that works … for you. The OP may or may not be as fortunate and may not be comfortable with the steps to correct whatever may be involved to replicate the setup.
That said SM, these ARE desirable skills.