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Hardware Question - Sharing Monitor and Keyboard

Posted on 2007-03-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I am getting old and use two different laptops during the day but want to get a nice sized monitor and share it between the two laptops.

My Question is can I dock both laptops and somehow share 1 Monitor, 1 Mouse and one Keyboard for the two?

What would I need to do this?

Thanks, an aging old computer guy!
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Question by:pinkstonm
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 18789275
Yes, try Googling for a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse)

You feed the outputs from your two devices into it and simply select which one you want to display on the main screen.  A single mouse and keyboard is similarly switched back to one laptop at a time.

With laptops you'll need to look at how many connectors you have for external keyboard and mouse.  You may be best looking at a KVM that supports USB connections.

There may also be a little fiddling involved in getting the video signal out via the VGA port at the back by default.  Depends on the make/model but initially you may need to switch the output manually when the laptops are first switched on.
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 18792602
What models of laptop are we dealing with. Do you have docking stations for either laptop? Is this a permanent setup you are looking for that will not be moved or unplugged very often?
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Accepted Solution

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JohnBPrice earned 125 total points
ID: 18793245
A KVM sounds like the right solution, but you can also consider remote desktop.  The Monitor/keyboard/mouse would be connected to your "main" computer, and you can connect to the second computer via remote desktop, which is free and included in XP.  Switching between computers with remote deskop is as simple as switching which application you are working in.  In addition, this gives you the ability to work on both computers at the same time as you can choose maximized, normal, or minimized for the remote desktop.  I do this for long running tasks.  I use remote desktop, start the process, and move the remote desktop window off to a corner where I can see it.

If you go with a KVM, consider a monitor with "Picture in Picture" capability, which many of the higher end monitor support, thus you could not only switch to either computer, but you could see the screen of the second computer (though not interact with it).  This would  entail a number of cables and may not work depending on your video card, e.g. can it do S-Video simultaneously with RGB or DVI.
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