KVM Switch & two monitors

Posted on 2009-04-20
Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I 've got four PCs connected to a regular 4-way KVM switch, all connected to one ..... 26" monitor (using vga) + mouse + keyboard + speakers + mic.
In addition one of the PCs has a touchscreen monitor connected (VGA + Serial). I would like to share the touchscreen monitor with a second PC.

I think the following equipment will work but I'd like opinions from fellow experts as to whether it will work and what the risk is of damaging my video cards.

I have an old two way KVM switch which switches VGA and what were serial mice (not PS2).  If I used this to switch the touchscreen monitor VGA and the serial controller, will I reget it. I will effectively be pulling vga & serial cables out of one PC and plugging the into another PC while they are on, which everyone says is a no-no.
Question by:Eirman
    LVL 23

    Author Comment

    I know switching off both PCs between switching would be risk free, but it would be too inconvenient and is not an option
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    I switch VGA cables while computers are turned on all the time without issues.
    Can't guarantee you won't have a problem but i never have nor have i heard of anyone's video card dying from doing so.
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    When people say no-no for pulling VGA cables from working computer, the probably mean the physical act of doing this.. the VGA connector has an HD15 connection that its pins can be easily bent if not connected properly.. a damage can occur of somehow the 5 volt pin will be shorted to the ground..

    If you have a KVM switch that you can install and use it to switch the VGA & Serial port between the two computer and the touch screen you can use it. most modern operating system today act as 'plug & play' when connecting a monitor to a live PC, they will detect the screen properties as soon as you connect it.

    The only tip i can offer here is to check that the KVM switch you are going to use to switch the VGA & Serial mouse, switches all the 9 pins of the serial port, older Serial mices did not require all of the pins to operate.

    In the past i have encountered only very few applications that required to switch both VGA & the Serial channel between computers, most of them where industrial applications... there is a solution for this application provided by Minicom Advanced Systems, that will allow you to switch the Keyboard / Video / Mouse & Serial from one console up to 63 PC's.. Here is a link for more information:
    LVL 23

    Author Comment

    Thanks for that link ndary. I suspect that they are quite expensive. I'll try my old kvm and hope that the serial end of it works.
    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    The solution from Minicom is aimed from the industrial market, not for the SOHO market, if your KVM switch wont do the job.. Try to find a low cost Serial A/B switch.. And use it to switch the serial channel and use the old KVM switch you have to switch just the VGA

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