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My goal is to instead of buying 4 separate basic PCs (plus the obvious peripherals), buy just one fast PC and the peripherals.

I'm wondering if I can use a more powerful computer, say, one with core i7 and plenty of RAM, with 2 video cards (total of 4 monitor outputs) to run 4 or more virtual machines (WinXPs) so instead of having 4 individual machines, I'll be having just one. However, the catch is, is it possible to have a pair of mouse and keyboard + input/output audio for each of these virtual machines?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Carl B, Kevin Panko, Canadian Luke, Moses Dec 24 '13 at 21:26

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i think you're looking for a multiseat solution. there are existing technologies to do this in Windows and Linux. using virtual machines seems like overkill to me, but i suppose it's theoretically possible. –  quack quixote Jun 12 '10 at 21:21
Those are very interesting! Is there any similar solution but without having to buy an extra multiseat device? –  chiurox Jun 12 '10 at 21:41
I particularly liked the NComputer solution. The problem is that as of now, I have very limited time to buy something like that and set it up. I do however have a good enough PC that theoretically can support the workload of 4+ PCs. –  chiurox Jun 12 '10 at 21:47
you can do it with commodity hardware and Linux; take a look at wiki.x.org/wiki/Development/Documentation/Multiseat and wiki.c3sl.ufpr.br/multiseat/index.php/Mdm ... i don't know much about doing multiseat beyond those documents, but hopefully they'll help you. –  quack quixote Jun 12 '10 at 21:49
Another thing to mention: Windows 7 scales better in VMs than Windows XP –  Canadian Luke Dec 24 '13 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

It's possible using VMware Workstation 7.0. Under VM settings > USB Controller, enable "Show all USB input devices," and then you can freely assign USB mice and keyboards to any VM. Then just move each VM to a monitor and set it to full-screen.

If separate audio channels is important to you, you'll have to invest in a multi-channel sound card. Unfortunately this might run you $100 or so. Once you have the desired outputs, though, VMware can route audio from a VM to any pair of outputs on a sound card.

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Yes, I'm afraid that separate audio channels will be important. But that is a viable solution too. –  chiurox Jun 12 '10 at 23:24

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