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I have two desktops, side by side. The 2nd desktop is for guests. About once a week a friend comes over and plays games on it next to me.

So anyway, I have two identical 23 inch Hanns-g monitors, one of which is being wasted most of the time.

I have two video cards in my main computer, so I'm thinking of going dual-monitor. I already know how to do this and do it at work (two monitors on one computer)

BUT

Is there a way for me to have the monitor plugged into both computers, and just press a button to have it switch between computers? That way I wont have to unplug and switch plugs every time.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 9 down vote accepted

If your monitor has multiple input sockets (DVI, VGA, HDMI or even 2x DVI) you can attach both PCs to the monitor using two different sockets. The monitor should be able to switch between inputs using a button or some command in it's menus.

It's cheaper than a KVM-switch.

The downside: You may need to use VGA instead of DVI, but that is not a problem in most cases.

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You're looking for a KVM Switch. Or you could find a DVI video switch, but that will likely be just as expensive.

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I assume the monitor itself doesn't have dual inputs? Some of them do.

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Those DVI or HDMI switches are rather expensive. If your willing to take a slight quality loss, go with a simple mechanical VGA switch, something like this: http://www.allaboutadapters.com/2vgamasw.html

The thing with these switches is that you can use them in reverse as well. You can use them to switch one video source between two monitors or two computer sources between one monitor.

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KVM-switch will be a better option

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Another not very expensive option is to buy an extension cable. Run this from your video card to and area on your desk that's easy to get to, and plug the monitor into the extension cable, You can get DVI, HDMI, VGA extension cables (Male to Female or M/F) fairly cheap from monoprice.com If you go this route you "might" want to turn off the monitor and PC when switching the monitor cable from the extension cable to the friends PC. (I've done it 1000 times without turning it off, but due to different electronics and their sensitivity to ESD (static discharge) I'd be giving you bad advice to keep them turned on.

A pair of extension cables is pretty inexpensive when compared to a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse)

I have cables setup exactly like this in my environment because I tend to work on other people's PC's at my desk and I'm too cheap to buy a KVM for something I only use a couple times a year.

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*I DO NOT WORK FOR BELKIN*

I have had great luck with their cabled KVM solutions.

http://www.belkin.com/flip/ appears to be their latest addition. Should handle your problem.

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I have two machines plugged into a monitor, and the monitor automatically switches away from a connection if there's no signal, so I use a QuickLaunch icon with this and a launcher with xset dpms force standby to shut off the signal I want to move away from.

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I would definitely go the dual input route if your monitor supports it. If it is this model Then it supports both DVI and HDMI - which means that all you'd have to do is switch between the input modes on the monitor itself. Keep your area free of unnecessary gadgets. It's neater and you have less connections to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.

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