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I have a laptop and an external display. I am able to use the external display either as extended desktop OR duplicate desktop. I also use a separate keyboard and mouse. So effectively, the laptop acts just as a box without display.

I want to know is it possible to use the laptop as 2 virtual PCs. (with separate control). That is, one person uses the laptop as a laptop, and other person can simultaneously connect a keyboard, mouse and the external display and effectively get a second PC.

OS I am using - windows (though solution for other OSes are welcome).

Laptop is a Dell Precision M6300.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can do this on linux with multiple X servers running at once and rather unusual settings in your xorg.conf (at least in theory). The cool part with this is that you wouldn't need virtualization at all and get native performance on both desktops. It's a bit advanced though, and I don't know whether it's actually ever been done. I googled up this thread: Which has lots of links.

Not really an answer, but a neat idea. Think of the possibilities in libraries!

EDIT: Here's a link with an example xorg.conf: From 2005, but should work just find with modern X server versions.

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It is being done, but usually not using a laptop. My friend has a setup with 2 monitors, 2 mices, 2 keyboards and one desktop PC. – liori Jan 8 '11 at 15:40

This is a pretty tricky topic regardless of computer experience. Windows can't IIRC because the number of mouse cursors is hard coded into the kernel.

But on Linux we have a thing called multiple server X that may be of interest to you.

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Found one more solution. These days, a small piece of hardware is available (for about USD $50 to $70 in India), that can convert 1 PC to upto 30-40 PCs (depending on average load, OS being used etc). Haven't used it, but looks like a clean solution.

Try searching for

N130 Mini Thin Client Convert 1 PC to 30 PC

or similar on Ebay or your favourite website.

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