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Preface: in VirtualBox, it is possible to "attach" a USB device to a virtual machine, thus rendering said device able to interact solely with the virtual machine. It also becomes independant from the host computer.

My question is if there's a way to do that with other programs.

A silly example would be having two keyboards on a computer, each being able to interact with its own word processor.

As a side note, in VirtualBox the "attached" device can actually bypass the host computer's lock screen, which I find kinda funny.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, it involves installing a filter USB driver that is configured to find your specific device and provide an access driver. Then your program could allocate the device from the driver. The filter driver is an open source project that supports several platforms. The home page is here.

The windows version is available from here.

The purpose of the filter driver is to provide easy access to devices that might not have an easy accessible driver, but it can be used to override normal drivers. For your example about using multiple keyboards, this would require the word processor having the ability to select its keyboard from a list of available devices. (unlikely) There are several sample programs for various languages, but most appear to be for more atypical hardware than keyboards.

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Since it's unlikely that anyone else will post an answer, I'll accept yours. Thanks for the info. – Derethus May 22 '12 at 19:07

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