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I have a monitor with one DVI input but I have a PC and a MacBook Air.

I have the cable to convert the Macs output to DVI which works fine but I don't want to have to keep pulling out the monitor cable to switch displays every time. I'm looking to have some sort of switching box that I can just flick a switch on.

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Do you have any other inputs on the monitor... VGA, HDMI, ...? –  w3d Jul 31 '12 at 10:23
    
I have a VGA input as well –  Lee Alexander Jul 31 '12 at 12:25
    
I guess I could get a converter to VGA from the DVI output of one of the computers but I'm not sure if this would reduce the display quality? –  Lee Alexander Jul 31 '12 at 12:27
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@LeeAlexander it would. Whether it's a noticeable amount would depend on the resolution you're running at and the monitor quality. 1280x1024 is unlikely to be a problem. 1680x1050 might be noticeable. 1920x1080/1200 probably will be; on a better quality screen it might only be something you see if you're actively looking for it though. –  Dan Neely Jul 31 '12 at 12:48
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6 Answers

From the hardware point of view, you may try to purchase a Monitor Switch e.g. Belkin Switch2 KVM, Belkin SOHO KVM Switch or some cheaper version TRENDnet 2-Port USB KVM Switch Kit. It's also called KVM switch.

From the software point of view, you can use:

  • use Remote Desktop for Mac to connect to Windows
  • install VNC server on Windows and connect it via VNC client for Mac,
  • you can use X11 services which will give you the same access to multiple systems at the same time each within its own window/frame (for Windows you need both X11-Server and Client installs, see: Xming or X-Win32). Read more details here and here.
  • alternatively use remote desktop services like LogMeIn, Join.me, etc.
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This could be a cheap answer, but what about VNC. Looks as those somebody figured out how to go from Mac to Windows, you just have to decide which will be "Master".

Another option is KVM over IP.

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If you really want a software option, MaxiVista might be able to do what you want; but is primarily intended to slave the screen of one computer to a second, not to let you swap a monitor between two computers. Reading the documentation I think you might need to have a dedicated screen for your PC to control it though, since it only supports using a mac as an extra monitor for a PC and not the other way around.

You might be able to make it work by installing the software on the PC, connecting the monitor to the mac and en/disabling it on the mac to switch the monitor between computers. It's not clear from the documentation if the software will auto-reconnect or not.

When I tried it a few years ago, it used a fairly large chunk of CPU power on one of the computers (don't recall if it was the master or slave). I think you'd probaby be better with a hardware option (multiple inputs on monitor or KVM switch).

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Some monitors have multiple input possibilities and it is possible to select e.g., PC1 or PC2 for input. Check your monitor for this.

If it is not possible then you can use a KVM switch to switch your Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor between different machines.

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If the monitor only has 1 input as you have described then you will require a Video Switcher often known as a KVM Switch. An example is linked here.
This also means that you will be able to share 1 keyboard and mouse for the 2 computers although if you prefer to keep the 2 (A better solution for a MAC + PC combo as in your case) then you can.

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You might try Synergy. Can't say if that's what you want but there's no extra hardware necessary. Here's a link (URL):

http://synergy-foss.org/

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Does Synergy allow you to share a single monitor? The description appears to talk about sharing a mouse and keyboard (only)? –  w3d Jul 31 '12 at 10:27
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And what does Synergy let you do? –  Ivo Flipse Jul 31 '12 at 11:30
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Synergy only lets you share a mouse/keyboard between two computers (that are both turned on). It doesn't let you multiplex two computers to a single screen. –  Dan Neely Jul 31 '12 at 12:34
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