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I have two computers, and I want to use only one keyboard/mouse/monitor to work on both systems. I don't want to use a KVM device because I don't the switching mechanisms of these horrible things. (I used to have a few of these devices so I speak from experience.)

Of course, I could always just set up a remote desktop between the two systems, however, the device that I want to access remotely is a dual-boot system and I would like to choose remotely which OS should start up.

I'm trying to set up some hardware device where I could connect both systems to each other.

For example, my local system would use a USB port to connect to the other system while the other system has its keyboard, mouse and video connected to the same device. Thus, my local system would send commands to the remote system and display the remote screen on my local system. That way, I would only need to have remote software on my local system and just the right keyboard/mouse/monitor drivers for the remote system.

How do I go about doing this?

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Raritan devices give you control over the device at the hardware level via ethernet. You see the boot screen and could easily dual boot with them.

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  • Looks interesting but that site loads very slowly... Looks good, though. – Wim ten Brink Aug 21 '09 at 18:45
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Products like what you described have been done. Most of which where proprietary cards for servers. They have fallen by the way side for KVM and KVM over IP switches.

EBGreen's link, Raritan, is a KVM over IP.

EDIT: KVM over IP switches tend to be really expensive because they are not really for the home user.It is made for remote administration of servers that are in a data center.

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  • Yes, any solution without using a regular KVM is not going to be cheap. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 18:40
  • Well, in case of KVM over IP, price would not be a big problem because it would allow me much more freedom. Prices seem to go between $150 and $500 for KVM over IP. That's still reasonable, although it would dent my wallet. :-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 21 '09 at 18:53
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You don't like KVM?? I think modern days KVM are quite stable, they (almost all) use solid-state switching instead of actual switching by mechanical switches.

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    I answer this 10 years later just to say sorry, they are even more fucked up then ever in 2019. And with 4k there is almost nothing that really works well (low latency) selecting a set (like 2 out of 5) of multiple monitors. The requirements grew faster then the KVM developers upgraded their systems. Some still sell the crap from 12 years ago for the same price. – Lothar Apr 6 '19 at 15:53
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Not a hardware only solution, but Synergy will do it for you for The Right Price.

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  • Unfortunately, this means installing software on both systems and won't be useful when I want to switch to the other OS on the dual-boot system. I'm looking for a solution that starts from whenever the system starts to boot up, thus hardware only. – Wim ten Brink Aug 21 '09 at 20:34
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love Synergy, but it's not an applicable solution here:

1: Synergy requires a monitor to be connected to the second computer.

2: Synergy is of no use until the OS is booted and the program is started.

sorry, there is no way around a KVM switch (physical or over-IP, which is neat but rather expensive)

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If you decide to go with a KVM again, you can double-tap Scroll Lock and then hit the up or down cursor keys to cycle through connected machines. A lot easier than trying for the button on the KVM itself ...

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    Depends on the KVM, not all support this – William Hilsum Aug 22 '09 at 2:20
  • I know you could switch this way because I've used KVM before. It's just that I'm trying to suggest a different concept, which apparently already exists, but over IP, not USB. – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 10:54
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It's 11 years after I needed a solution but as people still seem to answer it, I'm sharing how I've solved it...
First of all, as all PC's I need run Windows, I just got Mouse Without Borders which allows me to share a single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers.
Second of all, I now have multiple monitors as it's more practical to see everything I need.
This combined means I'm looking at 4 screens for 3 different computers and all I use is one mouse and one keyboard. It works great and has been working fine for several years now.
As for the dual-boot issue. That's no more requirement as the Windows Subsystem for Linux solved that issue for me.

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