I am looking to switch my keyboard and mouse between a desktop computer and a laptop. The desktop resolution is 2560x1600, which eliminates most (but not all) KVM switches. The monitor has the ability to switch between desktop and laptop. Both computers are plugged into the monitor. The audio is also not an issue for switching.


All KVM switches I have found come with cables that have physical connectors for audio, video, and USB. In this case, the audio and video connectors are superfluous. I could leave them disconnected, but then there'd be dangling bits of hardware (that a cat or infant could lick or bite). Also, I find the aesthetics of extraneous dangling bits to be displeasing. ;-)

The search results for USB KM switches are overrun by KVM switches, making it difficult to search for this particular hardware device.


Hardware solutions only.


I am wondering:

  • What are such keyboard-mouse (KM) USB switches called?
  • How would you eliminate the superfluous A/V connectors?
  • Optionally, what components would be required to build such a switching device?

I contacted a 2-port USB KVM vendor and they recommended that I use the KVM cables that comes with the switch--as opposed to substituting a regular USB cable.


The device I have in mind would be similar to a USB 2-Way Manual Share Switch. I could use a USB Hub plugged into the Share Switch, but that's two devices when only one should be necessary.


3 Answers 3


They are called USB switches, USB Sharing Switches, or USB Peripheral Sharing Switches. The mechanical details of the switch are terribly simple since there are just 4 wires that need to be switched between the two computers for the USB connection (and really only 2 of them where the data passes.. the other two are for power).

If you go the do-it-yourself route, you could probably manage the power for each device separately (red and black wires in the usb wire) with a usb wall charger. And then use a Quad Pole Single Throw switch for the data connections to each device/computer. I haven't tried it myself so YMMV.


The problem with useing a 4 pole switch to change usb is that mechanical switches have "contact bounce" when switched this results in "device not found" or similar error info coming up on your screen. You really need to switch via transistors or similar. The + and _ need to switch first and dis last, which is why if you look at a usb connector, the 2 outer connections are slightly longer,.


You might also want to look at a program called Mouse Without Boarders http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35460


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