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I have a laptop (for work) and a desktop PC (for personal use) that I use side by side in my home office. I'm thinking of purchasing 2 Dell P2414H 24" monitors with a dual monitor stand. I'd like to be able to use the computers/monitors in these configurations:

1) Both screens for the laptop (with laptop in a docking station) 2) One screen for the laptop and one for the desktop 3) Both screens for the desktop (not absolutely required)

Ideally I'd share one USB keyboard and mouse between the two computers.

Can I accomplish this with a KVM switch, and if so, what kind do I need? Do I need any software? How cumbersome is the switching - especially in the 2nd scenario where I'd like to be able to see both the laptop and desktop at the same time, but will have to switch the keyboard to go back and forth between the monitors. Suggestions are welcome.

An alternate scenario would be NOT to share keyboards (could use the laptop undocked, for example, with its keyboard and a separate keyboard for the desktop). In this case, would I need a KVM switch or could I accomplish the same result using different ports on the monitors? Each monitor has VGA, DVI-C and DisplayPort connections.

Thank you!

Lisa

  • You would probably find so many combinations cumbersome, not advantageous. You could meet your first two scenarios by simply connecting the first monitor to your laptop, and the second monitor, as well as the keyboard and mouse, to a basic 2-way KVM. – Jason Aug 5 '14 at 16:06
  • Thanks! I'm trying the Mouse Without Boarders for mouse and keyboard sharing. When my monitors arrive, I'll try some different options for sharing the monitors and decide if I really need a KVM. Someone suggested that I could use both monitors for the laptop and remote in to the desktop using Teamviewer rather than switching the monitor. I'm trying this out too (in my current setup with laptop and one desktop monitor). There's some lag but not too much. – LisaS Aug 5 '14 at 19:56
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Only for one scenario - for sharing monitors between two computers - I recommend Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders (if you use Windows). It works pretty well.

Anyway this is only software solution so you can use keyboard and/or mouse connected to one computer on both computers. This works through wireless network so... it might be glitchy and slow. However it allows to copy ^ paste all files by simply dragging and dropping with "shared" mouse. No need to unplug and plug cables between your machines though.

^additionally there are other programs that do similar things in a slightly different way; my PC couldn't install MwB due to restrictions, but I could install and use Input Director (also communicates by IP or hostname). It allows very specific configuration regarding monitors, clicking and typing plus you can encrypt the connection in case you are on a public LAN

  • Neato. Similar to using VirtualBox with the Guest Additions and two monitors. The difference being that Mouse without Borders is for physical machines instead of VMs. – Jason Aug 5 '14 at 15:26
  • Thank you - very cool! My 2 new monitors haven't arrived yet, but I've set up Mouse Without Borders to share the keyboard and mouse in my current setup and it's working great! – LisaS Aug 5 '14 at 19:48
  • It also works great if you have tablet with Windows 8 on board :) (from my experience). – konieckropka Aug 6 '14 at 16:58
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What I do for my setup, with two monitors for two computers, is to use both inputs of the monitors (they each have VGA & DVI). The VGA both go to computer A, the DVI go to computer B. I then have a KVM with just the keyboard and mouse on it. Then you can switch monitor configurations using the monitor buttons, and keyboard/mouse using the KVM.

(Alternately, you could accomplish this with two KVM switches; one with just monitor A attached, to both computers; and one with one monitor B plus they keyboard and mouse, attached to both computers.)

protected by Community Mar 9 '15 at 12:02

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