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I'd like to know if there's a way to restrict a keyboard to only interact with programs on a specific monitor without having to use a VM (waste of system resources for my needs)?

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No, this is not possible. Windows uses a combined input queue that is shared between all programs on the same desktop session, and when multiple monitors are present a single session is split between them.

I think you'll have to use a VM, even though you say you don't want to. You can have two copies of Windows in two separate virtual machines, and arranging one to be displayed on each monitor. I know VirtualBox has the ability to capture USB hardware so it communicates directly with the guest OS, so it ought to be possible to plug in two keyboards and tell it to use one for each VM. Other VM software is likely to have similar capabilities too.

If you have your two copies of windows as clones based off the same original snapshot, the VMs may be able to share memory between themselves for memory mapped files (i.e. programs and DLLs) that are part of the base system, so resource usage may not be as bad as you expect.

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  • That would be really nice if I could get that to work. Thank you for your reply. I'll give that a shot. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 15:02

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