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Sharing keyboard, mouse & monitor

by jlkirk / May 1, 2008 5:40 AM PDT

Hi all!
I would like to share my wireless keyboard and mouse, both running off of the same "antennae" (a USB connection), and a monitorm, between a docking station I have for my laptop and my desktop. In addition, I would like to share a wired (to my desktop) printer that is not wireless.
Any ideas?

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Ok. . .
by Coryphaeus / May 1, 2008 7:03 AM PDT

Get a KVM switch for the keyboard and mouse. One caveat here. Most KVM switches are for PS/2 type connections and may not work with USB. You can research them here

Printer. Do it like mine. Install the printer and connect it on one machine and share it on the network. Have the other PC look for network printers shared. When XP finds it it'll load the needed drivers. Down side here is that the PC the printer is connected to must be turned on to use the printer from other PCs.

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You can get
by tekchallenged / May 1, 2008 5:25 PM PDT

KVM switches for either PS/2 or USB, you just need to check that you are getting one with the connectors you want (I have one with USB connectors).

Do you want to share your printer from different locations? If not, you could do what I do. I have a USB extension cable from each of my computers with the connector end on my desk, and I just plug the printer into the computer I want to print from. You can also buy print servers which let you share a printer via ethernet cable, or wirelessly.

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KVM and Network printers
by willivon4 / May 2, 2008 11:01 PM PDT

I'm going to assume you have your desktop PC and the docking station both connected to a network that connects them both to the internet service you use. That would involve either a router and a modem (Cable or DSL)or a single device that incorporates both commonly referred to as a gateway. If yours is a wireless network the desktop may be wired to the router or gateway or have a wireless adapter and the laptop have a wireless adapter, probably built in.
Whichever type of network you have your windows operating system (98 SE or newer) allows printer sharing on the network. As another has mentioned the PC to which the printer is connected has to be on for the printer to be available on the network.
The keyboard and mouse sharing involves a KVM switch. They come in PS2 or USB keyboard and mouse connection style. They also are availible in VGA or DVI connection for the monitor. I'd bet You'd want a USB style KVM switch, probably with VGA video connector style. I've found poking around to be a great way to start the search for what I need in such situations. They have a wealth of info. very well organized.

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I think there is a better solution
by gkamer / May 2, 2008 11:29 PM PDT

I looked into using a KVM switch (Keyboard/video/mouse) but from my understanding, when you switched from computer A to computer B, computer A was essentially shut down. At least with respect to being able to see the monitor and stuff that was going on with that system.

I did come across what I consider to be a much better solution, and found it right here on Cnet. Google a program called Synergy. It is a free software program. You need to install it on both computers. Here is my situation.

I have 3 computers on my network. One is my wife's computer. The other two are a laptop and desktop that belong to me.

I installed Synergy on the laptop and my desktop. I consider my laptop to be my primary and my desktop to be my secondary system. Because I did not like the little keyboard or mouse pad on the laptop, I purchased a full sized wireless keyboard and mouse for my laptop.

I set Synergy up to see my laptop as the server and my desktop to be the client. Now I have my keyboard/mouse connected via USB cable to my laptop. My desktop has no keyboard or mouse connected to it.

When I come home, I turn on both computers. Once they both boot up, they can "see" each other because they are on the same network. Te keyboard and mouse function on the laptop. If I move the mouse off the right side of the laptops screen, it enters my desk top monitor from the left. The desktop is now the "active" system, and the mouse and keyboard function for that computer. By moving the mouse to the left of the desktop screen, it appears on my laptop screen, just as if I had a dual monitor set up. But instead of having a single system sharing 2 monitors, I have 2 systems haring tha single keyboard/mouse.

Now lets' say I want to multi-task. I move my mouse over to my laptop and start running a defrag. Once that begins, I simply move my mouse over to the desktop screen and I can work on that computer, while I monitor the defrag on my laptop.

Presto, I'm using a single keyboard and mouse between 2 computers, at the same time. There are unfortunately, 2 major draw backs to using synergy. But then you had to know there would be right? Happy

First, in order to use synergy, both computers have to be networked.

Secondly, you can not drag and drop files between the 2 computers. You can however copy/paste files, since the computers are networked.

But in the long run I find this a much better solution to using a kvm switch.

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I mis-spoke
by gkamer / May 3, 2008 12:41 AM PDT

I need to correct an error in my earlier post. I stated that Synergy allows you to copy/paste files between 2 computers. That is wrong. What I meant to say was it allows you to transfer files from one computer to the other via your network, which you can of course do even without Synergy installed, as long as you have file sharing activated.

Sorry if I caused any confusion.

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Synergy and Vista?
by JimVine / May 3, 2008 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: I mis-spoke

I am interested in this software (Synergy) as I run 2 screens on a desktop and a laptop with an extra monitor making 4 screens. Everything is networked and works perfectly.

But my laptop is running Vista Home and I can't find any info if Synergy will run on Vista.
Anyone know?

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Just how to find out.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 24, 2008 12:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Synergy and Vista?


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I use Synergy with both Vista and Windows 7
by williamrbliss / July 15, 2010 7:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Synergy and Vista?

I have not encountered any new problems on these platforms.

Understand that the author has not updated synergy for a couple of years now and is probably on to other things; still it works.

There will be times you need to have a separate mouse and keyboard on each machine, especially when reconfiguring and restarting.

Also, using Win7 as the main machine, certain applications (e.g. Ms Word & Excel) grab the focus of the mouse and keyboard and I cannot move the mouse (which controls focus) to another machine until I click on the background of my main machine to release the focus-hold the application has. I don't remember if Vista or XP did that.

Most of the time it is a great convenience to have one keyboard and mouse for 2-3 machines and not need a kvm.

Remember, just LOOKING at another monitor does not move focus! You have to move the mouse there! I still do that every now and then. Happy

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by AREFERRAL / January 26, 2009 6:05 AM PST


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Kvm switch
by R. Gardner / May 3, 2008 7:46 PM PDT

Check and look at Belkin Omniview 2 port KVM switch with built in Cable.Works well and good support.Raggers

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by solitare_pax / May 3, 2008 11:03 PM PDT

I currently use a Connectpro Master-IT USB type KVM switch on my setup and it works very well - so well that I had to go and trade up from the 2 computer to the 4 computer model.

The setup includes a DELL (ca 2004, XP Pro), an old Beige Mac (ca 1998, OS 8/9) and a Mac Mini (ca 2006 OS 10.4) hooked up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, so as you can see it works very well switching between platforms and vintage / new hardware.

The main drawback with it (and other KVM switches I would guess) is you need to have the monitor keyboard & mouse selected when you turn on the computer - or the computer will wonder where they are, and run screaming back to the default video preferences. There is also a short delay when switching between machines - the monitor comes up instantly, but it takes a few seconds for the keyboard and mouse to be recognized - not much worse than waking the computer up from a screen saver mode though.

At any rate, it is a very satisfactory solution to my needs, since each of the computers has specific programs I need to access from time to time - and I can do it all from one desk with one 21 inch monitor.

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If that's how your KVM behave,
by ahtoi / May 4, 2008 1:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Recommendation

then you got the wrong KVM or bad KVM. I have an I/O-Gear ps/2 KVM; my computers don't wonder..looking for keyboard.

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The tricky part is the single access point

I have a similiar type (mine is dell) wireless keyboard/mouse with a "single access point"; ie the little wireless box connects to both the keyboard and mouse with just one usb cable running to the computer. The cheap KVM switchs need the keyboard and mouse plugged into seperate USB ports on the KVM. I've read some reviews of the cheaper KVM switches working sometimes with just the one usb cable coming from your wireless point but I personally have not had luck. After a long time searching I believe what you (and I) need is a KVM switch that offers video (maybe audio if you need it) and usb switching. In other words; not just keyboard and mouse switching but full usb support. I understand this to be true if your keyboard has special keys also (for example dedicated keys to control your music).

So I guess the headline is be careful; you need a USB KVM with full USB support.

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