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View Full Version : A Switch for using 2 computers with the same peripherals?



ssssss
19-05-2005, 02:22 PM
Hi - I am thinking of getting a second computer and connecting them to the same monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers and printer; using the computers alternately. There is a switch which Warehouse Stationery sells, but it is only for the monitor, mouse and keyboard; not the printer and speakers. It costs $50 and is called a KVM switch, if I heard correctly.
Does anyone know of any other switches which would do, and who is the retailer for them?
Also are they idiot proof, in use? I wouldn't like to damage the computers by using the switch wrongly. :)

Scouse
19-05-2005, 02:36 PM
Hi SSSS I run an XP Pro machine and a 98SE machine alongside each other. I have a simple data switch at the front end which allows the use of a single keyboard and screen. The switch cost about $25 but does not cover the mouse. The data switch for board, screen and mouse was about $80 at the time and I didn't bother. I had spare mice, so two mice.
I have an automatic dataswitch at the back end so that both machines address the same printer. This cost about $27. The front switch requires me to throw a switch to select, the back switch requires no intervention from me. Both a virtually foolproof and have been ignored since the day they were installed. Both switches provided by Affordable Computers in Mot.

Tom McB
19-05-2005, 02:41 PM
Yup, a KVM is what you need. You can get them from DSE or Harvey Norman as well. Some switches come as a box alone and require the purchase of extra cables - you might want to factor in the cost of these when calculating the total price and making comparisons. Some work with a pushbutton on the box while others work on a combination of keystrokes to switch from one machine to another. HTH

ssssss
19-05-2005, 03:00 PM
Thanks Scouse and Tom McB,
I presume it is OK to keep both computers running all the time, while using these switches?

Overdrive_5000
19-05-2005, 03:12 PM
I assume that it would be a case of using one or the other but I could be wrong

Rob99
19-05-2005, 03:19 PM
You can have both on at the same time, my switch uses keystrokes to change form computer to computer.

[Ctrl] [Ctrl] [F2] switches from one to the other.

My KVM uses one mouse/keyboard/monitor and has the wires to connect two computers. I have not seen one that will handle the printer as well, but have seen some that will do the speakers. You could network the two togeather to share the printer.

ssssss
19-05-2005, 03:21 PM
Yes. That is why I am worried about possibly damaging a computer. If one has two running accidently, when one shouldn't.

ssssss
19-05-2005, 03:22 PM
Thanks Rob99 :)

Scouse
19-05-2005, 03:58 PM
Hi SSSS. I run both machines side by side at the same time. Doesn't seem to bother them.

FoxyMX
19-05-2005, 08:09 PM
I have a KVM switch from DSE and use it all the time to hook up and work on other computers using my own keyboard, mouse and monitors.


That is why I am worried about possibly damaging a computer. If one has two running accidently, when one shouldn't.
I am not sure what you mean by that. You don't have to have both machines running at the same time but you can if you wish, and no damage is done to either just by using the KVM switch. It is no different to having two computers side by side running with their own keyboard, mouse and monitor - all the KVM switch does is allow you use just the one set instead of two.

A tip: You may have to crank your mouse speed setting up to maximum otherwise the mouse may drag a bit when zooming around the screen. It does on mine, anyway.

John H
19-05-2005, 11:10 PM
sssss - R u coming to ChCh before you need to use the switch? I have one (with cables) that is surplus to requirements.

Cost you a bottle of something from a Nelson vineyard if you want pick it up from me in Papanui.

John

ssssss
21-05-2005, 12:56 PM
Hi FoxyFM - Thanks for your advice that it is safe to run both computers at the same time. It is just that I have been told it is bad for the computer to disconnect the monitor or keyboard or mouse from a computer while the computer is on, and that is what would be happening. But I must be wrong on that.

Hi John H - Thanks, I don't need it just yet, but will remember you if I do. :)

FoxyMX
21-05-2005, 01:07 PM
It is just that I have been told it is bad for the computer to disconnect the monitor or keyboard or mouse from a computer while the computer is on, and that is what would be happening. But I must be wrong on that.
It is OK to disconnect the monitor from the computer whilst the computer is on but generally not really OK to disconnect the mouse or keyboard unless they are USB devices.

Some people here have reported that they have no problems doing so but I always close down my computers before switching the mouse and keyboard plugs but don't bother for the CRT monitor.

Jen
21-05-2005, 01:28 PM
It is just that I have been told it is bad for the computer to disconnect the monitor or keyboard or mouse from a computer while the computer is on, and that is what would be happening. But I must be wrong on that.With the KVM switch, you aren't actually disconnecting from the computer when you switch between computers. The KVM emulates a keyboard/monitor/mouse device so even if you switch to PC#2, PC#1 will happily continue running thinking that it still has a keyboard/mouse etc attached, but just not being used. Switch back to PC#1 and Windows is still none the wiser that the focus for the keyboard/monitor/mouse was missing for a period of time. Is that what were asking?

Scouse
21-05-2005, 02:05 PM
Hi Jen. yes, your advice echoes my long time experience with this setup. No problems experienced.

John H
21-05-2005, 06:29 PM
Hi Jen. yes, your advice echoes my long time experience with this setup. No problems experienced.

Ditto. At one stage for some months I was using a switch with three boxes, and one monitor, keyboard, and mouse. None of them protested...

ssssss
22-05-2005, 11:26 AM
Hi Jen - Yes that's what I was worried about. Thanks for your advice. :)

ssssss
06-10-2005, 02:25 PM
Hi everybody,
I have now got around to trying this out and it works very well.
One mouse, keyboard and monitor with one KVM switch connected to two computers.
My HP 930c printer has connections for both parallel and USB so I am plugging one of each into the two different computers. It seems to be working for small black and white print jobs, but haven't tested it thourouly with colour. I think it will work though.
Thanks everybody who helped me. ;)