How to Share One Monitor Between Two Computers


Many people have a personal home computer (i.e., PC) and a personal laptop, and many have a work laptop as well. Laptop screens are often quite small, and your home desk may become crowded when you need to use your laptop. Fortunately, you can easily share peripherals -- monitor, keyboard and mouse -- between computers with a simple flip of a switch. This simple connection will take you less than 15 minutes and will allow you to use your PC monitor, keyboard and mouse to access your laptop. Flip a switch, and you're working on your PC again.

Things You'll Need

  • Keyboard video monitor switch
  • Video cables (if needed)
  • Determine what type of connection your computer, monitor and mouse have, and purchase a KVM switch that has the appropriate connections. Purchase cables, if necessary, to connect the KVM switch to your computers. USB cables are preferable. Consult your local electronics store clerk for advice on the specific switch you choose.

  • Disconnect the monitor, keyboard and mouse from your computer, and untangle the cords if necessary.

  • Connect your monitor, keyboard and mouse to the appropriate ports on the new KVM switch.

  • Connect one of the cables on the other side of the KVM switch to each of your computers (e.g., PC and laptop).

  • Turn on your computer monitor and both computers, and press the button to test monitor sharing. Follow the KVM switch manufacturer's instructions to find out how to use keyboard shortcuts to switch between computers.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you need to connect several computers, each with its own keyboard and mouse, to a single monitor, consider using a VGA switch (see Resources).

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  • Photo Credit Erik Snyder/Lifesize/Getty Images
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