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1 keyboard 3 computers ????

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nomadic, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. nomadic

    nomadic Bit Poster

    Is it possible to use one keyboard for three different computers. without having to unplug the keyboard and replug into them each time. I know you will say, how would each computer know when you are on it itself. maybe by having the mouse cursor on each screen when you want to use that particular computer with the keyboard. can a hub do the trick. connect hub to each computer and single mouse or something like that.

    Please someone know someone who may know someone who knows, or you know yourself.

    thanks guys.
    NB: if this isnt invented yet and you come up with it.....share
    WIP: ccna
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    You could try Synergy or a KVM switch.

    Synergy allows for a sort of 'virtual desktop' to allow keyboard to be shared but requires multiple monitors.

    A KVM switch switches the keyboard, video and mouse between computers, it just rewires the input and output devices for you on the press of a button.

    Note KVM switches come in VGA and DVI variants. Also can be PS/2 vs USB. Some also switch sound.

    Another alternative is to use Remote Desktop/Terminal Services or a VNC client to control the other computers.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. gosh1976

    gosh1976 Kilobyte Poster

    KVM switches are standard equipment in computer repair shops on the repair bench and also used in many other instances. We have a few iogear kvm switches here.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCDST, CCENT, MCTS: Win 7 Configuring, CCNA
  4. Simonvm

    Simonvm Kilobyte Poster

    Yep, use this one in my study room too :)
    Certifications: MCITP: EST, MCDST, MCTS, A+, N+, CCNP, CCNA Wireless
  5. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

    I use Synergy between two Windows PCs and two macs on the desk at home, works very well, is a bit awkward when it fails or you need to manually start the service on a client, but its an not that common so everythings fine

    make sure you dig up the newer versions, Synergys dev seemed to dry up but has been rekindled
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  6. algorithm&blues

    algorithm&blues Nibble Poster

    KVM switches can be fairly inexpensive. I remember picking up one brand new for about £25 a few years back.

    From experience I can tell you that the powered switches tend to work a little better than their non powered brothers - but this could just be my personal preference. If power supplies are limited, you won't notice a ton of difference
  7. nomadic

    nomadic Bit Poster

    Thanks guys,

    been spending hours on wiki, etc, looking at the differneces between them. manual KVM switches seem problomatic with the connections, rebooting etc etc etc. are cheap though, Synergy looks complicated but may not be, will ask if i am thinking correctly just now or have understood it correctly and active KVM switches seem the best to me, although i am currently reading up on them trying to find more info on the security side as i have three computers that i would like to connect up together. one being my laptop with internet connection which i dont want on the other two machines as i will be practising on them for my ccna. last thing i want to do is mess up my internet connection.
    for Synergy to work between my laptop and other two pc's and have it secure do i download synergy, install ssh and cygwin which is going to take up 4gb wham. is this correct or am i way off. i understand it as for ssh to run you need cygwin, and for synergy to be secure you need ssh or vpn or stunnel.
    other option is to connect just the two pcs and leave laptop seperate. then no security problem, i think

    thanks guys
    WIP: ccna
  8. mcrilly

    mcrilly Byte Poster


    I think the two suggestions stated, Synergy or a KVM, are perfect.

    I'm not sure why you're worried about your Internet connection though, especially if you use a physical consumer grade KVM. They are designed to only switch the VGA/DVI, keyboard and mouse between multiple hosts, so your Internet/LAN connection doesn't even come into the equation.

    After five seconds of searching Amazon for "kvm switch", I found this baby. She looks decent and has four ports, meeting your requirement easily and permitting an extra host should the need arise. If you get such a physical KVM, you don't need to worry about the other hosts highjacking your Internet connection.

    I hope this helps.
    Certifications: CCENT
  9. csx

    csx Megabyte Poster

    Another vote for Synergy! :D
    Certifications: A+, Network+, 70-271 & 70-272, CCENT, VCP5-DCV and CCNA
    WIP: Citrix
  10. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    Make sure the switch has keyboard/mouse emulation or they won't be detected if you boot a machine while switched to another.
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job
  11. nomadic

    nomadic Bit Poster

    Hi thanks for the advise guys,
    mcrilly the reason i was worried about the internet being invaded or being messed around by me more than likely that is, i have read on many sites that you can connect via the ethernet ports and a lot of the points mentioned on many manufacturers sites are the security side of their KVMs. i suppose they are connecting thru the ethernet port. those switches are way too expensive for what i need anyway. i can also remember reading somewhere that traffic can run thru your usb or ps2 ports too. or something like that. maybe i misread that. i will look for it again and put it on just for interest sake and also learn from you guys. the baby you showed me is a bit on the basic side and i am sure i would get frustrated with rebooting and the time delay
    on screen switching. i like the look of this one. it has most of the features. any feedback on this one would be most appreciated as i cant find many reviews on it. ATEN CS1734B 4 Port USB 2.0 KVM Switch with OSD PS2/USB

    Soundian thanks for the hint on the emulation of the keyboard, and mouse. this one above seems the best of all worlds.
    not sure about the make though. Belkin to me seem the best but what do i know.

    WIP: ccna

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