How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor
Running two computers simultaneously is now more of a necessity than a luxury. You need one PC to perform tasks in the background while you browse or do other jobs with the other. The problem is that two monitors take up too much of your workspace. The way to solve this problem is to use two computers with one monitor.
You don’t have to be a computer programmer to connect multiple computers to a single monitor. Keep reading, and you will find which solution will work for you.
How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor
There are several options to connect two computers with one monitor outlined below, including hardware and software solutions.
The first option is a Keyboard, Video, and Mouse (KVM) switch. This hardware is commonly used for linking to computers or other devices. The KVM lets you switch control between devices. You can buy KVM switches online or in brick-and-mortar electronic stores.
To install the switch, follow these steps:
- Turn off any computers or monitors that you will be connecting.
- Attach a power adapter to your KVM switch.
- Connect the monitor video cables to the KVM switch video port.
- Turn on the monitor.
- Link your mouse and keyboard to the PS2 or the USB ports on the switch.
Now you are ready to set up the focus port, continue the KVM switch installation as follows:
- Change the KVM to focus on Port 1.
- Connect the PC1 video cables to the switch.
- Attach the PS2 or USB cables from PC1-to-PC1 PS2 or USB ports on the KVM.
- Turn on PC1 to load the computer operating system.
Check whether the keyboard and mouse can control the PC1 connection—repeat steps 4 through 9 to connect the second computer to the KVM switch.
How to Choose a KVM Switch
KVM switches are convenient because you don’t need to unplug and re-plug your devices constantly. They vary in price between $20 to $100 depending on your requirements. However, the quality of the switch you buy differs in every price range. Look for a reputable KVM brand to get the best results when you shop.
Consider the following when you are choosing a KVM switch:
- The number of people that will access the computers at the same time. This will determine how many ports you will need.
- Your video support needs like HDMI, VGA, etc.
- Video resolution requirements like 4k UHD.
- KVM switch control method, such as control buttons versus remote switching.
Make sure you have enough space for both machines. Your computers must be close together because the KVM cables are pretty short.
Connect Two Computers With One Monitor Using an App
Perhaps making cable connections is not in your wheelhouse. There are plenty of software-based answers to solve your problem. KVM’s allow you to control and share your devices via a cable connection. Similarly, you can find apps that connect two or more computers without the hardware.
The types of software applications available include:
- Apps that work on client-server models
- Open-source machine virtualizer and emulator apps
- System Manager Container apps
The app you choose will be based on your connection needs. However, the application software is cloud-based; therefore, all you need is an internet connection to control multiple computers.
Free Remote Desktop Programs
There’s another option for connecting more than one computer to a single monitor. Remote desktops are a program that can control one or more computers from the primary device. There are limitless, completely free remote desktop downloads on the internet.
The main advantage of using a remote desktop program is the devices don’t have to be in the same place. You can even share two computers from different countries. However, some users complain they have a few disadvantages.
These are some of the common problems with free remote desktop programs:
- Poor connection quality causes delays
- The screen is blurry with pixelated images
- Physical proximity necessary to make the connections
This solution is preferable for controlling devices that are distant from each other. It works best with activities where the screen doesn’t constantly move, like word processing. If your project requires heavy graphics, it’s probably better to choose another solution.
Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection
Microsoft offers a free remote desktop for Windows and iOS. This tool lets you control and access multiple computers simultaneously. Keep in mind that both the primary and remote computers must be turned on and set up for the connection to work.
Follow these steps to set up Microsoft Remote Desktop on a Mac:
- Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop in the Mac Apple Store.
- Tap “System Preferences” in the Apple menu to allow your PC to accept remote settings.
- Select “Sharing.”
- Check the “Remote Login” box.
- Click “Allow full disk access for remote users.”
- Choose “All Users” or add users under “Only these users.”
- Add a remote source or Remote Desktop connection.
Make sure the sleep settings on the remote computer are set to “Never.” You cannot connect to a sleeping or hibernating PC.
Here are the steps to set up Microsoft Remote Desktop on a Windows PC:
- Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop.
- Open “Settings.”
- Select “System” and then choose “Remote Desktop.”
- Tap “Select users that can remotely access this PC” and add users.
Alternatively, you can use the Remote Desktop Setup Wizard. It will walk you through the steps to quickly set up the remote desktop on your computer.
Connect Two Computers With a Monitor
Most likely, your two computers run on the monitor you already own. Two or more computers can be used with either a regular or ultrawide monitor. Still, you have to take different steps with each type of monitor.
The majority of regular monitors today have more multiple input ports. Here’s how to use them to connect to more than one computer:
- Connect a cable to the monitor’s VGA or other port.
- Attach a second cable to a different port (DVA, HDMI, etc.).
- Go to the internal input selection settings on the monitor.
- Select the computer you want to use.
Unfortunately, you will have to change the input settings each time you switch computers. This isn’t an issue if you don’t have to switch computers often. In addition, you will need a keyboard and mouse for each computer.
You can control multiple computers on fancy ultrawide monitors without cables or a KVM. To use two computers with an ultrawide monitor:
- Access the monitor settings.
- Follow the instructions for your monitor model to set up the computer display.
New ultrawide models are released under the same brand very frequently. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s direction for your exact model to avoid damaging your monitor.
Double the Productivity and Fun
Don’t worry about having enough space for two monitors, whether you live in a tiny apartment or a mansion. You can keep two computers running on one monitor without tons of bulky equipment. Enjoy “two-for-one” efficiency for work or play.
How many computers do you use with your monitor? Let us know which method you used to set up multiple computers if you use two or more. Leave your comments in the box below.