How To Share Monitor With Multiple Computers


If you have multiple computers and not enough monitors or enough monitors but not enough space to set everything up, then there is good news. It’s possible to share a monitor. There are various ways:

KVM Switch

A KVM Switch or Keyboard Video Mouse switch allows you to hook up more than one computer to a monitor. My examples are all VGA-based. You take a VGA cable and hook one end to the end port of the KVM and the other to your monitor. Then you hook up your computers to the side ports of the Switch with VGA cords. Other designs may have a slightly different setup. Then, it’s just a matter of cycling through the computers by pressing the button on the device. I can also hook up a keyboard and mouse. So I could hook up one monitor, one keyboard and one mouse to two or four computers or more. The small ones in my picture are for two computers and the larger ones can handle four each.

From experience, switching monitors is no real issue, but mouse and keyboard switching– it’s so-so.

HDMI Switch

I have an HDMI Switch hooked up here. This one does not support the keyboard and mouse. Here I have the output wire at the bottom connected to my TV. The two wires at the top are connections from my cable box and my Windows 7 Acer Desktop. Using the select button, I can cycle through up to three devices with this model.


I would also like to point out this one comes with a handy-dandy little remote-control to make switching from one source to the next a lot easier than fumbling with the Select switch on the device.

TV

A third option is to use your TV as a monitor. I do it on and off all the time. Most modern-day TVs come with an assortment of plugins on the back. I have an older Acer desktop that I use for backups connected to my TV. I have to click on the source button to switch the input device. In my case, my button is labeled TV Input. It might also say, Input, Source, Video Input, etc, depending on the brand of TV and remote. Because I’m using VGA for this one, that’s what I chose on the menu.

Monitor

Your monitor, like TVs, may have more than one input. If so, you can hook up a different computer to each input and then go into the monitor menu and switch the Input. My HP LP1965 monitor has a button labeled Input.

To sum up– too many computers? Lack of space? Just share your monitor and maybe a TV.


About the Author

Terry Hollett

Terry is a self-taught computer aficionado, who after being exposed to Windows 3.1 in the early 1990's devoured every book and magazine on the subject he could get his hands on. A published author with over 20 years' experience building and servicing computers for friends and family he started his first website in 2002 at Hit Any Key.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Terry,
    My problem was a little different than your article. I have two computers with monitors, one win7 and one win10. my problem was switching keyboard and mouse all the time for which computer I was using at the time. I found a program called “Mouse without borders” that will let you use the same keyboard and mouse on up four computers at the same time. All with software, no boxes needed.

    • I’ve used that program in the past. Haven’t thought about or used it in awhile. I might give it another shot. Thanks for the info.

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