Whenever I think of a KVM switch, my mind turns to those archaic hardware A-B switches that allow you to hook up a parallel printer to two computers. In the days before high-speed internet, seamless Wi-Fi, and USB hubs, a physical KVM switch was a handy tool.
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A KVM switch isn’t quite that archaic. It’s short for “keyboard, video, and mouse,” and they’re still handy even with all the mod-cons at our disposal.
Times are changing, however. You no longer need a dedicated KVM switch for your multi-system setup. Here are three software KVMs you can use instead!
What Does a KVM Switch Do?
A KVM switch is a hardware switch that allows you to control multiple computers from one keyboard, video display (monitor), and mouse. Essentially, you can control two computers with a single mouse and keyboard, all through your regular monitor. A KVM switch can save you a fortune in hardware costs if you have more than one computer at home.
KVM switches are not just physical hardware. There are several handy virtual KVM applications that let you share your mouse and keyboard across computers. Better still, they’re easy to set up!
3 Software KVMs to Replace a Physical Switch
Critical to the success of a virtual KVM is ease of use. The following software KVM programs represent the easiest way to share your mouse and keyboard without requiring a physical KVM switch.
ShareMouse is the easiest of the three programs to set up and run. Once installed, it shows up in the taskbar as an arrow icon. Hover over the icon to see how many other PCs on your local network are set up with ShareMouse and ready to use. ShareMouse instantly detects my laptop and desktop.
ShareMouse has some cool features. One I particularly like is the ability to dim the monitor you are not using. It is an excellent reminder for the screen your mouse is currently lurking on, but also helps preserve precious laptop battery life if you’re not charging.
Another excellent feature is the file drag and drop and shared clipboard between your computers. ShareMouse definitely makes it easy to share files without using a USB flash drive or otherwise.
You can use the Monitor Manager to tell ShareMouse where your monitors are in relation to one another. The Monitor Manager is simple to use; just drag and drop your monitors into their correct position. ShareMouse displays the monitor letter on each screen as you move them, so you know which is which.
The free version of ShareMouse does come with a few limitations. For instance, you can only use two computers, and those computers must only have one screen each. You cannot use the free version in a server environment.
Download: ShareMouse for Windows macOS (Free)
LiteManager is a little different to other KVM options on this list. LiteManager is more akin to a VNC viewer but shares many of the same mouse and keyboard sharing characteristics you want in a KVM. (Here are 7 more screen sharing and remote viewing toolsThe 7 Best Screen Sharing and Remote Access SoftwareThe 7 Best Screen Sharing and Remote Access SoftwareSharing your Windows screen has many benefits. Use these free tools to share screens or gain remote access to another computer.Read More for you to check out.)
The key difference is that instead of sliding your mouse to one side of your monitor to take control of your second screen, LiteManager displays the second system on the screen you are working on. In that, LiteManager is a better match for multi-system setups that involve computers in separate rooms (although it is perfectly fine for a side-by-side configuration, too).
Once you download LiteManager, you must install either the Viewer (client) or Server software depending on which computer you’re using. For instance, I use my desktop primarily, so this is my Server. My laptop is the Viewer.
Once the server installation completes, select the OpenLiteManager Free Server Now option. A new icon will appear in your system tray. If you roll your mouse over it, the LiteManager server icon will give you a list of IP addresses you can use to connect the viewer (on your other computer) to the server.
Copy one of the local IP addresses down and head to your second computer where you installed the Viewer. Open the Viewer, then select Add new connection. Paste the local IP address and any passwords, and you’re good to go. You can access your new remote connection by double-clicking the screen in the Online section.
LiteManager Free comes with a vast range of tools for managing your remote connection. For instance, you can lock the server’s mouse and keyboard, remove the server wallpaper, disable the synchronized clipboard, and more.
You can also change a number of security settings, such as the level of encryption for the connection, the password difficulty, IP filtering with white or blacklists, and the denial of certain connection types.
LiteManager Free is available for several different operating systems, extending the functionality of the tool and your productivity!
Download: LiteManager Free for Windows macOS Android iOS (Free)
3. Input Director
Input Director is the final virtual KVM program for you to consider. Input Director uses on installation to give you the option of being a Master (server) or Slave (client). You run the Master on your primary system, then install the Slave on as many additional systems as you like. In that, Input Director allows you to build an extensive network of Master/Slave systems all using a single keyboard and mouse.
Configuring the placement of your screens isn’t quite as pretty as ShareMouse, but it does the trick. You can add Slaves using their network IP address, or the hostname provided in each Input Director window. Setting up your network across all the systems you want to control is a piece of cake.
Input Director has some cool features, too. If you enable the Cursor Wraparound feature, you can take your cursor off the edge of any screen on to another (rather than in parallel). Another handy feature is the cursor ripple effect. When you near the edge of the screen, the cursor gains a water ripple effect, letting you know you’re approaching the transition zone.
Rd Client Android
Download: Input Director for Windows (Free)
KVMs Are Great for Multi-System Setups
If you have more than one system in use, a software KVM switch is an effective way to boost your productivity. Using a single keyboard and mouse to control multiple systems will save you both time and money. And who doesn’t want that?
If you have a multi-monitor setup, rather than multi-system, check out our guide on how to make the most of your monitor real-estate3 Easy Steps to a Dual Monitor Setup and an Extended Desktop3 Easy Steps to a Dual Monitor Setup and an Extended DesktopA dual monitor setup is wonderful. But does your PC support multiple monitors? We'll show you how to use two monitors or more.Read More.
Rd Client Microsoft Windows
Image Credit: Robert Freiberger/Flickr
Explore more about: Computer Mouse Tips, Keyboard, KVM Software, Productivity Tricks, Workstation Tips.
I think these solutions are ok but they are not all inclusive and will not work for all users. My main reason for saying this is because I cannot see how any of these solutions can work unless everything is all on the same network. What happens when you have two PC's that need a KVM solution where each PC is on a separate network and the networks cannot communicate with each other for security or other reasons. A software KVM will not work in this situation. It has to be a hardware solution. I am intrigued by the solutions given here though for the more simple needs.
As usual, Linux is given a short shrift. By Ryan in 20 13 and by Gavin, in his supposed update, in 20 19. Are you guys trying to pretend very hard that Linux does not exist? And that if you just do not mention it, it will go away?
I think we need Synergy up in here
The information you guys have collated is absolutely incredible. I’ve already read Clark Scott’s book. But still, this helps me put things into a better perspective.
Don't forget MouseWithoutborders, it works like a charm
That article was very useful, thanks!
I tried Sharemouse running a laptop with Windows 8.1 connected to a second monitor, and a separate older desktop on its own monitor running Windows 7. So far it works great, including the drag and drop feature for files from laptop to desktop and vice-versa.. I sprung for the pro version as it really wasn't that expensive. I had tried Synergy before and could never get it to work, and even bought the updated version thinking it might work better, but didn't. Thanks for letting us know about these products.
I want to share a screen with my work laptop and my home PC. The problem is the work computer doesn't allow me to install any software on it. I would think this would be a common issue. VGA KVM are cheap, but if you go to HDMI or Displayport it is much more expensive. Some newer monitors and PC's don't even have VGA anymore.
I have a dual monitor setup for my laptop and a second laptop off to the right. I installed Input Director on both computers and set both of them up. Setting them up was so easy that I didn't even have to read the directions. Hopefully I won't have any problems with it but so far it's working very well. Thanks for the article.
The only time that I need a KVM rather than some form of RDP is when I need control outside of an OS; troubleshooting boot issues, BIOS level config etc. Unless this can be built into mainboards for use without an OS I don't see much use for it.. but if that were easily possible it would probably already be a feature of iLO/iDRAC, no?
sharemouse is for dual monitors one mouse and one keyboard.
I installed Input Director v.1.4 build 110, which I believe is the latest available version, on a XP (SP3) desktop and a Win 10 machine.
Love the ease of use, easy setup, and clean transition, and the mouse target-like locator pointer effect is SO NICE!
I tried a few other KVM solutions, namely Share Mouse (which is touted by many as THE best KVM out there, but SM messed things up bad for me: sluggish transitions, freezes, mouse 'bumping' at the edge of the screen and needing several tries before transitioning between them, etc.;) no other KVM solution out there, and I mean NONE comes close to ID!
Sent the developer two suggestions for future versions, even if I do not know if these are possible or even make sense from a developer’s point of view, or if they are even technically possible:
1) would love to have a hot key to switch/toggle Master/Slave systems between 2 machines previously setup as 'toggle-abled' (or several, if different hotkeys could be assigned, ex. Ctrl+Alt+K (for KVM) + 1 or 2 or 3 etc. for each different machine) would be a VERY useful addition to ID!
another one would be,
2) to be able to somehow Save As from Master to Slave, so that files from the Master could be saved to the Slave machine. Ex., if I am working on one machine, to be able to have the file I am working on the Master saved to the HDD of the Slave. I know that this is a bit beyond the scope/purpose of a KVM solution, but would be a killer addition to ID.
Other than that, I truly can't think of anything else I would like to see ID do.
It took me 5 minutes to install and setup, and another 5 minutes of trying it out to the developer to see if there is a way to support his work.
Does not happen often!
ID is a gem!!! LOVE IT!
Some work machines are set up in a way that they cannot access any LAN resources. no printers, no NAS, no other machines, nothing. you cant even ping them. in this case, none of these programs will work and a hardware device is your only option.
Same boat I'm in which is why I'm looking up KVM reviews!
The guys in the comment section recommending Synergy need to stop doing it. Synergy is NOT a KVM software. It is KM (keyboard and mouse) only! If I have one monitor only and want to use it with 3 desktops (not laptops) Synergy is as good as shit. You would need a monitor for every machine if you want to use Synergy. In my case VNC applications are the only solution I can think of. Thankfully it is a free open source standard and there are many free and open source VNC applications out there. If someone knows of another software KVM (NOT KM) please let me know.
My monitor has two HDMI inputs so I would just push a button to toggle to the other system if you have that option.
OK well that's all fine and good, but what if one of those computers is not under your control? I want to use my work laptop at home, with my 2 monitors, so that I can switch to my laptop/monitor 1, and then hit a button and switch to my home computer - monitor 1 and 2. So essentially monitor 1 is the 'switched ' monitor, while monitor 2 remains constant to my home pc. I can't install any software on my work laptop. I was actually using a KVM (installed by my ex boyf) but I wanted cables to be neater and so went about unplugging/plugging, and now the KVM doesn't work anymore and I don't understand why. HELP!!
Dude seriously u make this article based on shit seriously ur downing a kvm switch when the whole point of a kvm switch is so that the user can use one mouse one monitor and one keyboard for multiple desktops ur options are not the same so u should not compare and try to sound smart by this article these don't compare to a kvm switch ur options have 2 monitors u should make that clear before posting something like this which makes it try to seem like ur options are a better solution to a kvm switch when they actually are not the same.
i realize that farsi or ordu might be your primary language that may have a profound impact and ramifications on your ability to communicate and express your point, so i'm going to take it easy on you and just say that it might behoove you to pick up a composition study guide, and learn it
I have 2 laptops with 3 external screens each (2 rows of 3 screens in front of me).
One of the laptop is connected to my office VPN permanently which led me to believe that a KVM was the only solution. I purchased a IOGear but switching was very slow because I do not use standard mourse or keyboard (I used logitech wireless).
I tried the ShareMouse software and somehow works OK with a laptop being on VPN - did nothing special, just worked.
Also loved the cut and paster between the two (Use it a lot to share screen clips) - works perfect.
Gladly paid the professional fees - will save me in productivity - PS: I am an individual user and not affiliated with anyone.
I have similar requirement where 1 laptop is always connected to my Office VPN, whereas other laptop is Personal One. I have 3 monitors, but trying to find solution to share the three monitor setup between my office and personal Laptop. Could you please help me share the steps/tips ,so i can try mimic your successful configuration. Thanks in advance
I have the similar requirement where 1 laptop is always connected to my Office VPN, whereas another laptop is Personal One. I have 3 monitors, but trying to find the solution to share the three monitor setup between my office and personal Laptop. Could you please help me share the steps/tips ,so I can try to mimic your successful configuration. Thanks in advance
Sorry, but there are places where KVMs are still a must. Ron writes of one such. Anywhere that you need to manage machines during boot or at the BIOS level, software tools won't work.
To do that with servers in a rack takes cabled hardware and a hard console at the rack so one can insert, remove, and boot from alternate media or hit special keys during boot to direct the boot process. There isn't time to power a server on and then run to a machine somewhere else and bring up a web browser or other software to do that; the window of opportunity would be gone before you got there. And in most cases such other software could not communicate with the server being managed until its OS was fully loaded.
In that context, the Lantronix Spider KVM is an interesting product. It runs its own web server and can manage connected machines at power-up and in BIOS over an IP connection to anywhere. But if you have to be hands-on with the server during power-up even that won't work unless you have a laptop or something running a web browser at the rack. And (having never used one) I'm not certain that you can intervene during boot with special keystrokes through the web browser interface, or do it fast enough to be effective. So probably a conventional KVM is the only viable solution in that setting.
None of these actually work reliably. I've tried them all. Constantly run into issues and lag.
Kavoom! software KVM switch does all this, displaying whichever computer is selected on the main computer's screen, copying and pasting between applications on different computers, etc. Doing this with ONE screen is critical if some of the computers being accessed are in different locations. Kavoom! KVM is Windows-only, so can't display or control Apples, Linux, etc. It's problem, now, in the Windows world, is that it appears that it doesn't support Windows 10. :-(
Connecting to VPN kills software KVM.
Another article with no dates.
And a KVM is for Keyboard, Video, Mouse - who explains this by using the word monitor instead of Video for a clear explanation.
And the point to a KVM is that you only have one monitor & the article goes is all about having multiple monitors.
The writer & editor should be fired!
You provided no useful information. Your post should be fired and I will accept mine being fired too.
@Mat Kim, no... 'Ugh' provides good feedback. The article is misleading for those who are looking for a true KVM switch solution with one monitor.
yes. i have only one monitor, but it has db15 and hdmi inputs from desktop1 and desktop2, so i have to toggle the input mode of my monitor. i only want to share my mouse and keyboard. i realize i can just not use the v of the kvm, however, if there's a software solution for this configuration, i would also be interested in that
yes, but if they aren't fired, they should at least be reprimanded
While it isn't a perfect alternative, installing a client server solution on multiple clients and one server does in fact allow you to switch Keyboard and Mouse control over the server system. The keyboard and mouse are part of a different computer system (rather than just an independent keyboard and mouse), but the solution works.
Not that I think IT or computer stores / repair shops are your intended audience, but in those scenarios, you need a good no-software KVM solution, to quickly switch between multiple systems on a repair bench and/or provisioning work area.
Just get Synergy...
Not sure why Synergy wasn't reviewed especially given the criteria:
'use two computers with a single mouse and keyboard, without very much hassle at all'.
As a developer, I work across two laptops at minimum. Sometimes more.
I tried Input Director early on. When I began working with multiple OSes (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux - Elementary OS), I needed a new solution as ID only supported Windows.
I found Synergy, and haven't used anything since.
Synergy supports all the features Ryan listed in the article sans ShareMouse's screen dim (which sounds cool, but I can live w/o it).
Most importantly, Synergy is pretty easy to set-up. No need for separate client/server installs.
I'm sharing because Synergy made my workflow so much more efficient I made a donation (as a freelance dev this is the best possible endorsement I can give a piece of software).
Yeah, me too. From what I see here, Synergy is WAY better that these. I have used it for years and there is nothing available that is anywhere near Synergy.
Synergy +1. By far the most reliable of this lot.
Like Ryan, I've been a fan of Synergy. Cheap (donation ware, actually) and well supported. I like (and use) it so much I went back and gave the dev an additional donation recently.
Any of these apps can share touch input (touch screen) ?
Multiplicity has been my go-to virtual KVM. You can share controls over up to 9 PCs with their native monitors as a seamless desktop. Even more if you buy a special business license through their sales managers. You can set up audio sharing (which works surprisingly well on lan!), share files across computers, run it over the internet, and it even works as remote desktop software.
Some features are locked into higher price models, but the 20 dollar model will net you 2 PC KM and audio features; the 40 dollar model gives you access to 9 PCs and all the features I listed here. Even more features are available in the 80 dollar and high volume licenses.
I've been using Synergy for years. Use it. It's the best software kvm around.
good proposals for home / self employed scenarios.
Not sufficient for many home office workers:
I got my home office with a private PC, private Laptop, Job Laptop and Wife's job Laptop. Not enough space to enjoy more than 4 monitors / 1-2 keyboards - but always needing to be on the company network with Cisco VPN when working.
Thus home = private LAN, job PC 1 = company LAN 1(through VPN), job PC 2 = company LAN 2 (through VPN).
Frustrating - but still don't want to clutter up my home office desk with too many mice, keyboards, etc. Also don't want to work on the 12' screen of my job laptop permanently.
Great example for why, even in 2015 you would still need a KVM switch for your multi-pc setup - unless you are a pure home user, self employed person or got the luck to work for a company not dictating use of VPN for working.
Remote support software is a wonderful technology which helps businesses in providing efficient technical support, increased productivity etc. Tools like R-HUB remote support servers, logmein, teamviewer etc. are used for remotely accessing computers.
Glad I read this!
For me the main point of KVM would be because I have two monitors plugged into my main PC, and I'd like to use those with other PC's without having to buy dual monitors for all other pc's and physically reposition myself to be looking at the other PC. Two of these options sound like they only switch the mouse & keyboard.
I was intrigued by the remote PC one then I suddenly realized - I already HAVE remote PC software (screen connect). DUH! That doesn't give me dual monitors when I connect to the other PC, but it at least lets me stay seated where I am, facing the same way. So now I know I've had a workable solution all along...
I was just looking on-line for KVM switches and I don't know the quality, but it seems the ones that say they can handle dual monitors start around $150 each.
Amazon has TP-Link, 4 monitor/PC hookup KVMs for $45. Just Google for KVM switches and you'll find a plethora of options...
'You can always buy a KVM switch for pretty cheap these days,' I would just like to say that this is absolutely not true what-so-ever, even today. It certainly wasn't true 3 years ago. The cheapest KVM switch that will work for todays setups that I've found (that is, HDMI or DVI, and USB) was close to $300.
In some places $300 is cheap, just saying.....
i agree with #Ted de Castro Team Viewer not mentioned anywhere... REALYYYYYYYYYYY?????????????????
Its free version is by far the most appropriate when it comes to remote login. am not discrediting the above tools but i think they are more associated to I.T guys yet Team Viewer can be used by anyone...
TeamViewer is laggy as hell. It's a workable option, but can be very frustrating. I use it to manage the PC of my elderly grandmother who lives 4 hours away.
- I'll just leave this here. Best way to handle multiple machines. Right now I'm running Windows 10, linux mint, and hackintosh machines all right next to each other on 3 screens with 1 mouse and keyboard.
I read this article and '3 Tools to Control Your PC from A Distance Using Remote Access' and I am surprised that neither mentioned Team Viewer! This FREE for personal use program will let you remote control another PC or android device from a PC or android device. The remote/slave computer can even be headless!! Unlike some of the programs mention in this article. I used it to rescue a PC with a dead monitor to remotely adjust parameters for a new video card supporting the replacement higher resolution monitor while the pc was still without a monitor - and did all this from my android phone. It works well for remote use INCLUDING Wake-On-Lan!
BTW - this article did not include source or price for the software mentioned.
It also works with iOS. Overall it works very well and it's great if you need to remote to a PC for some reason, but the interface can be pretty laggy and frustrating at times. I use it to manage my families various machines when they call asking for help, but this process always takes longer than it would in person due to the input and response lag. I'm on a 60Mbps connection and I use TeamViewer to access the multiple PC's in my own home as well and it's frustrating on my local network as well...
Can any of these link a PC with a Mac? I have a PC for work with 4 monitors. I use a Mac for music software. It would be nice to use the same workstation to save money and space.
For what its worth. I am running the following
1) Laptop w/monitor
2) PC with 3 Monitors
3) PC with 1 Monitor
4) PC with 1 Monitor
In addition 2 PCS remote but in room (can't see monitors)
5) 1 keyboard and Mouse
Controlling this I am using Multiplicity from Edgerunner.
Items 1 thru 4 I use SEAMLESS mode the monitors are sitting 5 with 1 above. (Laptop Left, 3 Monitor PC middle (and primary system) and Server right. Also Email machine Above. Wife's computer (5th machine) and Son's computer (far away) are being handled with KVM mode .
Only problem thus far has been the mouse goes crazy when I try to do play WOW on my wifes machine from my monitor. no idea why.
Else best 79 bucks I ever spent.
Guidance please ?
I'm currently running a 3 monitor display (2560 x 1440) from 1 pc with windows 7 pro.
If I want to add 1 more PC to this set up so I can switch between the two using the same monitors, am I able to do this with any of these softwares or do I have to go down the KVM switch route ?
From what I've read above sounds as if you can move between pc's however they need their own monitors attached ??
Not sure if anyone responded, but see my post immediately below yours. I don't believe you will be able to share all three monitors on two machines with a software KVM. If indeed you find one that is possible, i'd love to know about it.
Agree - the artcle's premise is flawed - it does not replace a KVM because of BIOS level access and Multiple minitor requirement.....
Very misleading article, obviously no software solution will ever replace a hardware KVM in situations where you need access to the various devices before an OS boots up (BIOS config, OS installs), or when network connectivity within the particular OS is not an option.
MaxiVista been around some 13 years and is good... it's like $39... Mouse without borders is good for free.... The ShareMouse looks good... I need to try it.
Mouse w/o borders is a pretty good KM solution from Microsoft and is free.
If you don't mind spending a few bucks KAvoom KVM and KM is pretty good too.
ShareMouse is free (for 'non-power' users). I've just completed the (very simple) setup and it works great, for my application. My home network includes a work laptop and a home theater PC setup to control a TV. The HTPC runs XBMC as the primary application. I often work on my laptop while XBMC is playing from my music or DVD collection, or streaming online video content. With sharemouse, I can easily switch to the TV screen to control XBMC (load a playlist, movie, etc.), then easily switch back to my laptop screen to continue my work. The author does mention a two system /two screen limit on the free version. I cannot verify the limit at this point, as I've only attempted to (and only need it to) run two system. I first installed Sharemouse on the laptop. Sharemouse installation automatically configures the firewall and installs a service (a 'bypass' of Windows User Account Control). On the completion of installation, a Sharemouse system tray tooltip indicated the detection of another machine on the network, and instructed installation was required on the other machine. As soon as I completed the second installation, matching open UDP ports, the application was functional. This is a small (less than 2 MB), simple, polished, very functional, FREE application. Thanks!
Sharemouse is free (for 'non-power' users). I've just completed the (very simple) setup and it works great, for my application. My home network includes a work laptop and a home theater PC setup to control the TV. The HTPC runs XBMC as the primary application. I often work on my laptop while XBMC is playing from my music or DVD collection, or streaming online video content. With sharemouse, I can easily switch to the TV screen to control XBMC (load a playlist, movie, etc.), then easily switch back to my laptop screen to continue my work. The author does mention a two screen limit on the free version. I cannot verify the limit at this point, as I only have two monitors in play. If I read correctly, there is an error in the article regarding the installation of Sharemouse. As I recall, the author says the installation is only required on one machine. This was not my experience on Windows 7 (both machines running Win 7 Pro 64 bit). I first installed Sharemouse on the laptop. Sharemouse installation automatically configures the firewall and installs a service. On the completion of installation, a Sharemouse system tray tooltip indicated the detection of another machine on the network, and instructed installation was required on the other machine. As soon as I completed the second installation, matching open UDP ports, the application was functional. This is a simple, polished, very functional, FREE application. Thanks!
I want to add my two cents on Synergy. An awesome program, but as you mentioned, damn hard to set up. I have set it up dozens of times on different set ups in my time.
More than half the time, it never works at all, and I am very savy.
I am going to try out Input, because I find the unmentioned '50 dollar a computer' price tag far too much for the ShareMouse one.
I picked up Wormhole Switch when it was on sale at NewEgg or TigerDirect or someplace like that. It's a USB cable that you connect between USB ports on two machines. One of the connectors has the software for both Windows and Mac built into it like a USB thumbdrive. It looks like a USB keyboard and mouse to the second machine. It supports clipboard sharing and file dragging. Both machines can have a second monitor, but then you lose the 'drag the mouse from monitor to monitor' and the file dragging capability. Worked very smoothly and painlessly for my Windows 7 system and my client's Mac.
What about Mouse Without Borders? It's not quite as feature-full as ShareMouse, but it's an option.
Been using RealVNC and Synergy for years. Read the article and tried ShareMouse and found it to be dead simple to set up and use and they offer a portable version which makes it even better.
I'm using Multiplicity and it's as easy as it gets. Free version connects one computer (if each has additional monitor, that's one mouse/keyboard controlling four monitors), paid one believe up to nine. Also will centralize audio so all sound comes to one computer.
Definitely worth checking out and adding to your list.
while this seems to be a cool idea, from what I see there all virtual KM switches, not KVM.
I don't see it being really helpful connecting my desktop to the other desktops or my servers I don't have room for or want 2-3-4 or more monitors. having to buy them makes this way more expensive than a good KVM switch.
it could be useful to connect a desktop with laptop(s) but why? it is not like you're saving space maybe to use it with an tablet
Ryan ... Your article on KVM alternatives is great, I feel, and is very much appreciated. However, I hope you can entertain my question. As I'm very short on space, I want to be able to 'access' my secondary system(s) from the 'start.' By 'start,' I mean two things: (1) I'd like to be able to access the secondary system(s) without having to install any client utilities, if possible, and (2) after the systems are built, for low-level (pre-startup) administration purposes, I foresee sometimes needing to access the secondary system(s) before they've fully booted. With this being the case, can any of your recommended alternatives work for me? I mean, if a secondary system hasn't even booted yet, it seems I'd not be able to use your recommended utilities. Am I correct? Or perhaps there's something I missed. In any case, thanks for your work and willingness to share what you've learned.
Although I didn't read each and every comment to this article I'm pretty sure the one thing that was not mentioned is: I/you/we use a KVM-switch because we have only so much space on the desk and do not want to have every system running simultaneously.
No, seriously, I use a KVM for some time now and the MAIN REASON I bought one was to have only 1 keyboard/mouse for my windows and my linux system (laptops, btw).
Recently I switched from linux to mac and everything is still fine.
And I do not have to waste precious energy for a system that is only online to share the keyboard/mouse.
But: if you are using 2 or more systems simultaneously all the time, the software solutions might be better. If the host system never crashes ...
Butter: I still love my KVM.
I love share mouse! Thanks for the other things worth looking up. Anything that works with Linux OS is awesome - we have it way better than Windows users.
Oh my goodness! Sharemouse is awesome!!! Thank you!!!!!!! I just got my new computer set up last night - what a timely post!
No mention of stardock multiplicity???? (Now under a different company name). Multiplicity puts all these to shame.
Can any of these handle switching from a desktop with monitor connected to it to a laptop but then being able to use the monitor also with the laptop?
I have been using microsoft mouse without borders for ages why havent you got this on the list its so simple a monkey could operate it
Hi, Is there any program which will allow me to share keyboard and mouse with laptop and desktop connected to different networks in my office. The laptop uses Wi-Fi while the desktop is connected to LAN and I don't have admin rights on desktop.
again mouse without borders, aslong as you have the same pass key setup you should be good. can share files also
What's the name of keyboard?
The mouse is by far the least of the problems that need a kvm to address... the monitor is by far a bigger one. Now, if these solutions would let you 'grab and pull' the other desktop onto the monitor then that might work, but that's not an easy thing in software.
Also, one of the main reasons I use a kvm is to switch between 'my machine' and my work laptop, which is on the work VPN ... so any solution that just looks on the local network doesn't help.
Interesting stuff though, can see how it might help some people.
Agreed...I had tried all of these and a VPN makes the solution unworkable....for my purposes a way
Major flaw in all mentioned software is need for monitors on all machines.
Thus adding clutter on table.
I agree with this. The point of using a KVM is to get rid of 3 things that clutter your desks, the Monitor is a big part of that clutter.
anything for cross platform systems? working with windows is a downfall lol!
Yup... It's called a KVM.
it gets annoying when majority of the software out there is for windows only. it's fine for office usage but what if you are running Linux at home and a buddy brings his box with for troubleshooting. what do you do then?
For true cross platform, you are back at Synergy. The software works very well on all 3 platforms: linux, win7/win xp, mac.
I agree it has a bit of a learning curve but that is bound to happen given the power one has access to with this tool.
You can configure many computers, reorganize monitor arrangements, define hotkeys to perform different actions on each computer connected and various other advanced features I have not tried.
However, you need to spend the requisite time and ideally learn to write the synergy config file by hand, but standing on the other side, I would say it was time well spent.
Just my 0.02$
If its an all-Mac setup, check out Teleport
I am using Mouse Without Borders. It is a Microsoft Garage application. It is free, dead simple to setup and I can control up to four computers with one keyboard and mouse. I have it controlling two computers. And, if someone wants to use the other computer it does not disrupt me on my computer. The computers have to be on a network. Data can be shared via the clipboard, but not dragged from one computer to the other.
This is a great productivity enhancer!
I just posted the same thing as you, shoulda checked if anyone else mentioned it lol
Most Workstation or server class motherboards actually support IPMI as a standard component. IPMI allows full console redirection and power control via a browser interface, regardless of the power state of the attached system, including CMOS or EFI settings.
I can manage systems at a dozen customer sites from my phone sitting at a McDonald's, even if they're turned off. It doesn't get much better than that.
Sounds vulnerable to exploitation.
Synergy (which i am using right now on my Mac), and quite easy to setup on Mac and XP. Windows 7, however, has issues with Synergy running as a service, but ought to work if the service is started manually (via services.msc). Otherwise, run it in desktop (legacy) mode.
'That requirement is important because it actually forced me to shy away from reviewing Synergy, after I spent nearly an hour trying to get it working on my two laptops without much luck at all'
Funny, Synergy was mentioned.. It's in the 4th paragraph for those who don't read..
Synergy is powerful software but takes a bit of time to configure and the solutions reviewed are fairly simple.
Why not include something like Synergy? The program's awesome.
As I said in the intro - I took a look at Synergy, but decided not to include it because I wanted to mention only those programs that were extremely fast and easy to set up. After reading some of the help forums out there online about Synergy and playing with it myself, I realized it's nowhere nearly as simple to set up as the ones mentioned in this article. The programmer really need to update to a simpler setup like the apps reviewed above.
Agreed!!!! Synergy is awesome! I have used Synergy for years. I would say that it is fast and easy to setup in just minutes for any number of machines and monitors. Not as simple, but very flexible.
Seriously, no mention of Synergy?
Yes - see my reply to Justin.
Thanks for this
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Reporting for duty
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