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Video:Share Peripherals Between Two Computers With a KVM Switch

with Ken Gumbs

IF you often work on two computers at the same desk, having an easy way to switch between the primary input/output devices on them is a necessity. By using a KVM switch, it's trivial to share your keyboard, monitor and mouse between two computers.See Transcript

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Transcript:Share Peripherals Between Two Computers With a KVM Switch

Hi! This is Ken for About.com, and today we're going to lean out to install a KVM switch to use two computers on one desk.

What Is a KVM Switch?

KVM stands for keyboard, video, mouse, and essentially allows you to connect multiple computers to the same keyboard monitor and mouse. The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of KVM port you need. For example my keyboard and mouse uses a PS2 port but others may use a USB. And my video monitor happens to use a VGA, others may use a DVI.

Connect the KVM Switch

Once you've purchased the right kind of KVM switch, it doesn't matter the different between the PS2 port or the USB port, because the setup is exactly the same. My older PS2 port, you may recognize has the purple and green, all you have to do is plug the purple port into the corresponding purple port, and the green one the same. If you have USB you just plug the two USB ports into there.

Now here's my VGA monitor output, I'm going to plug that into the KVM port. So now we've plugged our different cables into the KVM port. Next we have to send out our two different signals here into the two different computers. Essentially all we're doing is plugging in one USB which will send the signals for both the keyboard and mouse, and our video port. And you'll do that for two different computers.

Set Up the Peripherals

So once you have your KVM switch hooked up to two different computers, you'll probably want to check the manual to figure out exactly how to switch between active computers. It's usually a combination of keystrokes, but you'll check your manual to make sure exactly how to do that with your KVM switch.

So now I've successfully hooked up both a Mac and a PC to the same monitor, keyboard, and mouse. And I checked the manual. And to change the active computer on this KVM switch is hitting scroll-lock button twice and the arrow button. And you'll see here that I'm able to scroll between two different active monitors.

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