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How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor

How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor

Nowadays, many households own multiple computers for work-related and personal tasks. Although having a dedicated PC for what you need is necessary, separate monitors and other peripherals take up space. Luckily, options are available for multi-tasking your computers and reducing additional hardware by managing your computers using a single monitor.

If you want to run two or more computers from one monitor, read on to learn what options are available and how to implement them.

How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor

The most common ways to run multiple computers via one monitor is:

  • Use a cable to connect the computers to the HDMI or DisplayPort on your monitor.
  • Use a keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) switch device to connect your computers, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Then flip a switch to swap between computers.
  • Use a remote desktop client to connect to another computer.

Option One: Use Multiple Ports

Your monitor has multiple input ports, just like your smart TV. Most modern monitors have two HDMI or DisplayPort sockets, and depending on the model, some may have a combination of HDMI, VGA, and DVI ports.

Pros and Cons

This is an easy way to connect your computers quickly through your current monitor.

However, an individual keyboard and mouse are required to control each computer. You could switch your keyboard and mouse between computers when necessary. If you are only using one computer occasionally, this method could work.

Also, consider that displaying the complete view of two computers simultaneously is usually exclusive to modern, ultrawide monitors. If you have one of these monitors, search online for information about the model to find out how to set it up to display both outputs permanently.

Two Computers

How to Setup?

Once you’ve plugged leads from your computer to your monitor, to access either computer, you’ll need to access the internal menu of the monitor to change the input.

Option Two: Use a KVM Switch Device

A keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) switch are a device that allows connections from multiple computers for output to a single monitor and input from one set of devices. Therefore, there is no need to constantly plug and unplug your keyboard and mouse or use multiple sets.

KVM Switch Device

Pros and Cons

Working with a KVM switch is space-friendly and pretty straightforward to use. Depending on your usage and requirements, you could pick up a basic, two-device switch at an affordable price or a high-end one to support multiple 4k connections.

The main downsides of using a KVM are the added expenditure and the proximity the computers need to sit to connect to the same switch. There’s usually is not very much spare cable. Also, KVM switches may take a few seconds to switch between computers, which could be inconvenient.

How to Setup?

  1. Connect the power adapter to the KVM switch.
  2. Connect your monitor’s HDMI cable to the console HDMI port on the KVM switch.
  3. Switch on your monitor.
  4. Connect your mouse and keyboard to the PS/2 or USB ports on the KVM switch.

To switch between computers, use the button or switch on the computer. It takes a few seconds for your monitor to change to the new computer.

Option Three: Use Remote Desktop

If the above options are not suitable for your requirements, another option is to use a remote desktop client (RDC) and server application. A remote desktop is a client app that allows a computer (client) to connect to another computer from another location. Thus, the client enables access and control to your other computers from one computer.

The remote desktop works by installing the client application on the computer you’ll be physically using, then running the server app on the computer you want to access.

Pros and Cons

This simple and free solution allows you to access your other computers from your main computer when using the same network.

However, this method depends on a good network connection. When controlling another computer over a lousy connection, there may be a delay in your keystrokes and mouse movements. You can prevent these potential lags if your other computer is on your local network.

How to Setup?

Microsoft’s RDC tool is built-into Windows, and or you can install the Windows 10 Universal app via the Microsoft store. Here’s how to set up a desktop connection:

  1. Log into the computer you want to access remotely.
  2. To enable remote desktop on that computer:
    • Select “Settings,” “System,” then “Remote Desktop.”
    • Enable the switch beside “Enable Remote Desktop,” then “Confirm.”

To connect to your second computer from your current computer:

  1. Go to the “Start” menu and choose the “Windows Accessories” folder to open the Remote Desktop Connection app.
  2. Select the “Remote Desktop Connection” entry.
  3. In the computer field of the RDC window, type in your second computer’s name or IP address.
  4. Click the “Show Options” button, then enter the credentials for the account you’ll use to log in.
  5. Check the “Allow me to save credentials” option if you wish, then “Connect.”
  6. If you receive a message saying something along the lines of the identity of the remote computer can’t be verified, check the “Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer,” then “Yes.”

You’ll now have full access to your second computer.

Two for the Price of One

When needing to use multiple computers, a few options are available to facilitate connections from one computer. If your computers are close to each other, you can simply connect both to the monitor using the monitor cable. Or you can plug all your hardware into a KVM switch device to switch between your computers. However, those two options require your peripherals to be close to each other.

An excellent option for when your computers are physically far apart is to use a remote desktop connection. When the computer you’re trying to access is switched on, and you’re accessing it over a good network connection, you can work from your other computer as if you were sitting in front of it.

How does connecting your computers to one monitor benefit you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “How to Use 2 Computers Within One Monitor”

James says:
Option 1 should be “Shop for a monitor with dual PC control” I have a Dell that does just this, and it’s older than this article
cornelis van brienen says:
The thing i want to see in the future is running on a ultrawide screen . Instead of using 2 screens or having to switch between pcs and set my screen to one pc ir the other is to run both side to side on the same screen withouth switches . Both pcs i use a small desktop pc for fb broesing etc . And other for dj video editing etc . The thing i use now is 2 monitors one keyboard and mouse and wheb i swipe to my left screen i am in control of my left pc . When i scroll to the right i have control over my right side smaller pc . I want to have the same but then in one monitor withouth bs switches that i dont want to use . To say okay split screen but that i can also multitask between the screen/pcs . I had an old acer laptop when the screen died . I removed the top part of the laptop connected it to an old pc and i could do my oc work and old laptop work from one screen and switch between them without pressing stupid buttons or using BS switches .
Littlefoot Longstroke says:
This is already achievable via RDC.

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Dec 18, 2021

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