You might want to connect two computers to one monitor to perform multiple functions simultaneously and increase your productivity.
It is relatively easy to do so.
KVM Switches are made for this purpose and are hardware devices with various ports.
However, KVM switches are not very common this day.
It is safe to say that it is a past technology, and better ways have come along the way. You might even struggle to find KVM switches in the market.
Hence, if you are looking for any way to connect two computers to one monitor without KVM, this article will help you out.
Here, I am going to share various possible methods to connect two or more monitors without using the KVM Switch.
However, if you want to upgrade your monitor and don’t sure which one should you choose, then check out our guide on best trading monitors and best monitors under $200 here.
What Is KVM, And How Does It Work?
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KVM stands for ”Keyboard, Video, and Mouse”.
There are various types of KVM switches are available in the market. Some of them are –
- Semi DDM
- DDM USB
- Emulated USB
- USB HUB KVM
There are some remote KVM switches that are also available in the market. Although these are not very common, they are still used in big data centers and home servers.
KVMs are very effective devices, they tend to have latency issues very often. You might find some high-quality KVM switches that do not have this issue, but chances are they’re costly.
Therefore, KVM switches are not ideal for personal use, especially when there are other readily available ways of connecting two computers to one monitor.
How To Connect Two Computers To One Monitor (Without KVM)
Now, let us see in detail how you can connect two computers to one monitor without KVM switches.
1. Use Monitors Ports
If you check carefully, you will find multiple IO ports at the back of your monitor. These could be HDMI, DVI-D, or DisplayPort.
If you can not understand the difference between the ports, please check the monitor’s instruction manual. A Google search will help you as well.
Depending on your monitor and its model, it might have different ports. For example, some monitors have two HDMI ports and a VGA port.
Once you have figured out the ports and their type on your monitor, you need to check the port on your computers.
GPUs these days come with multiple ports, so more likely than not, you have many connectivity options on your computer. It is a possibility again that you find two ports of the same connection.
So, if you have two computers with an HDMI port and a DVI-D port, you require your monitor two have one HDMI and one DVI-D port. You can then connect the computers to the matching ports.
If you have two HDMI ports on the back of your monitor, you will have to use the HDMI ports of both of your computers to connect to the monitor.
Just keep in mind that if your monitor comes with higher refresh rates, then connect it with the right cables. Otherwise, you won’t able to achieve the maximum refresh rates.
You can read our article on Which Cable Supports Best 144hz Refresh Rates?
It would be best if you made sure that the cables you use are not damaged. It would also be better to clean the ports and get rid of any dust and dirt before connecting them.
To switch between the computers on your monitor, use the ”input toggle/source” button. You will find this button on the OSD menu of your monitor.
Please check the user manual or visit the manufacturer’s website if you cannot find it on your model.
2. Using Third-Party Software
If the above option is not viable for you, or you do not wish to work with cables, you can download some software to help you get your job done.
These are usually free but also have a premium version. Standard software that connects two computers to one monitor includes ShareMouse, Microsoft Garage Mouse Without Borders, Input Director, Synergy, and LiteManager.
Lets us take a look at some of these.
This KVM software will help you control multiple PCs using one monitor, mouse, or keyboard. The software has a free edition so that you can try it out quickly. The software also has a standard or professional version.
With these, you can control over nine computers, share via clipboard, and drag and drop files from one monitor to another. ShareMouse works for both Mac and Windows and both at once as well.
2. Microsoft Garage Mouse Without Borders
This software was used by Microsoft privately before they made it public. It is free and is only compatible with Windows computers.
You also need to know that it will only work if you install the exact version of the software on both of your computers. You can check the Windows website for further regulations and instructions regarding the software.
3. Input Director
You can get this software for free, and it is effortless to use.
It has various features like a shared clipboard, switch control, sync shutdown, sync lock, etc. A lot of features of this software are customizable and very easy to understand.
You must make sure that you download the software only from the official sites of the manufacturers.
KVM switches are not as commonly used today as before.
They are also not very suitable for personal use. This article guides you on how to connect two computers to one monitor without KVM.
The easiest ways are connecting via ports or downloading KVM software. If you are going for the software route, make sure you go through each and its functional features to pick the most suitable one for you.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
Ques: Can I hook up 2 computers to one monitor?
Ans: Yes, you can hook up 2 computers to one monitor using a variety of methods such as a KVM switch, docking station, or HDMI switch.
Ques: How do I split my screen between two computers?
Ans: You can split your screen between two computers using a KVM switch or software solutions like Synergy, Input Director, or Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders.
Ques: Is a KVM switch necessary?
Ans: A KVM switch is not strictly necessary to hook up 2 computers to one monitor, but it can be a convenient solution to quickly switch between the two computers and share peripherals like keyboard and mouse.
Ques: Are KVM switches obsolete?
Ans: KVM switches are not obsolete and still commonly used in professional environments, but they have been largely replaced by software solutions for personal use.
However, KVM switches can still be a useful tool for managing multiple computers and peripherals.