In this article, I will be showing you how to connect two computers to one monitor by using three different methods. You might be familiar with the KVM (keyboard, video, and mouse) method, but I will also show you how to connect two computers to one monitor without KVM the other methods.
Nowadays, some PC users own multiple computers for work-related and personal tasks. Although having a dedicated PC for a specific task is necessary, separate monitors and other peripherals can take up some space. Fortunately, there are options that can allow you to multitask and reduce additional hardware by making your computers use a single monitor.
If you want to use two or more computers from one monitor, read on to see the methods that are available, and also show you how to connect two computers to one monitor.
How to Connect Two Computers to One Monitor
The most common ways you can use two computers on one monitor are as follows:
- Use a cable to connect the computers to the HDMI or Display Port 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.
Now, let us look at the methods one after the other, and I will also reveal the pros and cons for each.
Using Multiple Ports
Just like your smart TVs, monitors also have multiple ports. Most modern monitors have two HDMI or display port sockets. Depending on the model, some monitors may have a combination of HDMI, VGA, and DVI ports.
Pros and Cons
Pros: This is an easy way to connect your computers quickly through your current monitor.
Cons: 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.
How to Setup
Once you have connected your computers to your monitor, to access any of the computers, you will need to access the internal menu of the monitor to change the input.
Using a KWM Switch Device
A KWM switch is a device that allows connections from multiple computers to give output to a single monitor, and input from one set of devices. This connection nullifies the need for you to constantly plug and unplug your keyboard and mouse or use multiple sets.
Pros and Cons
Pros: working with a KVM switch is straightforward to use and also space-friendly. 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.
Cons: the main disadvantages of using a KVM are the added expenditure and closeness the computers need to be placed in order to connect to the same switch. Also, KVM switches may take a few seconds to switch between computers, which could be inconvenient.
How to Setup
- Connect the power adapter to the KVM switch.
- Connect your monitor’s HDMI cable to the console HDMI port on the KVM switch.
- Switch on your monitor.
- Connect your mouse and keyboard to the PS/2 or USB ports on the KVM switch.
To switch between computers, simply use the button or switch on the computer. It will take a few seconds for your monitor to change to the new computer.
Using a Remote Desktop
If the two methods I talked about are not suitable for you, the last method is to use a remote desktop client (RDC) and server application. A remote desktop is actually a client app that allows a computer (client) to connect to another computer from another location. Therefore, 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 are physically using and then running the server app on the computer you want to access. If you are looking for how to connect two computers to one monitor without KVM, now you have it.
Pros and Cons
Pros: This simple and free method allows you to access your other computers from your main computer when using the same network.
Cons: This method requires you to have a good network connection. When controlling another computer using a slow internet connection, you may experience delays in your keystrokes and mouse movements. You can prevent these lags by connecting your other computer to your local network.
How to Setup
Microsoft’s remote desktop client is built into Windows, and you can install the Windows 10 Universal app via the Microsoft store. Below are the steps to set up a desktop connection.
- Log into the computer you want to access remotely.
- 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:
- Go to the “Start” menu and choose the “Windows Accessories” folder to open the Remote Desktop Connection app.
- Select the “Remote Desktop Connection” entry.
- In the computer field of the RDC window, type in your second computer’s name or IP address.
- Click the “Show Options” button, then enter the credentials for the account you will use to log in.
- Check the “Allow me to save credentials” option if you wish, then “Connect.”
- If you receive a message saying something along the lines of the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified, check the “Don’t ask me again for connections to this computer,” then “Yes.”
You will now have full access to your second computer.
If you want to use multiple computers on one monitor, there are a few methods you can use. Reading up o this stage, I am sure you must have learned how to connect two computers to one monitor by using the three methods I explained right on this page.