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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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I think I remember seeing one of these devices that let you switch which computer you were controlling your mouse, keyboard, and monitor with through some sort of device. I was on the phone with HP for a while and they didn't know of any type of this device. Am I just dreaming? I know I saw the thing in 2001 when I was on a project.
It's called a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse), and I'm using one now. The one I use is an old IOGEAR MiniView 2 Port device. It's about the size of 2 decks of cards. I've also got a 4 port version that I used to use for work when I had 2 laptops and a desktop to deal with. Mine is PS/2 port based, but it's old. I'm sure the newer ones have USB. It wasn't all that expensive.
Suppose you have more than one computer in the same room but you do not have enough room for a second monitor. Or, you have a laptop and want to use it with your home computer's keyboard, mouse and monitor, without changing your current setup. The answer lies in a handy device called a KVM switch.
KVM stands for keyboard, video, mouse. The keyboard, video, and mouse set collectively is called a "console." KVM switches allow you to connect a console to more than one computer. You simply connect your console cables to the output jacks of the switch and connect the switch to the connections on your computer that the keyboard mouse and monitor would normally be plugged into.
KVM Switches Let You Switch between Consoles
To switch consoles, you just push a button on the switch and it allows you to use the other console. KVM switches save you money because you won't have to purchase separate keyboards, mice, and monitors for each computer you use. It makes it very easy when one person uses more than one computer at work, for example. They are also useful for server farms with one staff person accessing each computer periodically, one at a time.
When buying KVM switches, it is important to fully understand your needs before you buy anything. Make sure the switch you choose will support your monitor refresh rates and resolution so that the signals are not degraded.
You can get KVM's with 2 ports to 16 ports and more, but realistically I would suggest getting at least a 4 port.... everybody starts out with just one PC, but once they get a second, it's usually only a matter of time before a third is also added.
BTW pay particular attention to the last sentence in the blurb I quoted from Newegg - it's important