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Can I Hook Up Two Computers to One Monitor? A Step-By-Step Guide

Can I Hook Up Two Computers to One Monitor?

The use of computers in our everyday life is only increasing day by day. In fact, for many people doing all their work with just a single computer becomes very tough.

So having two computers has become a necessity nowadays. Having two computers allows you to keep your tasks running on one computer while you can browse or play games or do anything of your need on the other.

But if you have limited space in your home or workstation then maintaining two separate monitors for two computers might become difficult for you. In such a scenario one question might evolve in your brain, “Can I hook up two computers to one monitor?”

In this article, we will answer this question elaborately and will give you a proper direction on what you should do if you are planning to own two computers.

Can I Hook Up Two Computers to One Monitor?

Yes, it is possible to connect two computers to a single monitor. In fact, connecting two computers to one monitor can be very useful while multitasking.

It also allows you to switch between computers without unplugging and plugging any wires which will save a lot of your time and energy.

There are many methods by which you can connect your two computers to one monitor. Those methods are discussed here.

Into one monitor using two cables

The simplest way of connecting two computers to one monitor is to use two separate cables from two separate CPUs to connect to the monitor.

Modern monitors have multiple input ports in them. So you can connect two computers to the monitor by using separate cables. For example, you can connect one computer by using the HDMI port and the other computer by using the DVI or the VGA port.

When using this system you’ll have to use the monitor’s input selection through the control buttons to choose which computer’s output you want to see.

Though this system is very simple and requires no technical expertise at all but there is a problem with this as for this system you’ll require separate mice and keyboards for your two computers or you’ll have to regularly plug or unplug them while using different computers.

Besides this, the need to physically change the input selection on the monitor every time you want to switch between the two computers can also be annoying for many people. It’ll also decrease productivity.

Furthermore, if your monitor doesn’t have multiple input ports in it then this option is out of your reach.

KVM Switch

A KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, and Mouse switch) is a hardware device that allows a user to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, video display (monitor), and mouse.

KVM switches are available in a variety of designs and setups, supporting two to dozens of PCs and providing extra capabilities like remote access, compatibility for numerous video input/output formats, and USB peripheral sharing.

Using a KVM switch is convenient for space and quite simple to operate. You may purchase a basic, two-device switch for a reasonable price or a high-end switch to accommodate numerous 4K connections, based on your consumption and requirements.

The main drawbacks of employing a KVM are its cost and the requirement for close proximity between the computers to connect to the switch. Rarely is there much extra cable available.

Additionally, switching between computers on KVM switches might take a few seconds, which could be annoying.

The steps for connecting computers to the KVM switch are:

1. First identify the sort of video ports that are present in your computer and monitor.

2. Purchase a KVM switch that supports the type of ports present in your PC and monitor.

3. Connect the video cables from each computer to the corresponding input ports on the KVM switch. To both systems, repeat this.

4. Now connect the video output cable from the KVM switch to the input port on your monitor.

5. Connect the keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals to the corresponding port in the switch.

6. Insert the audio cables from each computer to the KVM switch’s audio input ports, if your KVM switch supports audio.

7. If your KVM switch needs external power, attach the power adapter to the switch and connect it into an electrical outlet.

8. Now turn on the system. Press the switch to shift between the computers.

Using Remote Desktop

A remote desktop program is a software application that enables users to connect to and manage a computer from a distance, generally over a network or the internet.

Software like AnyDesk and TeamViewer enables you to control a computer from a distance by transferring keyboard inputs and movements of the mouse. Even if you are not in the same country or location you can still control another computer with this system.

But there are several drawbacks to this system one of which is its reliance on internet connection. If the internet is not strong or if at a particular time, the computer totally loses internet connection then this system won’t work. While using it you may often face delays in the movement of your mouse and keyboard inputs.

The clarity of the screen is another issue. Though it usually works well for general browsing or word processing due to little screen changes but for fast-moving images like games or videos the image pixels can become blurry which will cause severe problems for the user.

The experience of using a computer remotely may not be as smooth or quick as using a computer in person. The user experience and productivity may be negatively impacted by a perceptible delay or reduction in responsiveness, depending on variables like internet speed and the intricacy of the tasks being carried out.

Using an Ultra-Wide Monitor

You can also use an ultra-wide monitor for both of your computers. As the screen size of ultra-wide monitors is very big so it can easily accommodate the outputs of two computers by splitting the screen.

Even though it is expensive if you can afford to pay its price then you can connect the video cables from two computers to the monitor and use both the computers at a time by splitting the screen.

You can guarantee a consistent viewing experience on both computers with a single ultra-wide display. When comparing content, handling visual tasks, or working with design aspects that demand precise color representation and screen calibration, this is especially helpful.

To do the setup follow the instructions below:

1. At first check the ports that are available on your computer and get the cables that you need.

2. Now insert the Video IN of the display cable into the computer’s port and insert the Video OUT into the monitor’s port. Repeat this procedure for both systems.

3. Now find the open settings button on the monitor.

4. From the input menu select Picture-by-Picture or Picture-in-Picture mode.

5. Now choose the proper aspect ratio for the displays, then click “Ok.”

Now you can see the materials of both systems on one monitor at the same time.

However, this approach has a serious drawback and it’s the same as that of “Into one monitor using two cables” that is you’ll require two sets of mouse and keyboards for the two computers.

If you use only one set then you have to tolerate the hassle of frequently plugging and unplugging the cables of the mouse and the keyboard.

Hooking Up Two Computers to One Monitor

Benefits

Space-saving: By employing a single monitor for two computers you can clear up your workspace. This can be very helpful in cramped work environments or when numerous PCs are needed but there isn’t much room available.

Cost-effective: It may be more economical to share one monitor across two computers than to buy one for each one individually. This may lead to lower overall hardware costs as well as less energy use.

Simplified cable management: Sharing one monitor can help you use fewer wires, simplify cable management, and maintain a cleaner environment.

Drawbacks

Limited screen real estate: Unless you have an ultra-wide monitor, which is extremely pricey when two computers share a single monitor, you cannot see both systems’ displays at once. This could restrict your capacity to compare data between the two systems or multitask, which would lower your productivity.

Inconvenience with simultaneous use: Sharing one monitor might be awkward and impractical if two users need to utilize two computers at once because they will need to alternate using the display.

Potential performance degradation: Using a KVM switch or other hardware devices to switch between computers may cause a little lag or reduce the quality of the video output. In most circumstances, this is not a big deal, but occasionally it could affect the user experience.

Final Verdict

So now you’ve got the answer to your question “Can I hook up two computers to one monitor?” You can see there are several methods to connect two computers to one monitor. You can utilize any one of them according to your need.

If you utilize several computers in your room for work purposes, KVM switches may be useful. On the other hand, if you have to control other computers from a distance then using remote desktop programs is the only option for you.

FAQs

Can I connect two laptops to one monitor?

Yes, you can connect two laptops to one monitor using a hardware switch or software solution.

Is it necessary to have a special monitor to connect two computers?

No, it is not necessary to have a dedicated monitor to connect two computers. Any modern monitor with HDMI or VGA input will work. But if you have an ultra-wide monitor then it will give you a great experience.

Can I connect more than two computers to one monitor?

Yes, it is possible to connect several computers to a single monitor using certain hardware switches. But switching between computers gets trickier the more computers you connect.

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