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Thread: KVM Switch Question

  1. #1
    Administrator Boss-Hog's Avatar
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    KVM Switch Question

    Hi all,

    I recently developed a need for a way to use my laptop (which is only used for work) along with my home PC (desktop). Even though I have a separate keyboard/mouse for my laptop, I only have one computer desk and I don't have anywhere else in my place that's conducive to doing multiple hours of work at a time, so I thought the simplest solution would be to order a KVM switch for the two PC's. I ended up going with something economical (the TRENDnet TK-209K 2-Port USB Switch), which seems to be exactly what I need - until I ran into a problem hooking it up to my desktop.

    My monitor and video card both only support DVI connection and the KVM switch only accepts a VGA connection (same as the laptop). So, once I realized that, I ordered an adapter that would allow me to plug my monitor into the KVM switch and then used the opposite kind of DVI > VGA adapter to allow me to go from the switch to my desktop. Given that I had two adapters hooked up to a single computer, I can't say I was surprised when I did not get any video output on my monitor using the switch. After doing a bit of research, I've found out a couple of things - they do make DVI KVI switches but 1). they're much more expensive and 2). my laptop doesn't accept a DVI connection. Is there anything I can do that will allow me to use the same keyboard, mouse and monitor on both of these computers without constantly unplugging them and plugging them in to the other device, which is what I'm doing now? Thanks for any help you can provide...

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  3. #2
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Hmmm... I've used KVM switches quite a bit and adapters usually got me around these connectivity kinds of problems (usually DVI-VGA and USB-PS/2). But my monitor and computer were usually VGA with the occasional oddball DVI system that a DVI-VGA adapter solved. I don't quite get why you have to go through 2 adapters.

    Just plug keyboard and mouse into the desktop and Remote Desktop Connection to the laptop?

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  4. #3
    Administrator Boss-Hog's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Hmmm... I've used KVM switches quite a bit and adapters usually got me around these connectivity kinds of problems (usually DVI-VGA and USB-PS/2). But my monitor and computer were usually VGA with the occasional oddball DVI system that a DVI-VGA adapter solved. I don't quite get why you have to go through 2 adapters.

    Just plug keyboard and mouse into the desktop and Remote Desktop Connection to the laptop?
    Thanks for the response, Roy.

    Maybe it's a matter of simply not having it installed properly, but here's what I did: plugged my USB keyboard and mouse into the KVM switch and plugged my DVI monitor into the VGA KVM using an adapter (DVI -> VGA) that I purchased. I then needed another adapter (of the opposite type...VGA -> DVI) that came with my video card to go from the KVM to my DVI video card. Hopefully, that makes sense...if not, please let me know.

  5. #4
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss-Hog View Post
    Thanks for the response, Roy.

    Maybe it's a matter of simply not having it installed properly, but here's what I did: plugged my USB keyboard and mouse into the KVM switch and plugged my DVI monitor into the VGA KVM using an adapter (DVI -> VGA) that I purchased. I then needed another adapter (of the opposite type...VGA -> DVI) that came with my video card to go from the KVM to my DVI video card. Hopefully, that makes sense...if not, please let me know.
    Gotcha.

    Can't offer much guidance. A DVI native KVM switch seems the way to go but you said $$$ was an issue and I hear that. The set-up I used to have had a native VGA monitor and there was only one DVI system that I had to do the DVI-VGA thing for so I never did the round trip like you did.

    If you have the spare hardware around, plug in a VGA monitor and then a VGA system and see if you can narrow down if its 1.) monitor, 2.) system, 3.) combination of both. Contact the vendor and see what they have to say. Search the web for similar experiences but I'm sure you've done that.

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    Administrator Boss-Hog's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Gotcha.

    Can't offer much guidance. A DVI native KVM switch seems the way to go but you said $$$ was an issue and I hear that. The set-up I used to have had a native VGA monitor and there was only one DVI system that I had to do the DVI-VGA thing for so I never did the round trip like you did.

    If you have the spare hardware around, plug in a VGA monitor and then a VGA system and see if you can narrow down if its 1.) monitor, 2.) system, 3.) combination of both. Contact the vendor and see what they have to say. Search the web for similar experiences but I'm sure you've done that.
    I'm nearly positive the problem lies in the monitor to KVM switch connection (DVI -> VGA). Money isn't a huge issue - it's more the cost doesn't justify what I'd be getting out of it. The DVI KVM switches cost ~$100 whereas this was only $25, and since is the only use I have for it, if I can't get it working, I'd rather continue to just switch the keyboard/mouse between computers - rather than pay another $100 on top of the $25 I've already spent. Thanks again for your help.

  7. #6
    Reds Slacker '07 RedsMan3203's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Have you thought about just changing out your cables and not using the adapter?

    I have plenty of DVI and VGA cables at the shop I can send you. I'm sure your monitor has to have a hook up for both DVI/VGA I'd run everything off of one to see if that makes the problem stop.
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  8. #7
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsMan3203 View Post
    Have you thought about just changing out your cables and not using the adapter?

    I have plenty of DVI and VGA cables at the shop I can send you. I'm sure your monitor has to have a hook up for both DVI/VGA I'd run everything off of one to see if that makes the problem stop.
    That's exactly what I've been doing (switching my keyboard/mouse by unplugging them from my desktop and plugging them in to my laptop when I use it). I don't have room on my desk for two keyboards/mice.

    Excellent point on the VGA output on my monitor - now that I think about it, I believe it does have both (I've just never used the VGA output since I've had DVI video cards since I got this monitor). If that is indeed the case, that should solve my problem. I'll take a look as soon as I get home...thanks again.

  9. #8
    Administrator Boss-Hog's Avatar
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    Re: KVM Switch Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss-Hog View Post
    That's exactly what I've been doing (switching my keyboard/mouse by unplugging them from my desktop and plugging them in to my laptop when I use it). I don't have room on my desk for two keyboards/mice.

    Excellent point on the VGA output on my monitor - now that I think about it, I believe it does have both (I've just never used the VGA output since I've had DVI video cards since I got this monitor). If that is indeed the case, that should solve my problem. I'll take a look as soon as I get home...thanks again.
    As it turns out, my monitor has both DVI and VGA outputs, so I should be good to go once I have a moment to hook everything back up. Thanks again to everyone that responded.


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