Do You Use A KVM (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) Switch Anymore?

Do You Use a KVM (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) Switch Anymore?

Assuming you don't work in a datacenter, it's not as common as it once was to have multiple computers at one desk -- and even if you do, many displays support multiple inputs, and apps like Synergy control several computers with one keyboard and mouse. So: Do you use a KVM anymore, or is it outdated tech?

Photo by Laineema.

To be fair, I stopped using KVMs a few years ago when I got a display that supported multiple DVI and DisplayPort inputs, so I could connect more than one computer to the same display and just toggle on the display. I don't even use Synergy -- I just like keeping a separate keyboard and mouse for "work" and another for 'play', and switch between them when I choose to, but I admit it's a complicated solution. However, some people have emailed in asking for KVM suggestions, and it's difficult to find recent ones.

Do any of you still use KVMs to manage multiple computers on the same peripherals, or have they gone by the wayside? Let us know in the discussions below.


Comments

    We use them at work still. They are quite good when combined with a fast and reliable switch system. However it is quite tedious sometimes when they go out of whack because everyone uses a slightly different or uncommon resolution on their monitors. Especially with dual monitor setups it is sometimes a pain to reset the units and get the right resolution back if the firmware shits itself. Hours of fun trying to recalibrate everything.

    I used to use them when I was working in a computer repair shop a couple of years ago. I think we had 2 or 3 4 port KVMs on the bench.

    So I'd say they still have a place in the world.

    I use a KVM... it allows me to change between my laptop (docked) and my desktop with the same monitors and keyboard at the press of a button

    I was just using Synergy for that.

    We still have a KVM at work for building multiple computers. So much easier than having half a dozen keyboards and mice on each computer and swapping the monitor over

    Yes I still use one but it's for 3 servers that I have. I still find it easier to just press a button to quickly switch between the servers

    If your multiple machines are running Windows use Mouse Without Borders (https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=35460)

      So how does this work? I'm looking through the forums for the answer at the moment

        I use InputDirector (freeware).
        Plug the mouse and Keyboard into computer A.
        Put the monitor for computer A beside the monitor for (networked) computer B.
        Move the mouse off the edge of monitor A, and it appears on monitor B.
        While the mouse is on monitor B, keyboard A sends only to computer B and mouse A affects only computer B.

        Also works for computers C & D & E :)

    I have two computers and two monitors. Throughout the day I need to access my secondary computer, and go from (PC+2 monitor) mode to 2 x (PC+monitor), both configurations sharing keyboard and mouse.

    I tried software-only solutions like Multiplicity, but they don't seem to work well on a corporate network. My second PC wasn't responding, so I was in the ridiculous situation of having a second mouse attached to it that I could click so get it to wake up and respond to the switching software.

    Now I'm using a mix of a KVM and Remote Desktop.

    I don't recall seeing KVM use as widespread in homes or offices (outside of server rooms). There's been a few I've seen in place to fulfill specific needs. These days, remote desktop sessions to VMs of various types seem more prevalent than the "test machine under the desk with a KVM on top". That or just lots of monitors and a KM switch.
    Could it be said that there may be a link in the decline in KVMs to the decline of CRTs - it's a lot easier these days to hang a load of flat panels on a desk than a bunch of CRTs.

    I used to use KVMs in a previous life, but now (unless I've missed the point of the previous comments) I tend to use either Remote Desktop or UltraVNC. That way I can get rid of most monitors completely and run most of my stuff headless, plus which I can have machines in the next room or across the world.

    I use a 30" monitor which needs a dual link cable, I don't think you can get a KVM that has dual link video ports.

    I still use them at work. Very useful especially when you have to setup test lab in a confined space. It is difficult for KVM's to keep up with the models of PC that comes with only display port and no VGA/HDMI. In this case we will have to buy converters for the KVM to use.

    Not since I've upgraded most of my clients to a virtualised environment, only one output required. That works for the server room.
    I use Synergy on my work laptop and desktop.

    My workshop has 8 dedicated monitors/keyboards/mouse for what ever work needs to be done.

    I work in and operations centre and we need a computer on two entirely physically seperate networka. 2 displays on one and 4 connected to the other. But do share a keyboard and mouse with a little LINDY device

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