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Keyboards and printers w/ multiple computers?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by DTLarson, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. DTLarson


    Mar 1, 2007
    I'm trying to get rid of the clutter and some of the wires I currently have on my desk. I currently have 3 computers that I use on a regular basis at my desk. One if personal, one is business, and one is a presentation laptop. I currently have 3 wireless keyboards with their respective wireless USB adapeters(one in each computer). I also have 2 printers(One is a color laser and the other is a scanner/printer/copier that I need to switch cables between different computers when I want to print from them.

    I am looking for a hardware solutions to my problems. Basically if it exists, I am looking for a wireless keyboard/mouse where I can switch between the three computers(or 2 at the least). Preferably through a switch on the keyboard and having a wireless dongle in the back of each computer. I'm not looking a a/b swtich that would be behind the computers that the current keyboard and reciever I use would plug into and I have to reach behind the computers to switch which computer is using the keyboard and mouse.

    I am also trying to find out if there is some sort of wireless hardware option that I could use to plug into the USB port of my laser printer and have a USB dongle out of the back of each computer so they can all print to the laser printer.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I searched for items like what I am looking for but I couldn't find anything.
  2. Toyman


    May 6, 2003
    West Michigan
    I use multiplicity:

    It's a software solution. You install on the different machines, then you can just run your mouse "off" the screen of one computer, onto the screen of the other, and the mouse and keyboard then control the other computer. Works great, and even shares clipboard contents, so you can copy and paste text or files from and to each computer.

  3. Sgt. Schultz

    Sgt. Schultz Annoying Member

    You need a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) to get rid of all but one KB, mouse and monitor and to setup a network (router and print server) to tie them all together.
  4. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000

    That is what I would suggest but do KVM's support wireless keyboards and mice?
  5. Sgt. Schultz

    Sgt. Schultz Annoying Member

    Yes, there are quite a few models that support wireless.
  6. DoubleWide


    Sep 3, 2008
    KVM should work fine. I just have a wired one to 2 computers. Hit Scroll Lock twice to switch between. They can have negatives depending on what you're doing. Sometimes they can introduce a small lag probably only noticeable gaming.

    Just share your printers.

    Otherwise low tech it. Run everything to a usb and change the one plug.
  7. JimmyN


    Sep 29, 2006
    You have two choices to accomplish what you want to do, hardware or software. The hardware you'll have to buy, the software method is free.

    I run 'Synergy', which is a freeware software solution, no hardware needed. I share a keyboard and mouse with three systems, one of them is UNIX, and the clipboard follows the mouse so I can even cut and paste between the UNIX and Windows systems. The disadvantage is you will still need a monitor for each computer, as the software solution can't switch monitors. But being able to cut and paste between computers just by moving the mouse to another screen is a really nice feature for me. I have my UNIX monitor on the left for all my online stuff (web and email), as I don't have to worry about virus problems. My center monitor is a WinXP system, I'll have CAD, graphics, or something running on that, and the right monitor is a Win2K system which will have documents, pdf's, or something else I'm working on at the same time. I frequently have the TV news on that one running in a window while I work.

    If you want to cut down to only one monitor as well as the single keyboard and mouse, then you'll have to go with the hardware solution, a KVM switch. But due to the number of cables required to route everything to the KVM it gets kind of pricey to set up.

    As mentioned before you can share your printers on the network. That is the easiest route, or you could use a print server or network capable printer, plugged directly into the router and share it that way. But that again is hardware which is a purchase, while sharing the printer is free. The disadvantage to sharing is that the computer sharing the printer has to be running anytime you want to print from another system.

    I tried the KVM solution on three setups at the office, and wasn't really happy. Sometimes it seemed to get out of sync or something, it occasionally had problems. Synergy has always worked flawlessly, and it's like having one big powerful system with three monitors, you really can't tell you're working across multiple computers.

    I have a little tip on moving files between systems, no matter which method you use. I created folders on each desktop. These are actually shortcuts to shared folders on the desktops of the other systems. If I receive an email with an attachment on my UNIX system I can drag and drop it into the folder marked 'WinXP' on the desktop and it 'automagically' appears in the desktop folder on the XP system. It makes it very easy to move files from one system to the other, no thought necessary, and only one mouse move required.