View Full Version : Have an old computer? Don't dual boot--use a KVM switch!

February 19th, 2006, 06:36 AM
I'm off of Windows completely, but I do happen to have an old computer that was lying around, and I just discovered the magic of KVM switches (I'd never even heard of them or seen them before a month ago).

For ignorant folk such as myself, a KVM switch attaches two computers to one monitor, one keyboard, and one mouse (in my case, also one set of speakers--some sophisticated KVM switches can share USB peripherals, too).

I just got one today from IOGear, and I'm really impressed. First of all, IOGear has a guide that confirms its KVM switches are Linux-compatible (http://www.iogear.com/guide/KVM%20Comparison%20Guide%20final.pdf), a rare luxury for a Linux user, who usually has to scour the internet and ask questions on forums to find out if hardware is compatible with Linux.

Even though I'm finally off Windows, it occurred to me that KVM switches are wonderful for people who do need Windows (for games, for special Windows-only software, or whatever) and who have a spare old computer lying around.

It's a lot easier to feel like using a Windows program and tap a button twice on your keyboard to use Windows and then tap a button twice again to use Ubuntu again than it is to have to reboot your computer just to use that one program.

Well, just an idea for those who have two computers and like to use both Ubuntu and Windows. KVM switches. They're lovely. I'm using mine to just save space, as I have one computer that's my main computer and one I like to play around with.

February 19th, 2006, 06:42 AM
I have 2 of those switches and I just bought my nephew one he is a linux guru. I like it I have one box with is a Ubuntu Shoutcast/Jinzora Server which is paired with a Windows XP box for my guests when they come over and need to use the net. The other switch has my personal Ubuntu Box and another XP box I use for games.:KS

February 19th, 2006, 06:48 AM
Windows XP box for my guests

I just tell my guests, tough titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry.
Use Linux, I'm not bothering with putting Windows on another drive or second computer. Hah.

February 19th, 2006, 06:51 AM
=The other switch has my personal Ubuntu Box and another XP box I use for games.:KS See, this is what I'm talking about. I don't play games, but I know a lot of users here dual boot for games, and it just seems a lot of extra time to have to reboot the computer just to play a game.

Well, I just discovered KVM switches recently, and I have to say they are very cool.

February 19th, 2006, 06:51 AM
Has somebody made a 21 centry kvm yet(dvi ports firewire usb)?

February 19th, 2006, 07:04 AM
It's interesting to note which kvm switches work well and which don't.
I would like to get one for my net cafe, where I have a Win98 machine and a linux one (for the wecam, see the sig). The linux one has no monitor/kb/mouse so I have to administer it remotely.
If it fails to boot for any reason, I have to connect a monitor to see what's wrong, and a keyboard to fix it.

When it's running I can tweak things via telnet and vi, or wemin, but it would be so much easier if I could run a desktop.

February 19th, 2006, 07:47 AM
I've been using a basic KVM (just PS/2 KB and mouse, and VGA monitor) for a long time now with my two main boxes. One, my l33tsauce gaming rig running windows, and the other, my not too shabby linux box. I haven't done much gaming lately though, so the Win box remains hibernating most of the time. Unfortunately for me, I prefer to use optical mice, which are normally USB. and USB-PS/2 adaptors annoy me...performance is degraded. So, as a consequence, I have two mice on my desktop, one for each computer. Ah well, not that big of a deal. I'd like to get a new KVM with DVI (my CRT monitor has DVI and VGA inputs :D), USB, and audio. I know they exist, I saw one once.


February 19th, 2006, 07:49 AM
Has somebody made a 21 centry kvm yet(dvi ports firewire usb)?
That's a good point. The last KVM I had was at work, and I still needed two mice because they were both USB opticals. It was still pretty cool, though.

If you could set up some kind of connection sharing between the two machines, then the Windows one would sort of be hanging off your Linux box. Like a leech. :p I could think of all sorts of illustrative names for that machine. ...

February 19th, 2006, 07:53 AM
I don't know about dvi or firewire, but they do have USB support now.

February 19th, 2006, 08:26 AM
I don't know about dvi or firewire, but they do have USB support now.
I am certain there are KVMs with DVI, but as for firewire...not so sure.

EDIT: FOUND! http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/07/15/kvm_switches_that_do_dvi_from_aten/


February 19th, 2006, 09:14 AM
There are even more advanced KVM's that have Ethernet on them. Some actually just have in ports for mouse/kbd and a monitor out and the rest is all Ether.