Software alternative to KVM switch

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I have one monitor, keyboard, and mouse which I would like to share between
two PCs. One solution is a KVM switch. The KVM switch has sevral
disadvantages which are leading me to consider software alternatives.

Some of the disadvantages of a KVM switch:

1. Cost:

The switch itself can be costly. In some cases, additional costly cables are
needed. The funds for a KVM switch would be better spent on other PC

2. Degraded video:

In many cases, the monitor signal gets degraded by a KVM switch.

This is the software solution I'm considering. (VNC software provides for a
remote desktop connection.):

PC1 and PC2 are configured in a peer network. They are connected by a
crossover cable.

PC1 runs Windows ME and has installed "RealVNC Server for Windows".

PC2 has the keyboard, monitor, and mouse physically connected. It runs
Windows ME. When I want my monitor etc. to be associated with PC1, I would
boot up Linux on PC2 and run a VNC client for Linux on PC2.

This software solution doesn't work if I need to run a bootable CD (e.g.
"Knoppix Live" or "Ultimate Boot CD") on PC1. In this case, I would have to
manually connect the monitor, keyboard, and mouse to PC1.

Is there a software alternative to a KVM switch that is better than the one
I've described (and which does not require an upgrade to Windows XP/Pro)?

Re: Software alternative to KVM switch

well ,you can use Remote Desktop Connection which is built in to XP...

Winner :)

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Re: Software alternative to KVM switch

On Mon, 22 May 2006 18:10:53 GMT, "Allen Weiner"

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Look around. And be amazed :-)
Some $ 50 will buy you a 'mini KVM', one with the cables already

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Not for normal resulutions, on a current KVM. Not even the low
cost devices.

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Either it doesn't work (far to slow) or you get very degraded
video. Far worse than any KVM :-)
Expect VNC to work nicely on a 100 Mb switch with video set to
1024 x 768, 256 colors. Get coffee while waiting for 16-bit
colors. (Well, sort of)

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The is a catch though. Many (cheap) KVM switches provide limited
support for advanced mouse functions. Scroll wheel and the like.

Kind regards,
Gerard Bok

Re: Software alternative to KVM switch

On Mon, 22 May 2006 18:10:53 GMT, "Allen Weiner"

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Suitability of the software may depend on how often you use
(or how patient you are) the 2nd system.  Software
inherantly lags, less so if you have lower color resolution
but enough that most people do seem to prefer using a KVM.
You have not described the particular needs but a KVM with
cables could cost under $40.  For very high resolution you
may need one more expensive, but for very high resolution
you would find the lag from software all the worse.

Re: Software alternative to KVM switch

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I'm now on my 3rd KVM switch.

The first one was a cheepie mechanical switch...
the video quality was poor.

I next upgraded to what I thought to be a good quality unit...
and though the video was still was not quite up to par.

My 3rd KVM was fairly expensive...and the video is fairly good...
but still not quite as good as no KVM...but I'm having some mouse problems

If I had it all to do over... I'd go with the cheap mechanical switch
and use it for the mouse and keyboard only...
then get a second monitor!!!!


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