Get Off My Desk......  Or What's A KVM????
By Mike Lipshultz Managing Editor

If your desk is anything like mine you just want to look at all that stuff and yell out… GET OFF MY DESK!!!!!

Unfortunately some stuff you just can’t get off your desk.

Like your Mouse, Keyboard, and Monitor. If you work with more the one computer the mess is even bigger. Two Monitors, Mice, Keyboards, etc...

There is an easy and quick way to get that "extra" monitor, Mouse, and Keyboard of your desk. Use a KVM Switch. So what is a KVM switch? It is a Keyboard, Video, Mouse switch. With this type of switch you can control two to hundreds of computers from one Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor.

Now in the world of KVM switches there are two main types. Manual and electronic switching.

A Manual switch costs less and can usually only work on a maximum of three computers. In addition the more you switch the switch, the more likely the switch will start to give you problems. Like a flickering Video. Also with a Manual Switch, when you "Boot up" an attached computer you will have to have the switch set to the computer you are " booting up". Otherwise the computer will not "see" the Keyboard or Mouse. Additionally, on most Win 95 or newer systems with a p/s2 mouse, if you only use one mouse connected through the box, when you switch from one computer to the other you "lose" the mouse. So you really have to use separate mice for each computer, or use computers that take a Serial Mouse.  Or do yourself a favor and go the extra bucks on an automatic KVM Switch.

An Electric switch costs more. It will last a long time unaffected by usage. Most electric switches have "Mouse and Keyboard Emulation" on them. This means that the attached computer thinks the Mouse and Keyboard are always there. So you can boot up an attached computer without regard for how the switch is set. Additionally when switching from one computer to the other you do not lose the Mouse. Note: Some switches cannot be used with a mix of computers that take different Mice. In other words all the computers must take a p/s2 Mouse or a Serial Mouse. So if you need to "mix and match" your Mouse, you need to make sure you get a written guaranty that the box will work. Another nice feature of most electronic switch boxes is that they can be switched from computer to computer by "Keyboard" commands, so not only do you not have to touch the Switch Box, you can even move the box off your desktop.

Around here at BizNet OnLine Magazine, I use a mix of three computers all day long. I get to play with two XP systems and my old workhorse of a win 95. So the three computers are a real mix of p/s2 mice, Serial Mice, AT Keyboards and p/s2 Keyboards, and even USB.

Now the good folks over at Avocent (they used to be called Cybex) ( even make a wireless unit!  Yep, you can not only run more then one computer from only one Mouse, Keyboard, and Monitor, but you can move the stuff around, without any wires tying you to your computers!  Now that's freedom! Check out their Web site at: . The Avocent/Cybex site has some good information and a nice FAQ area on Switches.

So, go ahead, Get It Off Your Desk..

Make BizNet my start page)

BizNet Magazine Supports:
Because It's The Right Thing To Do.

If You Entered This Page Through a Search Engine Or Any Other Framed Website Click Here To ReturnTo BizNet Online Magazine

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 1997 ~BizNet OnLine Magazine
Last modified: December 30, 2003