How to Use the Same Keyboard and Mouse for Two Computers

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Updated November 18, 2022

Investing in the best computer mouse comes with its perks. However, many don’t fully understand the extent of capabilities built into the modern mouse. One function that’s useful for many situations is the ability to control multiple computers with the same mouse. If this piques your interest, stick with us as we explain how to use the same keyboard and mouse for the two computers below.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Computer owners can hook a single mouse and keyboard to multiple monitors using a KVM USB switch or a cross-control software program.
  • The KVM switch has better connectivity but requires a hardware device for setup.
  • Cross-control software requires no hardware, but the program must be compatible with the computer’s OS system.

And don’t stop here. We have a sea of mouse-related content and tips, everything from how to use a mouse dongle as Bluetooth to tips for switching to a keyboard and mouse from a gaming controller.

Insider Tip

Pricier KVM switches support more advanced features, such as hotkey switching.

How to Use Two Computer Screens with One Mouse

Many people own personal and work laptops or multiple gaming computers, and it seems like a needless expense to buy an external mouse and keyboard for both devices. With the right software solutions, you can easily set a single mouse up to control multiple devices. However, there is also a hardware device known as a KVM switch that accomplishes the same task.

Below, we’ll explain how each option works.

If you’re facing issues with your mouse, we have more articles explaining what to do if you’re wireless mouse isn’t working. Additionally, we have a guide on when to replace mouse feet.

Cross-Control Software Setup

STEP 1 Research the Various Options

The easiest way to connect a single keyboard and mouse is through a software program. First, research a version compatible with your compters’ operating systems.

STEP 2 Download the Software

Once you’ve found the correct version, download the software and connect your primary computer.

STEP 3 Connect Secondary Computer

After connecting the first device, you’ll receive a code. Then, when you download the software on other computers, you can enter that code to add that computer to the cross-control system.

KVM Hardware Solution

STEP 1 Power Down Devices

Turn off your mouse, keyboard, and all monitors you plan to connect to the KVM switch.

STEP 2 Setup KVM Switch

Plug in the power adapter and the video cables. Then turn on your monitors and switch the KVM to port 1.

STEP 3 Connect Keyboard/Mouse/Computers

Plug in your devices to the USB slots available on the switch. Take two male-to-male USB connection cables, plug them into the two computers, and then connect them to the KVM switch.

STEP 4 Test Connectivity

Try moving your mouse pointer and using your keyboard to ensure the connection is successful.

Warning

Free universal control software programs often have slower connectivity and fewer features.

STAT: A USB 3.0 KVM switch has the fastest connection speed and a bandwidth of 5 gigabits per second. (source)

How to Use the Same Keyboard and Mouse for Two Computers FAQs

What are some popular options for software KVMs?

A popular free version is a program called "Mouses Without Borders." Another standard paid software is Symless.

How much does cross-control computer software cost?

There are a handful of free options. But generally, a multi-monitor setup costs between $10-$30.

How much does a KVM switch cost?

The price varies, depending on the brand and additional features. But generally, a KVM switch costs around $20-$50.
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