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Thread: Want 2 computers to share monitor, keyboard, mouse & printer

  1. #1

    Want 2 computers to share monitor, keyboard, mouse & printer

    I just bought a new computer, which, to my surprise, did not come with a parallel port, so I cannot hook up my scanner because it is an older model and does not have USB. I want to hook my scanner up to my old computer (Win 98SE) and have my old computer and my new computer (Win XP Media Center) share a monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer. My printer has both parallel and USB. How do I do this? I want to be able to scan something and get it to the new computer without having to plug and unplug a bunch of wires. Please help!

  2. #2
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    For the keyboard, monitor, and mouse you will need a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse). It will allow you to switch between the two computers at the push of a button.

    As for the scanner and printer I would say a simple network would be your best bet. Depending on how you connect to the internet it could be as simple as using a crossover cable between the two PCs. That would work fine as long as you don't have broadband internet access. If you do then just buy a router and set it up as the instructions recommend, and run the Windows Home Network Wizard, choosing to enable file and printer sharing.
    Erik

  3. #3
    Erik,
    Thanks for your help! But I'm wondering do I really need to network the printer and scanner if all I want to do is be able to scan to the old printer and print. I won't need to access the internet from the old computer at all. The only thing I need it for is to make my scanner work, and I could always print from the old computer or save to a CD to use on the new computer. Thanks for any help - sure appreciate it!
    Robin

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik
    For the keyboard, monitor, and mouse you will need a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse). It will allow you to switch between the two computers at the push of a button.
    ..........
    even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while

  5. #5
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    To get the scan to your new machine a USB thumb drive would be the simplest way. Scan on the old machine and transfer to the new. Or if you have a CD-RW in both machines you could format a RW using packet writing to use it like a big floppy to transfer files. As far as I know scanning does not work over a network anyway.

    To share the printer you have to network your computers. A crossover cable would be the easiest/cheapest(about $10) way to connect the computers since you don't need internet access on the old machine.

    What I do is I have my machines networked with a router but only one machine setup to share files. I have the printer/scanner hooked up to that machine, and have the scanner set to save to a shared file, then I can get the file from any computer in my house.

    As already stated a KVM (Keyboard,Video,Mouse) switch will work for the rest.
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  6. #6
    Thanks, but do I still have to network to get the printer to work on both, when the printer has both USB and parallel? Why can't I just hook the USB to the new computer and the parallel to the old computer? I don't mean to sound so dumb. Also, can anybody recommend a good USB KVM? I don't want the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. Want a good one that I won't have problems with. Thanks!

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't hook it up at the same time to both computers. You could unhook one and hook it up to the other, but not both at the same time. XP will be fine with that if you use the "safely remove hardware" icon in the taskbar before you unhook it. But I am not sure about 98. You will probably need to shutdown the computer to connect/disconnect it.

    I still think a crossover cable would be the best way. It's simple and cheap. And you wouldn't need to swap wires and shut down the 98 machine all the time.
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  8. #8
    Great, that's what I'll get. Thanks so much!!

  9. #9
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    Networking the PCs is really the easiest way to do what you want. You will be able to do your scanning on the old PC, and then just open the documents from the new one for editing or whatever other needs you have. Then you will also be able to print from either PC without having to mess around with cables and such. A crossover cable will work as long as you don't have broadband internet that connects to the NIC of the PC you do want connected to the internet.

    As for the KVM switch I would say look for one that has actual buttons to do the swithcing and includes all the cables you will need. I had one that used "hot keys" to switch between the computers, and it had problems within a couple of months. It works when you hit some special key combination, only that changed all of a sudden without warning and the switch was useless.
    Erik

  10. #10
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    I didn't think about the NIC already being used if the internet connection is broadband, even though you already mentioned it Erik.

    Yeah if you broadband you will have to go with a router to network the printer. Only other alternative is to install a second NIC. At that point you might as well get the router.

    Setting aside the expense of the router, networking is great. If you need a file, just go into the other computer and get it. Need a file on the other computer, just send it.
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