MacWindows Solutions

Sharing Keyboards and Monitors Between Macs and PCs

Cross-platform KVM solutions


On this page:

For tips on sharing a single keyboard and monitor between Mac and PC, see our special report by Henry Norr.

Connecting Apple monitors to PCs

There are a variety of Apple monitor interfaces that need converter boxes or adapters in order to be used on PCs, and even on some Macs.

For instance, older Apple flat panel LCD displays used an all-digital Apple Desktop Connector (ADC) to connect the video signal and USB from Mac to display. Converter boxes let you connect Apple ADC displays to PCs that have video cards with DVI ports, and to Macs that have only DVI graphics ports, such as older Power Mac G4's and Mac Minis. There are also converters that let you connect ADC or DVI monitors to a PC's analog VGA port.

Company

Product

Description

Gefen

Conversion boxes and adapters

Gefen offers a large selection of converter boxes and adapters for connecting various types of displays to various types of PC connectors. These include (but aren't limittedto):

  • ADC to DVI Adapters and Cables
  • ADC to VGA Adapter: Connects Apple's digita.ADC computers to analog VGA displays.
  • DVI to VGA Conversion Box

Connecting PC input devices to Macintosh

These products let you use PS/2 PC keyboards and mouse on a Macintosh. This usually lets you take advantage of some of specialty keyboards available for PCs, such as wireless keyboards. These devices are not sharing devices, but let you use one or more PC input devices for a single Mac. However, you can also use these devices in combination with a plain PC keyboard/mouse/VGA switch to share keyboards and monitors.

A USB note: Any PC USB (Universal Serial Bus) keyboard will work with modern Macs. Macs have had USB ports since the late 1990's

ADB note: Macs made before the first iMac used an ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) connector for keyboards and mice. ADB is not compatible with USB or PS/2 and requires an adapter.

Company

Product

Description

Adesso

Adesso PS/2 to USB adapter for Keyboard and Mouse

An inexpensive adapter that lets you connect PS/2 keyboards and mice to the USB port. Provides two PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard.

One reader said "These adaptors work great to attach my Xserves to a PS/2 KVM."

Aten International

PS/2 to USB Adapter

An adapter that lets you connect PS/2 keyboards and mice to the USB port of a Mac (or PCs running Windows, Linux, Sun). Provides two PS/2 ports for mouse and keyboard.

GeeThree.com
261 Hamilton Ave #311 Palo Alto, CA 94301 voice: (650)328-2359
e-mail

Stealth PS/2-ADB Adapter

An inexpensive adapter that enables you to connect PC PS/2 mice to old Macs with ADB port to connect. It does not work with keyboards. It has a control panel that lets you program a PC mouse's the right mouse button and scroller wheel.

gnufoo

uControl

A free (open source) keyboard remapper that you can use to have a PC USB keyboard's Windows and Alt keys a work like Option and Command keys on a Mac.

uControl also provides a variety of other useful functions, including a "virtual scroll wheel" for trackpad users, function keys to laptop users, and swapping the right and left mouse button for left handed users. uControl 1.4.6 works with Mac OS 10.3.8 and later. Other versions are available for older versions of Mac OS X.

Kinesis
22121 17th Avenue SE, Suite 112 Bothell, WA 98021-7404, USA 425-402-8100 FAX: 425-402-8181

Kinesis PS/2 to USB Adapter

Connects a PS/2 keyboard and/or pointing device to a USB port. Uses generic drivers provided by the operating system, including Mac OS,Windows, Linux, and SunBlade systems. Supports USB 1.0/1.1 performance but are compatible with USB 2.0 ports.

Y-mouse PS/2-to-USB Adapter

A programmable PS/2-to-USB adapter. You can change the layout of modifier keys so that a PC keyboard will exactly match the layout of an Apple keyboard. Other settings may also be stored in the onboard memory chip. The Y-mouse supports two PS/2 keyboards or two PS/2 pointing devices, or one of each.

3-button support: If your pointing device currently has a third button which scrolls, this feature should be available using the Kinesis adapter.

Mac OS 8.6 and newer, Mac OS X, Linux, SunBlade, Windows

Alessandro Levi

USB Overdrive

A longtime universal driver for using PC joysticks, game pads, mice, and other input devices on your Mac.

Available in 3 versions: Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.3; Mac OS X 10.1; Mac OS 9 / Classic

Microsoft

Macintosh USB driver for Natural Keyboards

Work with the Natural Keyboard Pro and the Internet Keyboard Pro. The software allows Mac users customize the keyboard Hot Keys and settings, according to Microsoft. In particular, the software lets you:

  • Swap the Windows and ALT key functions to match the Apple/command and alt/option key functions, emulating standard Macintosh keyboard layout.
  • Swap the Control and Caps Lock key functions to emulate standard Macintosh keyboard layout.

Drivers for using Microsoft USB keyboards and mice

This Microsoft web page has links to free Mac drivers for using serveral MS USB keyboards, mice, and a trackball with Macs.

Newnex

email

PS/2 to USB Converter

A small connector that lets you operate a Mac with PC PS/2 keyboards and mice. (Version 2 was not yet on the Newnex web site at press time.) Certain scanners, such as handheld barcode scanners, are also supported.

Silicon Valley Bus Company
P. O. Box 760 Fallbrook, CA 92088-0760
760.451.0500
Fax: 760.451.0001
email

Keystone USB

 

A small adapter cable that lets you connect PS/2 keyboards, mice, trackballs, and other PC input and devices to a Mac's USB port. The device has a Mac Startup button (not found on PC keyboards). Low power, works on PowerBooks. Software enables keyboard mapping and

NOTE The web site does not mention Mac OS versions, but the screen shots appear to be pre-OS X (Mac OS 8.x, 9.x)

Khalid Shakir

MS Natural Driver for the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite (free)

A Mac OS 9 USB driver that gives Mac features to the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite, Microsoft's ergonomic keyboard.Moves the Open-Apple and Option keys to a more Mac-standard position. The PC Application key has been remapped to a Power key for restarting, shutdown, and sleeping a Mac and entering debuggers. Source code is also available.

Last updated January 2000.

Using Mac keyboards on Windows PCs

Windows software to enhance the use of Mac USB keyboards on Windows PCs.

Company

Product

Description

TrinityWorks

AppleK Pro

A shareware USB kernel mode driver for Windows for using Apple keyboards on PCs. The AppleK Pro lets you use Mac-specific keys for Windows functions. It also lets you use standard Mac keyboard commands in Windows, including force quit (Command-Option-Esc), create screen shot (Command-Shift-3, 4), and switch between applications (Command-Tab).

RandyRants.com

SharpKeys

SharpKeys is a Registry hack for Windows to map keys to other functions. Supports up to 104 mappings, an extensive list of available keys, and a "Type Key" option to help when managing mappings. Supports Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

Using one keyboard and monitor for both PC and Macintosh (KVM devices)

Some also work with Unix machines as well. Some of these products share only a monitor

Company

Product

Description

Aten International

CV160 Masterview Mac to PS/2 Console Converter

Small PS/2-to-ADB device translates the PS/2 keyboard, mouse and monitor signals to the old Mac Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) signals and monitor signals.

CV160 also supports ATEN's existing MasterView KVM switches and console extender products. When used with a KVM switch, you may control IBM PS/2 PCs and Mac computers from one keyboard, mouse and monitor. You may also use CV160 with ATEN's console extender which will allow you to control your Mac system from a remote keyboard, mouse and monitor.

Belkin Components PO Box 5649
Compton, CA 90224-5649
310-898-1100
800-223-5546
Fax: 310-898-1111 United Kingdom:
+44 (1908) 367 178 Fax: +44 (1908) 366 564
email

Ominview series of KVM switches

and Omniview Mac Adapter

Lets you control multiple Macs and PCs with one PC keyboard, PS/2 mouse, and VGA monitor. Comes in a variety of configurations, including a USB version.

For non-USB versions, the Mac Adapter must also be used to include Macs. The Adapter maps Mac keyboard functions to the PC keyboard. (The Power key is not implemented.)

Omniview boxes can be linked together to controll up to 216 PCs and Macs.

Cybex Computer Products 4912 Research Dr. Huntsville, AL 35805 800-793-3758 Fax: 205-430-4030

AutoView Commander

Controls PC, Macintosh and Sun computers with a single keyboard, mouse, monitor, microphone, stereo speakers. Macintosh also requires a MacMediator (see table above). No software is required. Several models available, supporting from 2 to 12 computers.

Dr. Bott LLC
8185 SW Alden St. Suite 5
Portland, OR 97223
503.452.8101 voice
503.892.2475 fax
Email:

 

MoniSwitch

 

A low-cost box for sharing a monitor, keyboard, and mouse between a Mac and a PC. MoniSwitch2 is for 2 computers, and MoniSwitch4 for 4 computers. All ports on the MoniSwitch are Macintosh ports, but the company offers connectors. Comes with cables.

MoniSwitch PC Compatibility kit

Provides Mac standard video and ADB (keyboard & mouse) ports to a USB-capable PC. The kit includes the iMate from Griffin Technology to supply ADB. Works with Dr. Bott's MoniSwitch (see row above) for sharing keyboard, mouse, monitor with Mac.

MoniSwitch USB

Available in two standard configurations, MoniSwitch2USB and MoniSwitch4USB. Both configurations are manual switchboxes that switch both video and USB ports. MoniSwitch2USB allows sharing of one monitor, one USB keyboard, one USB mouse between two computers, Mac or PC, MoniSwitch4USB will do the same for up to 4 computers.

iMoniSwitchUSB allows use of iMac monitor,keyboard and mouse with up to 3 other Macs or PCs.

Gefen
6265 Variel Avenue Woodland Hills, CA 91367 Voice: 800-545-6900 Fax: 818 884-3108 email

Extendit KVM switches

The Extendit PC/Mac 2000 Cross Platform KVM SWITCH works with PS/2 or ADB keyboards up to 25 feet away. Up to 6 Macs or PCs. Gefen also has KVM switches for PS/2 only, ADB only, and for USB only.

Extendit Keyboard, Mouse Extenders

Gefen's CAT5-2000 KVM Extender box for extending video, PS/2, ADB and USB up to 300 feet over CAT-5 cables--the same cables used for Ethernet.The Extendit CAT5-2000S/R product extends USB and video devices up to 300 feet away from your computer (PC or MAC).
USB100 USB Keyboard and mouse devices extender up to 300 feet
ADB100 Keyboard and Mouse - ADB devices extender up to 1000 feet

ex-tend-it DVI-Switch

A KVM box that lets you share a DVI display, USB keyboard and mouse and audio between two Macs and/or PCs. This will work with Apple's older DVI flat-panel displays. To use it with Apple's current line of ADC flat-panel displays, you'd also need Gefen's ex-tend-it DVI to ADC Conversion Box.

ex-tend-it DVI to ADC Conversion Box.

A converter box that lets you connect an Apple ADC flat-panel display to an older Mac or PC with a DVI video port. It also allows you to place the display up to 25 feet away from the computer.

ex-tend-it ADC Switcher

A KVM box that lets two computers (Mac or PC) use a single ADC Apple Cinema Display. The ADC Switcher includes a DVI to ADC conversion within the Switcher itself, enabling DVI PCs or Macs to use the Apple Cinema Display without an external converter. (The unit is expected to ship on August 1, 2002. )

Griffin Technology 80 Fesslers Lane Nashville, TN 37210 615-255-0990
FAX 615-255-8040

iMate

A small ADB-to-USB converter that connects standard Mac keyboards, mice, tablets, etc. to a USB port on a Mac or PC with Windows 95 OSR2 B or Windows 98. It could also be used with a Mac KVM switch, such as Dr. Bott's MoniSwitch, listed above.

Hawking Technology

2 Port USB KVM

Connects two PCs or Macs, one USB keyboard, one monitor and one US B mouse. Built-in 2-port USB hub. USB/KVM cables included.

IOGear

MiniView DP

The switch let you use a single ADB or PS/2 keyboard, mouse, and monitor to operate an older (ADB) Mac and a PC, using an included Mac ADB-to-PS/2 converter (also available separately). Supports up to 1920 x 1440 pixel resolution on the monitor. Cables included.

Ghosting is prevented by IOGEAR's patented VSE (Video Signal Enhancement) technology, including up to 1920x1440 resolution at 75Hz.

MiniView USB

The USB version, available for 2 or 4 USB Macs and PCs. Comes with all cables. Works with all USB Macs and PCs with any type of Mac or PC USB keyboard and nouse (including scrolling mice). Also allows sharing of USB peripherals such as printers and zip drives between the machines.

Ghosting is prevented by IOGEAR's patented VSE (Video Signal Enhancement) technology, including up to 1920x1440 resolution at 75Hz.

MacAdapt
6329 Fairmont Aveneu El Cerrito, CA 94530 510-525-0789
FAX: 510-525-5740
email

MacSwitcher

MacSwitcher lets you share a multi-scan displays between Mac and PC (or and old Apple RGB monitor between two Macs).

Magenta Research 934B Federal Road, Brookfield, CT 06804
(203) 740-0592
Fax (203) 740-0596

 

Keyboard, Mouse, and Monitor Switching Devices

Cross-platform KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) swithches available from 2-ports to 8-ports. Ssupport PS2, Sun5, Macintosh (ADB) or Dec LK 201/401 keyboards, including the Windows 95/NT4 keyboards. Also support Suns, Macs or PCs on any port without adapters, dongles or add on cards. (Many similar products only support PC keyboards.)

You can also put it all in drawer--pull the drawer out, lift up the display and connect to any one of eight computers.

Network Technologies
1275 Danner Dr Aurora, OH 44202 800-742-8324 330-562-7070 Fax: 330-562-1999 email

ST-4U and ST-8U Switch

Controls up to 4 or 8 PC, Mac, Sun, SGI, RS6000, and HP 9000 computers with one keyboard, monitor & mouse. Switches can be hooked together for up ot 128 computers. Keyboard/mouse can be Mac, Sun, or PS/2 type. Optional LCD lets you select computers by name.

P.I. Engineering
101 Innovation Pkwy Williamston, MI 48895 800-628-3185
517-655-5523
FAX: 517/655-6825
email

Y-mouse Keyboard and Mouse Adapter for USB

PS/2 to USB adapter that can connect a PS/2 keyboard and mouse to a modern Mac (with USB port). Also works with a KVM switch.

StarTech Computer Products
175 Stronach Cres. London, Ontario, Canada, N5V 3G5 519-455-9675 Fax: 519-455-9425 email

StarView

Named the Starview Server Management System, the hardware isn't limitted to servers, and can be used run up to 216 computers with one set of monitor, keyboard, and mouse. To use Macs, you need to add the SV110: Mac to PC KVM Converter.

Raritan Computer 10-1 Ilene Court
Belle Mead, NJ 08502 908-874-4072

Master Console

Guardian for Mac

CompuSwitch

Master Console control PCs with one monitor, keyboard and mouse. Models available for 2,4, 8, and 16 computers, and you can daisy-chain devices to control up to 64 computers.

Guardian allows you to add Macs to Master Console (Guardian also available for Sun systems).

CompuSwitch is a low-cost keyboard/video/mouse switch that controls up to eight PCs.

Rose Electronics 10707 Stancliff Road Houston, Texas 77099 713-933-7673
FAX: 713-933-0044

ServeView and Video Switch

ServeView is a series of devices. One keyboard/monitor/mouse connects up to 256 PC, Macintosh, Sun, and RS/6000 computers. SV series Compact 2 or 4 port unit, SVX series 4, 8, 12, or 16 port units. SVE series 4, 8, 12, or 16 port units. Devices can be linked together. Front panel has keypad for easy selection of ports. Display shows port name and other information.

Video Switch is a series of devices that switches several computers to one or two monitors and keyboards.

Network control of multiple PCs and Mac from one keyboard/monitor

see emulator.html

Know of a product not listed here? Please tell as about it.

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