WFH IT Tech Question
Due to a significant increase in IT security measures at our place I have been gently asked to utilize the laptop they provide rather than my home PC for work purposes. As much as this pains me I am not going to cause a fuss so want to understand the best way to configure my current set up to integrate the laptop.
So perfect scenario would be this (And yes, i am sure it doesn’t exist) is that I have a big switch in the middle of my desk and when I flick it one way my laptop content fills the 2 monitors, and when I flick it the other my home PC fills the 2 monitors. Second best option is that I have 1 monitor per device but still use the full size keyboard for both (I hate typing on the laptop)
Any IT goddesses or gods out there than can advise?Posted 2 weeks ago
Sounds like you need a KVM. Not sure if there are any that can handle two monitors, it’s been a while since I used one.Posted 2 weeks ago
We tend to just unplug the work laptop from the monitors and then plug in our own.Posted 2 weeks ago
I’ve got a HDMI switch for the monitor and Logitech MX Keys and mouse. Both can connect to 3 different devices over Bluetooth or using the dongle for one.Posted 2 weeks ago
as above, 2 monitor kvm switch, possibly this sort of thing
HDMI KVM Switch Dual Monitor 2 Port 4K @ 60Hz, 4 USB 2.0, KVM Switch 2 Monitors, HDMI 2.0, HDCP2.2, 2 PC 2 Monitor Switch, KVM, with 4 HDMI and 2 USB Cables, Button Switch : Amazon.de: Computer & Accessories
but, it sort of assumes that your laptop has two hdmi ports which would be unusual. You might then need mini dp to hdmi adapters and all the rest. It’s going to get messy quickly
I would just plug and unplug stuff. If both machines were laptops with USB C power then I would buy a USB-C dock but it sounds like your home machine is a desktopPosted 2 weeks ago
How often do you need to switch between workstations?Posted 2 weeks ago
Presumably once at the start of the workday and once at the end of the workday (if so, suck it up!) or are you switching more frequently??
Do the monitors only have one input. Roland 2 way switcher on my desk but the 4 way ones will operate in matrix mode which would probably do what you want. Probably some cheaper options for a couple of 2 way switchers if you don’t need scaling and seamlessPosted 2 weeks ago
How often do you need to switch between workstations?
This is the thing. I like to have a few non work related things open to browse when taking a break or multi-tasking but the new security protocols pretty much all but ban any personal activity on the work device. So in answer to your question, I would be switching every 5 mins (joking…not joking, if work are snooping)Posted 2 weeks ago
I do this and have 2 hdmi splitters like these:
These allow you to have 1 external monitor per computer or both to either.Posted 2 weeks ago
Presuming you typed this from your personal laptop….Posted 2 weeks ago
Looks like the monitors have multiple inputs as well as a few USB slots for some reason. They are iiYama Blackhawk 27″ if that means anything to anyone, and yes, the home PC is a desktopPosted 2 weeks ago
Presuming you typed this from your personal laptop….
Indeed, the suggestion only came up today so I have dusted off the Dell yet, still typing on a proper PC 🙂Posted 2 weeks ago
Isn’t your mobile phone your solution for this?Posted 2 weeks ago
(Not that I ever browse the net when on Teams….)
@oldtennisshoes, that looks like it might be a middle ground I can work with, thank youPosted 2 weeks ago
Looks like the monitors have multiple inputs as well as a few USB slots for some reason. They are iiYama Blackhawk 27″ if that means anything to anyone, and yes, the home PC is a desktop
you could hook up both you laptop and PC to both, via 4x hdmi cable for example, and manualy switch the hdmi input on the monitors on screen menu…bit faffy but a lot cheaper than a KVMPosted 2 weeks ago
@johnjn2000 it’s a good cheap solution, just buy another 4 hdmi cables and I stick the switches in place with Velcro so that they don’t move when I press the buttons.Posted 2 weeks ago
Many options it seems, thank you all. A lot of food for thought while I am working at my miniscule laptop tomorrowPosted 2 weeks ago
Don’t you also need to juggle two keyboards and mice with these “solutions”?Posted 2 weeks ago
KeyboardPosted 2 weeks ago
I have one huge monitor with 2 inputs for work laptop and home pc.Posted 2 weeks ago
Mouse is wireless with 2 profiles and a button to switch between them and keyboard is connected by usb 2 port switch. Works for me.
I have a similar set up; a work laptop, big 34″ ultra wide monitor and a 23″ monitor.
I have a laptop dock which connects via USB C on the laptop, which then connects to my big monitor.
So work stuff is on the laptop and big monitor. Laptop keyboard and wired mouse connected into the dock.
2nd monitor is connected to my pc along with my normal keyboard and mouse if required.
Fairly simple tbh.Posted 2 weeks ago
This is the thing. I like to have a few non work related things open to browse when taking a break or multi-tasking but the new security protocols pretty much all but ban any personal activity on the work device
Just use the personal laptop on the side for browsing, it is what I do. Or have a KVM but for just one monitor if it is just for browsing you don’t need dual monitors. Or many monitors have several inputs just change source on one of the monitors.
Personally I have a big screen linked up to work laptop with keyboard and mouse plugged into KVM. Personal laptop sat beside for browsing but don’t bother hitting the KVM just just the laptop as I only type the odd search, hit play on a you tube or Spotify or similar and only hot the KVM to use the big monitor if doing person work outside of work hours.Posted 2 weeks ago
I have one big monitor with multiple inputs
A press of a button on the screen changes input from laptop (USB-C) to desktop (Display port) rather than hdmi switch.
I then have a Logitech keyboard and mouse that both connect to up to 3 devices. The keyboard lets you select by number, the mouse toggles between the paired devices.
This works really well for me as I can flick pretty seamlessly between the two machines.Posted 2 weeks ago
I just swap the input on my monitor. mini-DVI (or whatever) for my Macs (USB-C to mini-DVI) input for fun. HDMI for work.
I use a cheap wireless keyboard and mouse with USB dongle for work. It is OK.
I use Apple wireless keyboard with TouchID and Apple Trackpad for home. It is great.
The bits I’m not using go in a desk drawer until I need to use them again.
I would have liked to use the Apple keyboard & pad for work but…Bluetooth…security…whatever.Posted 2 weeks ago
I have read all of these suggestions thank you. One thing I have had to admit to myself now though is that no matter how many times I read ‘KVM’ and nod my head sagely, it doesn’t change the fact I have no idea what it is.Posted 2 weeks ago
A KVM Switch is a hardware device that allows you to control multiple computers via a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse (KVM). Keyboard Video MousePosted 2 weeks ago
Ahhhhhhhhh, right………….so basically magic created at Hogwarts, cool!Posted 2 weeks ago
I run a 34 inch ultra wide Samsung monitor with Picture in Picture. Work laptop covers 3/4 of the real estate and my MBP is in the top corner. It’s at an old MBP so struggles with the big screen, but the small top corner is fine.
For sound I use a DAC to select the source for the hifi. For keyboard and mouse I have used a Bluetooth Logitech set which runs to both with switching, but prefer two keyboards and two mice. Being a bit of a fanboy, I now use an led mechanical gaming wired keyboard plus an apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Switching manually is faster than the buttons on the keyboard and mouse.Posted 2 weeks ago
@TiRed, I currently use a LED mechanical Cooler Master wired keyboard which I really like, I don’t really want to move away from that so maybe I need to go the dual keyboard route like you. How do you position everything on the desk? I have the two 27″ monitors on arms so I have a bit of flexibility in position.Posted 2 weeks ago
The apple keyboard and mouse are small. The mouse sits on the mouse mat next to the other Logitech one. I align them with location on the screen MBP is right of screen and mouse on the right. I often put the small keyboard in front of the big one, but then just put it to the side for work. The laptops are stacked vertically on a stand on another set of draws to the side. So plenty of room. DAC and amp sit under the monitor. Hifi speakers either side of the monitor on small speaker stands. It’s a great monitor and I love it.Posted 2 weeks ago
Thanks. I think I need to tidy my deskPosted 2 weeks ago
You could run a virtual machine of your approved company build on your home PC, or remote access to your physical machine. Get friendly with IT security or infrastructure and get them to hook you up.Posted 2 weeks ago
Something like the ThinkPad Universal USB-C Dock. Plug everything in to the dock including the LAN cable, up to three monitors, keyboard and mouse. Single USB cable to your computer of choice, already suggested ^^ but works. Somewhere around £200 thoughPosted 2 weeks ago
My setup at home uses a bunch of USB-C to HDMI adaptors from my work laptop to two external monitors with my personal laptop on the side using an HDMI lead to the third monitor. That means I can play music and browse from the personal device while work sits on the main screen and one other. If I want the big screen for CAD or gaming, I’ll unplug the cable and change it manually. I do need a better keyboard though.
I’d also like to say that, if your work has said to not use your home device for work, just go with it. Don’t try and shortcut things or get round it with a VM or RDPing to the device, please. It might sound petty of them, but the work laptop is likely managed and configured with some sort of security baseline and messing about with it could go against your corporate AUP or, worst case, leave the device or the company open to (*gasp*) malware.
TL;DR There will be a reason. There is always a reason.Posted 2 weeks ago
I’m allowed to use my work laptop for personal stuff (not another trade or NSFW obv) but it amazes me that any company let’s their employees use a personal computer? Presumably you have no customer data or anything like that on it?
I’m not allowed to transfer work related stuff to a personal device, and they’ve done a pretty much good job of making it practically impossible, except when they allowed us to start using Whatsapp during covid…
Anyway, back to the original question…I think I’d have to separate setups or my personal device left as a laptop on the side… The risk with KVM or sharing the peripherals is that you will forget which machine you are driving, and potentially spent yourPosted 2 weeks ago
lunchafternoon browsing YouTube on the company machine.
As above we’ve got company laptops for home working, but they’ve only just been issued – to date weve been using our own PCs to RDC into work. We’re lucky that we’ve been told as long as we don’t do anything Bloody Stupid (inferred capitalisation there) we can use the work laptops for our wown stuff like spotify and browsing. The only issue for us is that customer data can’t leave the company premises so I have to restore DBs to a new machine at work rather than the SQL instance on my laptop.
Need to get some kind of stand for the new laptop rather than those books, and tidy the cables. The big silver USB hub allows me to plug my monitors (1*HDMI, 1*VGA with HDMI convertor) into a laptop that only has 2* USB-C inputs. I also plug the speakers into that, and then a further small USB hub that has my keyboard, moue, and webcam attached.
When I want to use my own machine (hidden behind the laptop) I plug the small USB hub into that (I just swap the lead from the larger USB hub to one that goes to my machine) and optionally plug in the speakers if I need them. The middle monitor is connected to my PC via the DVI input, so I’ve only got that one monitor but it’s not a huge issue TBH. Havging said that, I don’t need to switch very often.
Rather than tyring to get round your work security by setting up RDC (Remote Desktop Connection, a built-in tool in Windows) from your home PC, how about you RDC FROM your work PC to your Home PC? There may be a little faff required to enable it on your home PC but shouldn’t be too hardPosted 2 weeks ago
Won’t mess with your security policy but let you use your own fancy laptop securely.
Surprising how many co’s do this or similar but don’t actually tell people about it.
My preference over 2 laptops and messing about…Posted 2 weeks ago
Having mice that can switch between two computers, or shuffling multiple keyboards around your desk are the simple solutions, but a KVM is the best way to achieve what you want. It’s a cleverer version of the HDMI splitter pictured above, which also swaps your kb/mouse.
Dual monitor versions do exist, so the only real problem is if you are willing to pay for one.Posted 2 weeks ago
One picked at random from a google search:
I’m sure others are available, and for a wide range of prices. Just check that the KVM is compatible with the type of monitor interface you have, or if adaptors are available (VGA,DVI,HDMI,etc).
The simplest solution I’ve found to getting confused between which computer you are currently viewing is to have different desktop backgrounds on each.
Isn’t your mobile phone your solution for this?
(Not that I ever browse the net when on Teams….)
I just have one monitor on the Teams call and the other on STW…
. We’re lucky that we’ve been told as long as we don’t do anything Bloody Stupid (inferred capitalisation there) we can use the work laptops for our wown stuff like spotify and browsing.
Since WFH I’ve just stopped using my own laptop and do all my own stuff on my work machine – it’s a better set up with two 24″ monitors. Only downside is it makes the whole work/home divide even more blurred. I tend to shut down Teams and Outlook at 5pm to prevent me having a quick look….Posted 2 weeks ago
This seems like a lot of complication just for some internet browsing on a desktop. Why not just pickup a second hand iPad to keep on your desk for browsing and leave the work computer all plugged in during the day. I have a work laptop setup with wired keyboard / 27” screen / wireless mouse / webcam for Zoom most of the time. All my usb devices are plugged into an anker multi USB adapter as my laptop doesn’t have enough USB ports. When I want to use my own personal desktop I just swap over this maker device – my screen has 2 usb inputs so I don’t even need to change how the screen is plugged in.
If I browse the internet during the day when work is on I just use my iPhone / my wife’s iPadPosted 2 weeks ago
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