Use a Laptop as a Keyboard, Mouse, and Display

October 7th, 2006

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve needed to lug a computer monitor out from its usual location and sit it on the floor, plug it into the wall and a headless computer. I have a 700MHz Pentium 3 in the living room hooked up to the television working as a media hub. I also have a slower machine working as a print/scanner server and web server. Every so often something goes screwy and I can’t log into one of them over the network. I have thought time and time again that what I really need is a way to hook these boxes up to my laptop and use the keyboard, touchpad, and LCD screen to control and get feedback from the headless systems. I have thought about this but never realized that this was really possible. Well, as it turns out, it is possible!

Epiphan Systems, Inc. must have run into a lot of people with the same wish I had. Maybe they had wished they could use something similar internally, I don’t know. Whatever the reason and however they came up with the idea, here it is! The KVM2USB hooks up to a laptop’s USB port. It has three connectors on the other side: VGA, PS/2 Mouse, and PS/2 Keyboard. Now you can service any machine that is usually not controlled with a keyboard and standard display without a bulky monitor and separate keyboard and mouse. Normally you wouldn’t be able to carry all of the things you need by yourself in one trip, but now you can. Maybe some day they will have an official version that works on laptops running Linux, but you can get a binary only driver that will allow it. Take a look at the KVM2USB Technical Specifications.

This really has the potential to become the tool of choice for the system repair technician.

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