Mac/PC KVM setup

I’ve been working from home for a few years now. Work requires Windows. Life requires macOS. My venerable 2015 MacBook Air has just died, so I’m finally headed for Apple Silicon. Work will be upgrading me to a desktop soon, so I’d like to get a Mac mini and kvm switch between the two. Can you all offer kvm switch and mac/pc friendly peripherals? I’ve never used a kvm switch.

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KVM switches sound like a good idea but can be finicky about the displays you connect to them, as they are typically designed for HDMI OR (not and) DisplayPort up to a certain resolution and no higher. The original co-host of the MPU show, Katie, had a different solution that I adapted for myself:

  • I have an LG 5k/2k monitor with multiple inputs; there is a joystick input on the lower edge to switch between inputs. This is an ultrawide that can optionally display 2 computers side by side on the same display.
  • Logitech 3 way keyboard and mouse. While Logitech “flow” may allow you to move the mouse between computers, I prefer to just switch the keyboard and use a mouse for each computer. One of my mice can switch between 3 computers, but the switch is on the underside and it’s actually easier to just grab the correct mouse for each computer. Additionally I have a magic trackpad that is only used for my Mac and the Windows laptop has its own trackpad and rubbery joystick thing in between the keys in the keyboard.

Katie’s solution was similar, with a multi input display and a usb switch for the mouse and keyboard.

I’d suggest starting out this way as a low cost alternative, and if you really don’t get on with it, add a KVM that suits your display.


If you want the easiest method for switching between them, the best solution I found was using Synergy with two monitors.

If you just want the ability to switch systems once or twice a day then any monitor with a thunderbolt or USB-C input would be fine. Most displays only have one display port input and HDMI is usually pretty bad with monitors. There are a handful of monitors out there now that have USB-C with DisplayPort alt mode for video input. Some even offer charging. USB-C is perfectly fine in place of thunderbolt if you don’t need daisy chaining, and if you do want more ports then a thunderbolt dock between the monitor and MacBook would still work fine.

One such monitor:

I live similar life - M1 MacBook Air and Windows desktop. My solution is elegant but it does require unplugging and re plugging one cable. So, if you don’t mind this, read on.

I bought a LG Ultrawide which supports USB-C. The monitor comes with two USB-A ports which I plugged a mouse and keyboard.

When I’m using the MacBook Air, I plug the USB-C cable to the Mac. It charges the Mac and provide display via Thunderbolt. The mouse and keyboard is thus connected to the Mac.

When I’m using the Windows Desktop, I switch the display input to HDMI (the HDMI cable is permanently connected to the PC). Then I plug the USB-C cable to the PC which only served to connect the mouse and keyboard.

One simple cable switch is all it takes to emulate a KVM like solution.

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Thank you all for the great responses. After learning of all the complexities of pulling this off, I’ve decided to continue on with a new-to-me Mac laptop and just keep the desktop setup for work. Mark my words: one day I will have a glorious iMac desktop setup. I will purge these PCs from my life.

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why not just use windows remote desktop or vnc to remotely control one or the other?

I use a logitech mx3 and master with a dongle in a windows laptop and MacBook Pro and can switch between the two.

Depending on the level of management of the work machine, remote accessing it may not be permitted.

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Can you enable remote access on your Windows PC? If so you can install Microsoft Remote Desktop (free app) and run everything from your Mac.


I use Microsoft Remote Desktop and it is a gamechanger…


How well does that work with PC gaming using a high end GPU?

I’m in the same boat, sort of. Here is my current solution

I have 3 computers

  • Work Intel Mbp for productivity
  • Personal M1 Mbp for productivity.
  • Personal i12 Windows PC, primarily for gaming.

Desk setup:

  • Display: I have an Super Ultrawide display with 2 DP and 1 HDMI input, audio out, USB. I plug the PC in directly, and the Mac goes through a USB-C to DP converted to the display.
  • Kb/Mouse - Logitech MX Kb/Mouse can switch between all 3 computers.
  • Audio: Monitor speakers connected to display’s audio out. It’s only 2.1 stereo but it works.
  • Other Peripherals: Scanner, USB drives, USB Camera ,etc are connected to a Caldigit Dock, which only the Mac’s can connect to via Thunderbolt. The PC doesn’t have access to them.

I wouldn’t game over an RDP solution as there will inevitably be a lag. Do try it though as on the same network is should be blazing fast and there are providers even offering a cloudbased pc streaming gaming experience. You might actually be OK with it.

I use my RDP only for productivity for which it is fine, even with full resolution and full screen colour profiles