Connect monitor to desktop and macbook pro simulataneously

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by vader1990, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. vader1990 macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2008
    Hi folks,

    I have a somewhat complicated question, and I couldn't figure out what exactly to search on Google.

    At work I have a desktop workstation, and a 13'' retina macbook pro. I carry the macbook pro to and from work because I need to use it at night, weekends, etc. I have two external monitors connected to the workstation at work (Dell ultrasharps).

    I want a system as follows: when I arrive at work, and I connect my macbook pro 13 to one of these monitors, it should automatically disconnect that one monitor from the workstation, and the workstation should continue to use the other monitor. I can sort of do this right now, when I switch the inputs manually on the monitor to mDP instead of HDMI. However, it would be nice if this was automatic. Second, even when I switch the one monitor from HDMI --> mDP, the workstation (running linux) continues to think that it has that monitor connected, and everything is really weird (as you can imagine). I need the functionality of both the mac and the linux box sometimes b/c I often need to check processing, etc. on the box, and the other monitor makes that difficult, and its unacceptable to keep pushing buttons to change inputs.

    I understand why this happens, I just want to know how to fix it. I'm happy to buy some sort of adapter if necessary.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much.
  2. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Kirkland, WA
    Yeah, this is a pretty common among the desktop+laptop work setups, and one that doesn't exactly have a great solution.

    The core issue is that most monitors only allow automatic connection switching when there is only 1 video input, but in this case, your desktop is providing an input before you connect your laptop, so it thinks that it should stay on the current input channel.

    I think the best solution for this is using a KVM switch on that particular monitor, and having the other one connected directly to your desktop. The KVM switch can usually be quickly switched between the computers with a double-press of one of the function buttons on the keyboard, and that will actually make your desktop think that you disconnected it, so you shouldn't wind up with a weird configuration. It's might not be exactly what you want, as you wind up with these two configurations possible

    * Desktop{1 monitor, no keyboard, no mouse} Laptop{1 monitor, keyboard, mouse}
    * Desktop{2 monitors, keyboard, mouse} Laptop{}

    You can attach a keyboard and mouse directly to your desktop if you wanted, that way you could actively work on both easily, but you wind up with two keyboard/mouse sets or not being able to quick switch the KVM.

    Honestly, as a software developer (I'm guessing that is your job, based on the description) that's had similar setups, I just switched to using my laptop for everything at my desk, and then remoting in to the desktop every day.
  3. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    You need a KVM switch, but even then it won't be as seamless as you'd like.

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