Connect monitor to desktop and macbook pro simulataneously

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

  1. vader1990 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #1
    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

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    #2
    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

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #3
    You need a KVM switch, but even then it won't be as seamless as you'd like.
     

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