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Thread: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    I am running a desktop computer with Windows XP installed on it and I also have a old laptop that I want to connect to the desktop so that I can get into my desktop computer from my laptop? I just only want to use laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer? So can it be done, thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    Yes, there is a method from which you can do this but it would require both computers to be connected to the internet with diffrend IP's and the desktop computer to be on 24/7! On the laptop you go into Start > programs > acsessories > remote desktop connection. Once your in the remote desktop connection type in the IP and then log into your computer and you are there! But your laptop would need to be higher than Home.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    It is very simple and very easy to connect 2 computers in a "remote control" environment so that one computer has the other's scree, but we are talking things like Laplink, remote assistance and Windows Remote Desktop. These configurations are possible, but I have a feeling that they are not what you are looking for.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    There is no virtual memory used and very little processing done if you make connections for the remote desktop. If the laptops are capable of running xp, then there is no reason they cannot be used as thin clients. Old 286 pcs with 64 mb mem can run remote desktop very effectively.
    you know you've made it big on here when you have your own imposter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    You can always use program called "Team viewer", (download here it's free good and fast, install it on both computers and run, make sure it starts with windows. If you want to control any computer it must be conected to internet or LAN so that you can access it. There is a program integrated in windows but your computers must have a password protected acounts that you want to log in. but uses only LAN conection. Hope I helped.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    A refinement to the question: My disabled brother wants to control the Desktop computer across the room, which has a plasma HD tv connected to it as a 2nd display on his Nvidia 6200 card (via DVI-hdmi cable). He has a WinTV for recording cable TV, and wants to record and view. Both machines are running XP pro. When he runs Remote Desktop, it can't see the 2nd monitor, so he can't do it. They are both on the same LAN. Any suggestions???

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    Even though this post is old, thought I'd be a good netizen and answer the last question asked: how can you use a laptop as a remote control to another PC?

    I've been wondering if there was an answer to this question myself, and I've found one: Synergy (at ... I'm really excited to have just gotten it working myself, and hopefully, through the power of Google others will find their way to this solution! Thank you so much to the developers of Synergy - even though they probably didn't realize they were solving this particular problem!


    Do you have a large screen TV hooked up to a PC (HTPC, Windows Media Center, laptop)? Ever wonder how to control that PC remotely while you're sitting on the couch or armchair using an extra laptop you may have around?

    Before you jump up and suggest one of the following excellent solutions, hear me out first:
    • YES, you could buy a wireless keyboard and mouse or
    • YES, you could buy an infrared Windows Media Center remote control or cool combo qwerty keyboard/and remote thingy or
    • YES, you could download a remote control app on your Android or iPhone (such as the excellent Unified Remote)

    But what if you don't have a smart phone and don't want to spend any money and you happen to have an extra laptop laying around?

    You may be thinking that you could use VNC or use Remote desktop (mstsc.exe) and remotely manage your PC... However those "aren't the droids you are looking for" because when you log in via Remote desktop or VNC, you lose the ability to watch video smoothly and other issues because the remote computer is sending the entire desktop graphics and all wirelessly to your remote computer...

    What you want is to be able to watch TV from your couch or bed and remote desktop and vnc (as far as I know) won't cut it... You just want to use that old laptop you have for it's powerful and amazing capacity to be a remote keyboard and mouse!


    OK, so you've invested the time to finally set up that sweet large screen monitor (maybe it's a 27", 32", 40", 47", 55" or more, it doesn't matter) and you've discovered through the magic of HDMI or DVI or VGA that you can hook up any computer you might have around and use your new massive TV screen as a monitor to your computer!

    As if that's not cool enough, your next step is to figure out how you're going to control that computer... Well, you could connect a USB mouse and keyboard via a long USB cable (they have extension cords for USB so it's possible) but who wants to deal with wires?

    The next possibility is to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse. These take batteries (usually AA's) and they communicate with your computer via their own proprietary wireless signal or better yet via blue tooth.

    From my experience, a wireless keyboard and mouse offer a pretty good solution for me in my livingroom, but they have some limitations:

    1) batteries die and have to be recharged or replaced (always a pain)
    2) the range diminishes as the batteries lose power
    3) the range is often very limited and I still have to have wires involved (I use a Microsoft 3000 wireless keyboard and mouse and it has to have the USB "antenna" receiver fairly close to the mouse and keyboard to work well). I also have a fully wired USB mouse as backup when the batteries die on the remote mouse (and trust me they always do).

    That leads you down other paths such as using your smart phone (Android or iPhone) as a remote mouse and keyboard! This is an excellent solution (I've used Unified Remote among others), but it requires one thing: that you have a smartphone!

    But what if you have this amazing piece of hardware called a laptop, complete with keyboard and trackpad, but you've banged your head against a wall to figure out how to use it to click on a youtube video and watch it on your big screen?

    THE SOLUTION (so far!)

    Downloaded Synergy about 30 minutes ago and was so excited I had to post this! Setting up Synergy on your laptop and the PC you want to control involves downloading the software onto both PCs and going through some configuration steps.

    I'd say the configuration was fairly simple if you've done any programming of VCRs or digital watches or done any command line configuration in your lifetime or have an open mind

    Using this software to remotely control your HTPC was not the intended use of this software: it was built for something much more complex: for administrators to share a keyboard and mouse accross multiple computers and OS's, but, it can be nicely used for our purposes...

    (I'm a .Net software engineer who hopes to offer some help to Synergy on this Open Source project of theirs some day and perhaps write something specifically for a laptop to control a remote pc)... I'm out of time to explain how to configure Synergy to do the job, but I will do my best to return here and post a link to the instructions I followed... In the end, I'm sitting on my bed while another laptop 12 feet away is playing Pandora... I slide my mouse over to right of my laptop screen and voila I'm controlling the laptop running Pandora, and I can lower the volume on it then return to my own laptop, all from bed! Bye for now... more to come...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: using laptop keyboard and monitor to control desktop computer

    Quote Originally Posted by manbanner View Post
    Even though this post is old, thought I'd be a good netizen and answer the last question asked (...)
    Cheers for sharing your findings with terrysim (hope he comes around again...)

    Anyway, I was looking for a way to control my Powermac (Apple slang for before-last generation tower ) with the keyboard/mouse of my Macbook Pro (Apple slang for laptop ). The reason is i just bought a keyboard cover with shortcuts for my main music software (Logic Pro), and it's designed to fit my laptop's keyboard only. Although my tower is noticeably slower than my new laptop, I'm used to it and would love to keep using it.

    I found this thread... and suddenly realized there is one workaround nobody seems to have mentionned: with Apple computers running under OS X, at least, you can use the external computer in what they call "target mode" - which basically means that you are accessing the harddrive of your tower with your laptop through a "FireWire" cable (a standard mainly used by Apple, very reliable, that first came in '400' and then '800' versions, indicating the maximum Mb/s transfer rate; I understand USB 3 is faster than even 800 Mb/s...): when using Apple computers, you link the two (NOT running) computers with said FW cable, then start the computer to be controlled holding down the 'T' key until the FireWire symbol appears in yellow on a blue background; you then start your "master computer" (the laptop), it detects the 'target' hard disk and you can use anything that's on it like an external harddrive.

    I haven't tried to do anything similar with a computer running Windows, but I can't imagine it's impossible... or is it?
    (I'm not fighting the war, I use both Windows and Mac, I only complain when things don't go my way, which happens with both.)

    I realize that this is not *exactly* what we had in mind (using our laptop's keyboard and trackpad as simple peripherals to control our tower *while it's running*) ...but it's a lot simpler.

    I STILL might have another look at the "SOLUTION" you posted, though

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