Question Advice on sharing peripherals between PC & Laptop ?

Dec 26, 2022
Hi. Apologies if I am not posting in the right place or should not be asking this on here - please feel free to delete or move if that is the case. I have been tearing my hair out trying to work out an efficient setup for my desktop / laptop and sharing peripherals and wondered if anybody could suggest an appropriate solution? Effectively I have one desktop and two laptops (one of which I cannot install any software on as it is a work managed machine). I have three monitors and want to set up to allow all three machines to use all three monitors and share a keyboard and mouse. I need to regularly remove the laptops and take them out and about so want to have minimal cabling to the laptops (a usb-c one cable docking station has worked well for this and connects to three monitors, but switching monitors, peripherals and keyboard mouse has been a bit of a pain for the desktop). Effectively I have and want to connect:

Monitor 1 - Samsung SyncMaster T22B300 (one x HDMI; one x VGA)
Monitor 2 - Samsung SyncMaster T22B300 (One x HDMI; one x VGA)
Monitor 3 - LG24MT49DF (one x HDMI)

PC1 - Desktop (Old custom build) - No USB-C Port - one x HDMI; one x dvi; one x vga outputs); does not have bluetooth
Need to connect to this:
2 x external hard drives (only to be connected to this PC)
1 x external dvd re-writer (happy to also share with PC2 below but not essential)

PC2 - Laptop - Dell G15 5511. This has a USB-C output which I currently connect and disconnect from the docking station.
Need to connect to this:
1 x external hard drive (only to be connected to this laptop)

PC3 - Laptop - HP ProBook - Work managed laptop so cannot install any additional software. This also has a USB-C output which I currently connect and disconnect from the docking station.

Want to share between all three devices:
3 x monitors
1 x keyboard and mouse (looking to change this so can adapt to suit)
1 x card reader (USB)
External microphone (if the webcam and mic can only be connected to PCs 2 and 3 this is fine)

I have access to but completely understand I may need more connectors/switches/kvms etc:
2 x Lenovo Thinkpad docking stations (one of which I am not currently using)
3 x 3-port HDMI switches

I have been going round in circles trying to figure it out using KVMs, USB-C Sharing switches, adding a USB-C connect to the desktop PC (discovered this wouldn't carry video in the end), more docking stations etc and have admitted that I can't work it out so hoping somebody may have a nice solution and may be able to recommend any additional products I would need.

Hope this all makes sense.

Many thanks.


You certainly have very clear but complicated requirements.

Not unusual and not finding fault.

My suggestion is that you sketch out the required layout showing all devices, their ports, cables, plugs, etc. including gender.

At the center of it all you will need a KVM switch with the necessary number of matching ports and A,B,C,D connection options.

Google "KVM switch diagrams images" and you will find many example diagrams.

For example (not a product recommendation or endorsement):

Most likely you wil need a KVM switch with additional ports above and beyond the required 3 computers and 3 monitor setup.

Key is to take the time to first understand the existing physical connections that are available, Then, second, to work out and understand any other additional connections that are necessary.

Third being to determine additional requirements (cables, adapters, docking stations, etc.) that will be necessary to get everything connected.

The diagram becoming a "checklist" of sorts. Take your time and pay attention to details.

Just one of those projects that can only be accomplished by grinding through it all.