Most of us are only using one set of keyboard and mouse for our PC, but did you know that you can connect multiple sets of keyboards and mouse and have them all control your PC at the same time? It may sound like a silly thing to do, but there are some interesting uses for such a setup. Here are three things that you can do after connecting multiple mice or keyboards to your Windows PC.
1. Use multiple keyboards for multiplayer games
A membrane keyboard (the one we normally use) only allows up to four key presses at a time. This is sufficient in most cases. However, if you are playing a multi-players game with your friend, one keyboard will not be enough.
Fortunately, if you connect a keyboard for each player, the PC will accept up to four button presses from each player. Therefore, you’ll be able to easily play any game without any stutters or button clashes. Using multiple keyboards, I have played both Tekken and Fifa with my friends and never had a problem.
However, keep in mind that the PC cannot differentiate from which keyboard the input is coming. To get around that, just assign different control keys to each player inside the game.
Note: Each player is still able to press the keys of the other player on their keyboard. So be careful about other players cheating by pressing your assigned keys (been there, done that).
2. Work simultaneously on multiple monitors
If you have a multiple-monitors setup and different applications running on each monitor, you can set up two (or more) keyboard/mouse pairings so you can easily switch between the screen and work.
There are several apps that can help Windows differentiate between multiple mice and keyboards, allowing you to use multiple cursors and input data simultaneously. Unfortunately, most of them are paid with high price tags.
Pluralinput is one such software that is free for personal use and does a reliable job of multitasking. It is still in beta, so you may find some bugs. Although, in my usage of over three months, I haven’t had any problems.
1. Install and launch Pluralinput and click on “Set up a new device option” in the left menu.
2. A list of all the connected mice and keyboards will open up. Simply check the checkbox below each mouse or keyboard that you want to use as Pluralinput and click on the “Apply changes to devices” button.
3. The program will install new drivers, and you will see another controllable cursor (orange by default). However, this cursor will have limited control. It can only work inside applications such as Word, Notepad, browser and other programs installed on your PC. You cannot navigate Windows explorer or modify any dialogs.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the text cursor is available in both Notepad applications, which means I can type in both of them simultaneously using the default keyboard and the Pluralinput modified keyboard.
3. Control PC from different locations
If you would like to control your PC from different locations, then two keyboards/mice will be helpful. For example, if you have connected your PC to your TV, then you can have one keyboard/mouse near your PC and one near your couch to control the media on the PC when it’s connected to the TV.
However, for this to work you’ll need to have a wireless keyboard/mouse or perhaps a keyboard/mouse with a very long cord. The wireless keyboard/mouse will seamlessly connect to your PC even if a wired one is connected. Place the wired one near your PC and the wireless one near a place where you watch the TV. That’s it. Now you can control the PC while comfortably watching the display on the TV and won’t have to carry the keyboard with you when you want to use the PC.
There are many uses for multiple keyboards and mice on a PC. We have only listed three above, and we are sure you know of more scenarios to utilize the different connected keyboards/mice. Let us know about them in the comments.