Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Multiple simultaneous users on one Windows computer?


03 Aug 2011   #1

Windows XP 32bit
 
 
Multiple simultaneous users on one Windows computer?

Hello. I am thinking of upgrading our family's two computer systems, which are about 8 years old. To build/buy a decent computer will cost about $500. Could be done a bit cheaper, but then two computers will double the price.

So, I was thinking. Most modern computers have multiple output video cards. Most computers have multiple USB ports. Would it be possible to plug two keyboards, two mice, and two monitors into one computer and have two people using that computer simultaneously? This should work just fine from a hardware perspective. With USB hubs and multiple video cards, maybe 4 or more people could use the same computer simultaneously. I would like to do this on Windows 7.

I come from a UNIX background and this sort of thing is done all the time on UNIX systems, either text mode or graphics mode. The available hardware is very ripe for this type of usage. Its easy to get multiple monitors and multiple keyboard/mouse connected to a computer. Even multiple sound cards. CPUs are powerful and multi-core. Memory is cheap and plentiful. I think this would be a very good use of multi-core CPUs.

I would think this situation is very common. Several people in close proximity to each other would each like to use a computer. Why should they each have their own computer at increased cost, when modern computers and operating systems are so powerful? They could share one computer.

Does anyone know how to configure Windows 7 to do this? Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

04 Aug 2011   #2

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

You can set up a UNIX machine to have 4 users with 4 keyboards and mice plugged in at the same time and each has their own output to a monitor that doesn't interfere with the other?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

There used to be software for this, but I believe it died out due to not working properly. Honestly, it wouldn't be that common at all, because your performance would be terrible if someone was playing a game or doing something intensive. You would also need massive amounts of desk space close by, where as separate computers can be moved elsewhere. When you factor in how cheap computers have become in recent years, the market for it died off completely.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


04 Aug 2011   #4

Windows 7x32 Home Premium & XP SP3 x86
 
 

I had doubts that I could plug in two mice and two keyboards simultaneously and have them work independently.

It just goes to show that there is something to learn every day. I am using both to complete this post. Thanks for the education. Don't know that I'll ever need that info but maybe.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2011   #5

Windows XP 32bit
 
 

FliGi7: I should have been more clear about unix. It is common to have many users logged in and interactivly using a unix system through text terminals or even graphical X-terminals. That is what I was thinking of. This has been done since the early days of computing, VT100s or teletypes, etc. But, my point was, that the unix operating system allows multiple, concurrent, interactive users. Does windows 7 allow multiple interactive users? That's what I am trying to find out. Especially with all the users on one cpu.

I remember one company sold a special purpose video card that does what I am asking about on unix. The Tech Source GXTRA for Sun Sparcstations.
This was a SBUS video card with an extra keyboard/mouse port on it.

I've never tried plugging multiple keyboards into one PC computer. Although, I bet it has a good chance of working on a unix operating system. The X-server can be configured to use different device hardware (video card, keyboard, mouse).

I think the performance would be pretty good, without much lag. I am not interested in video games. But even most video games use just one core of a cpu. I would think multi-core cpus are almost designed for this type of multi-tasking. Its almost wasteful not to make use of those extra cores. Even if one person were using all cpu time on all cores, the OS scheduler should be smart enough to prioritize the processes.

I can see how the cost of computers has fallen. But still, even for a middle class family, buying new computers is difficult. For us, we have two old PCs. I would like to replace them with new computers. Two computers at $500/each is $1000. If I could replace two old computers with ONE NEW computer we will have saved $500. That is not insignificant. I think many other people would be interested in this type of configuration.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2011   #6

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Oh, well yes, Unix was built to support time-sharing of processes, but that still requires each user to have their own machine they're connecting in from. The same can be done on Windows with multiple users logged in remotely. This might help:

Guide How to Enable Concurrent Sessions in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 RTM | Missing Remote
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by NumbLock View Post
But even most video games use just one core of a cpu.
Quite the opposite. Most recent video games will use as much hardware as you throw at them, especially CPU cores.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by NumbLock View Post

I can see how the cost of computers has fallen. But still, even for a middle class family, buying new computers is difficult. For us, we have two old PCs. I would like to replace them with new computers. Two computers at $500/each is $1000. If I could replace two old computers with ONE NEW computer we will have saved $500. That is not insignificant. I think many other people would be interested in this type of configuration.

My wife and I are middle class, and we have 8 computers in the house, all less than 8 years old. I'm not trying to sound mean here, but if you want 8 full years between upgrades, then spending $500 on each system is actually quite cheap. Most multi-computer households stagger the purchases. We own two vehicles, and for this very reason we never buy two in the same year. We spread them out with several years apart, so we don't incur a huge cost at once.

At 8 years old, there is little you could salvage from either computer to put towards new systems. I build my own, but in your case, I would consider buying two from Dell and taking advantage of their financing, if I couldn't/didn't want to spend the money at once. The reason I tend to build me own, aside from being much cheaper, it's that I can upgrade the internal parts as needed, without having to pay for an entire new computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2011   #8

Windows XP 32bit
 
 

That's interesting info about enabling windows terminal services. It should be possible then to use an old computer as a graphics terminal.

Still, I think it would be ideal to directly attach a second keyboard/monitor to one computer. I'm guessing this would be a software limitation somewhere. I just don't know what.

Financing is possible, but you still have to pay the whole cost, plus interest probably.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Multiple simultaneous users on one Windows computer?




Thread Tools



Similar help and support threads for2: Multiple simultaneous users on one Windows computer?
Thread Forum
Solved two simultaneous wifi connections on one computer Network & Sharing
Help running multiple simultaneous networks? Network & Sharing
multiple simultaneous wireless connections? Network & Sharing
Simultaneous connection to multiple users Network & Sharing
Windows 7 performing simultaneous tasks on network. Network & Sharing

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:12 PM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33