USB Switch, Using a micro computer for second monitor - part 2

07 Jun 2023

Barrier is a great software to control your second computer as a secondary monitor. But when you are playing some games the software does not capture the mouse because the game is in control. Barrier will not work if you are currently rebooting your main machine or if you broke your Desktop and have to use the console to solve the problem. I need some kind of fallback to control my secondary machine and I don’t want a second keyboard on my desk. So my solution was to buy an USB Switch - UGREEN USB 2.0 4 port 2 computers

Why USB Switch

Well, each computer already has a monitor attached so I don’t need a full-blown KVM and the USB Switch will not have to support 1080p144hz display port for my main monitor, which sooner or later will be upgraded to 4k. So an USB switch will be cheaper and last longer.

The UGREEN USB switch have 4 ports for devices, even tough I’m only using 2 for keyboard and mouse. And then it have 2 ports on the back one for each computer, cables are included in the box. There is a micro usb 5V port to power the port if you need extra power, this is not included in the package and it is optional. It works perfectly fine without external power when using only keyboard and mouse.

The switch is super simple with a button on top of the switch to change between computer 1 and 2, it has an indicator light so you can see witch computer is selected.

Some issues I have

There are some minor issues I have with the device.

USB Delay issue

So there is some annoying things with the USB switch. The first is the behaviour of the USB it self, because the switch is working as if you unplug the USB device and pluging it in the other machine. This will incur a delay every time you press the Switch button for the OS to detect and load the USB drivers for the device. Devices are working fine but it is an annoying delay when you are gaming and just want to quickly switch over to the other screen and change video on YouTube or change song in Spotify or something like that.

The delay will “double dip” because it’s first a delay when you switch over to the secondary computer and then again when you switch back to your main computer. This can be very annoying when you are gaming.

Because of this I’m still using Barrier for when I’m not playing games and I still have a second mouse on the side connected to the secondary machine. This way I can just switch mouse if I’m gaming or use the barrier feature when I’m not gaming.

Cable issue

The other issue I have is the cable connections location. You have the two computer USB connection ports on the back of the switch which is fine. But then you have the 4 device ports on the front, which is fine for USB drives. But it is annoying when you connect keyboard and mouse because you have to route tha cables back behind your monitors and then go back in front of the monitor again to connect to the USB Switch. This makes your desk look like a mess, but with this switch it’s the only way because the button is on top of the switch.

There are other USB switches that have the Switch button separate from the actual swithc it self. This way you can hide the switch and all the cables under your desk and just have the button visible.