Nance from Davenport, WA writes:

I am retiring the computer with XP this week and am wondering how to set up the printer and monitor to still use with this old computer as a word processor off line only and then also use the same printer and monitor on the new Win 7 computer. You’re dealing with an almost 80 year old here so hopefully this isn’t too difficult or impossible to do? Thank you!

Hello Nance,

In this situation, the printer issue is fairly easy to solve, using print sharing. You can set up the printer to easily work with both computers that way. However, the monitor is a slightly different story. You could choose to simply switch your cables back and forth, and same with the printer, actually, but that would likely get very frustrating.

However, you could set up a KVM switch. This allows you to hook up two computers, but only need one monitor, mouse, and keyboard. You could also use your printer on this switch. Here is an example of what a KVM switch setup looks like:

You can then use a button to switch between the two computers. You can only use the devices connected to the KVM on one computer at a time, but both can remain powered on at the same time.

KVM switches tend to run between $20-$50, but can also come in more expensive models. Note that not all KVM switches will look just like the picture, but that is the general idea.