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I reviewed the Aten CS1734B KVM switch here before, and in subsequent posts documented difficulties I had getting it to work with Linux (and a solution). At the time I had no problems with Windows — Vista and later Windows 7. Recently, I bought a new monitor, an HP ZR24w, and that’s when the fun started, all over again.

Now, whenever I switch to another monitor the computer drops the screen resolution on return to the Windows 7 PC. It seems I’m not the only one having KVM nightmares with Windows 7.

I tried previous fixes without effect, and I draw the line at pulling out monitor cable pins.

CS1734B's Windows 7 "Compatibility"

ATEN’s web site has been updated to report that this switch is compatible with Windows 7.

But the FAQ addressing the question of compatibility is… silent.

It seems that ATEN’s idea of compatibility is different from that of say, ConnectPro, which makes a switch that really is compatible, even if it doesn’t do audio and needs separate USB cables.

Partly as result of my being fed up with this I have retired a Windows 7 desktop that was drawing its old age pension. That takes me down to a laptop and an HTPC box running Windows 7.

OK, so the motherboard died but it was already a minimal installation and I’m just not reverting to Windows 7. It was a fix for Vista. Now the fix for it will be Linux.

The desktop machine will refurbished with a new fanless motherboard (the Asus E45M1-M PRO A50M Hudson M1 DDR3 uATX) and will run Linux, almost silently. Later, I’ll relegate it to being an HTPC box, possibly running XBMC on OpenElec, a stripped down Linux (no hard disk needed, boots in seconds; video).

My guess is that the new ATEN CS74U works as it should with Windows 7, but maybe I should solve the problem by getting rid of Windows?

How can it be that nobody at Microsoft uses a KVM switch? No need to economise on monitors presumably.

Which explains Mouse Without Borders, software for having the mouse slip from screen to screen with no KVM switch at all.

Update: it seems that the CS74U is just a cheaper version of the CS1734B. Among other things, it lacks the ability to share USB peripherals, can’t switch systems using the keyboard or via an on-screen display, lacks PS/2 device support (not a big issue), and its firmware can’t ever be upgraded.

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