2 People Usage Scenario:

  • Must have 2 keyboards and Mice, and 2nd monitor too (unless some way to split monitor and 2 people sit next to each other and use the same, simultaneously)

  • Unlike the linked questions, we don't even care if both people use a single "Windows User" profile or each have their own "Windows User"..

    • As long as both people can type and click on their respective apps on respective screens
  • There is no major use by the Second user, but they insist on having a second machine

  • 1st/ main user (who creates bills/ invoices in accounting software).

  • Just to let the 2nd user update some excel files without interrupting each other

    • Possibly just a Single Folder with some Subfolders and Excel files that the 2nd user needs to update; Could be shared from Main user as Shared Folder?

      • One thought that crossed my head is adding a lightweight Linux Distro with Libre Office/ Excel and share the Excel files folder
  • But, I do not wish to cloud possible answers and solution pathways


Just need a definitive "updated" answer as these old threads are stale/ dead

The last pieces of information on these questions were posted between 2008-10/ 11 and lot has changed. What I've gathered so far

  • Given how things change a lot of the options are not any more online :

  • This was a hack/ mod packaged linux that used to offer a way to maybe do this: http://www2.userful.com/products/downloads/free-2-user

  • If I could find a copy of this online somewhere it might be perfect free option, but looks like I'll have to hack a way using VMs/ Linux

  • Did read about some ideas around this and we do not mind playing with VM's or Open source/ Linux hacks & mods to get this going


Motivation for doing this:

Maintenance Issues:

  • This is for a small workshop where every PC we've kept has a lot industrial dust on it and dies, no point spending $$ and killing 2 exposed machines simultaneously
  • We are looking at keeping/ covering the box in some manner with Fabric/ Dust Filter

  • Intention is to replace it with a SINGLE cheap Small Fan less "Industrial" Mini PC type box

  • It's a remote location where no tech person goes/ wants to go when things go wrong and even the internet there is extremely unstable despite DSL & a backup Data Card

Hardware Objective:

  • So we'd like to minimize items out there & if it goes down, its as simple as 1 simple box in/ out.

  • Or Maybe as simple as having a spare working box and just swap Hard Drive & Memory.

  • Simplifies the single box backup strategy and eliminates any networking need

I had a similar problem, but directly using one PC for two users has some serious drawbacks. This includes:

1) You can't easily attach two monitors to a single PC, and doing this will require a fairly high end video card, which would be a complete waste in this setup.

2) Even if you do manage to use a single monitor for two users, chances are that they can't work together because monitors are never large enough for two.

3) Seating would have to be close for this to be possible as all peripherals are connected to the same PC. This also means too many connections, which makes thing difficult to manage.

4) Maybe irrelevant for you, but you can maybe connect two like this, but more would be a real pain.

People would suggest ncomputing or similar solutions, but I can't recommend them to you unless you have several (>5) users.

I have done this, though it requires a thin client too. You can actually use a Raspberry Pi or anything else as this doesn't require much at all. Some Windows CE thin clients are also available online. Basically, any small system that can support RDP. These generally tend to be super cheap and as mostly everything is solid state and on an SoC, dust wouldn't affect them much at all.

How to go about it: (There are other methods to this, but I have used this one)

It's simple. Create two users on the server PC and patch termsrv.dll to support multiple sessions. Instructions can be found here:

http://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-enable-multiple-concurrent-user-in-remote-desktop-windows-7

http://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-allow-multiple-concurrent-users-log-in-windows-8-through-remote-desktop

Next, you need to connect the client to the PC, preferably through a common router, or maybe directly, if you have two LAN cards. Then just fire up RDP and connect to the host and both users should be able to use the PC. On a Raspberry Pi, you can use rdesktop.

Another advantage of this method:

In my setup, I've used a very (>12 years) old laptop which has a 40G hard disk and came with W98 as the thin client. Though this laptop is practically unusable now, it works well just rendering everything. This allowed me, however, to have local storage on my client too. Thus, I can have regular backups of the critical files on my client PC, so even if the host dies, the important data stays. Chances of both dying at once is low.

Note: This method is fine for using Excel and such, but it won't be helpful for rendering anything at all, so you probably won't dream of watching videos or doing heavy work with this.

  • @downvoter, thanks for no comment (sarcastic) – PulseJet Aug 17 '16 at 18:16
  • Thanks for responding. I appreciate that. But, do not wish to have a second box/ set up, even a dumb terminal for remote in and networking etc, . Much prefer a single box. I know how lot of people are using RPi and RDP boxes, but if that was the case we could get a 60/80$ old celeron/ atom box and call it a day. Just wish to have a Single Box + 2 x (Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor). Will possibly order an industrial like box from AliEx/ China that has multiple/ 2+ Monitor outputs of VGA & HDMI each – Alex S Aug 17 '16 at 19:15

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