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Can two people use one computer at the same time?

post #1 of 4
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Hello, I was wondering if you could have a decently powerful computer and have two users logging into different user accounts on the window login screen, and using the computer at the same time, so that it would be close to having two different computers.
TrAnSfOrMeR
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TrAnSfOrMeR
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post #2 of 4
I think there is a specialized server version of Windows designed to do this called - Windows MultiPoint Server 2012.

I've never heard of this working on a standard Windows OS without specialized hardware.
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Spit in God's Eye
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post #3 of 4
You sure can.

Aster: www.ibik.ru/downloads-free-trial
SoftXpand: http://www.miniframe.com/products/softxpand-2011-duo.html

I used Aster for a long time at home to play games with my brother. I have an i7 920 stock and 18GB RAM with two GTX 260's and usually maxed out the 260's in any game first. You don't actually need separate video cards but it's less finicky and much faster, since they don't have to share VRAM. SoftXpand works for gaming too, but I haven't used it as much. It's not quite as simple to configure, even though it's a much more elegant interface.

Now to SoftXpand... I set one up for a customer with a paid SoftXpand. It's some lower end 3rd gen i5, 4GB RAM, a Radeon 6450 (just to have more ports) and a regular mechanical drive. They have three seperate users, and one has two screens to run a projector, a 70" TV, and a monitor. The projector and TV are mirrored, and running off of the 6450. Oh, and of course I use three keyboards and mice combos. Lots of USB. It runs surprisingly well. Of course it's slow to boot, and seems to be even slower at shutting down, but it does work well for them. They're really happy with it. But anything's an upgrade to a Pentium Dual core Vista laptop. One special thing is that the motherboard (Dell) allowed me to turn on the onboard video along with the dedicated card. Therefore I had lots of ports. IIRC to have multiple monitors on one user it needs to have it's own card. Maybe I'm wrong though. And of course, these people don't play games. Just docs, YouTube, web, PowerPoint.

tl;dr?
Read the second sentence. Know it's for 3 users, and it worked well.
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Unicycle
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post #4 of 4
This depends on what software you intend to use and why you're choosing to do it, and the physical constraints about what you mean and intend.

Of course in the now ancient epoch of character based Unix systems, computers with a fraction of the power of modern systems supported dozens or hundreds of users simultaneously.

Here's one example scenario I use every evening. I have an older AMD 955 X4 @ 3.7 Ghz under Windows 7, which at any given moment is likely running virtual machines with Linux, Windows and other *Nix guest operating systems. My wife has the habit of setting a laptop on a dinning tray in bed, browsing the web while watching television, but the laptop is just too slow for some of her web page editing needs, including photoshop and some video encoding. So, I have a virtual machine for Windows that "belongs" to her. I run that VM on my machine and she accesses it through remote desktop. It's much faster operating photoshop and the video transcoding that way than on her laptop, especially if she continues browsing the web while video encoding.

It is possible to configure Windows operating systems to allow multiple logins from remote desktop simultaneously. The default is such that if a user signs into through remote desktop, the primary display is "logged out" while in use.

However, this is not something you'd want to arrange for gaming systems, at least not in the scenario of multiple Windows logins on different keyboards/displays. While I've mentioned remote desktop (because it wasn't yet mentioned here), it should be obvious that a PC equipped with multiple monitors, two keyboards and two mice should be able to operate in a fashion as you've indicated for two separate users. One might envision something along the lines of two players on a single XBox, for example.

There are numerous configurations, depending on your software expectations.
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