I just bought RPi and installed Raspbian on it and I'm pretty new to the topic.

My current setup at home does not contain a display with HDMI connection (it has VGA and I don't have a VGA-HDMI converter). On the other hand, I'm using my desktop's GPU's DVI connection for my fairly old display (I have a VGA-DVI converter, tho). So, I have an HDMI port free on my GPU. What I want to do is to be able to switch between desktops (RPi and desktop Win7 PC), or at least display RPi's desktop on my screen. Is that possible? How can I do it? If not possible, why not?

  • 1
    If you turn the RPi in a headless system, you can tunnel X over SSH, and view the RPi desktop inside your Win7 desktop.
    – jmc
    Dec 28, 2013 at 16:01
  • I had a similar setup for my first Pi (monitor wise), I just used a DVIout-HDMIin adapter (doesn't need power or anything, sound can work as well as far as I remember). The HDMI connector I think supports input/output but must computers (except apparently some Macs) dont support input on the HDMI, unless they have a capture card for that purpose
    – Wilf
    May 29, 2018 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


Video cards are output only, and I am not aware of any cards for computers that are hdmi/dvi input (I haven't looked lately), but In the great unix tradition headless operation presents several options to do what you want to do quite simply.

Unfortunately making the RPI truly headless is a bit difficult (it doesn't have a easy way to use a serial console), but psudo headless is almost as good and we only have to hook up a monitor when something goes wrong.

All of my examples use ethernet, so get your network working first.

Now as to the level of pretty you want there are three classes of pretty command prompt, window, and desktop.

command prompt is easy install a ssh server on your RPI (sudo apt-get openssh-server) and putty on your windows box.

window is a little more involved, first get ssh setup as above, Install a X server on your windows box. (I use Xming) then setup X forwarding over ssh. The cool thing about this approach is that you can have windows from the RPI mixed with windows from windows.

There are two ways to export a full graphical session from the RPI to windows XDMCP and VNC. XDMCP is not secure, and a little complicated but may give better performance over high-speed networks because more of the graphic processing is offloaded to the windows box. VNC is much simpler see my answers to Black screen with X cursor when running VNC on boot or How to configure xorg.conf for widescreen VNC on headless Linux/Ubuntu? for details on my favorite way to do this.


SSH is probably your best bet. I use PuTTY, you can download it here.

Here is a good tutorial.

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