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  1. #1
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen

    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
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    3
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen
    Hmm, I thought Apple was the grand daddy of all things plug-n-play? Obviously not so much when trying to interface your PC with a Mac.

    Quick background, I bought a new i5 iMac as my work computer recently. I've been using PC laptops all my life, so I also wanted to have the option to use the (absolutely) beautiful iMac screen as an external monitor when I wanted to.

    My laptop is Alienware M11XR2, it has both a display port and HDMI video output ports. The first thing I tried was to buy an HDMI to mini display port adapter (since I already had an HDMI cable) to connect my HDMI output to iMac's Thunderbolt port. For only $5.70 each when QTY 50+ purchased - Mini DisplayPort | Thunderbolt to HDMI Adapter w/ Audio Support | Mini DisplayPort to HDMI / DVI / VGA Adapters

    It didn't work.

    Later I learned that iMac's (or Thunderbolt protocol in particular) really are not that clever, in the sense that they only work with a display port to display port cable. Oh well, I was in luck because my 11'' laptop somehow had a display port, too. Great !

    So I went ahead and bought the following cable: Amazon.com: 6ft DisplayPort Male to Mini DisplayPort Male 32AWG Cable (Gold Plated Connectors): Electronics

    I received the cable last night and came to work this morning all pumped about how I can use my beastly but tiny laptop on the huge iMac screen. And guess what, it didn't work again. I tried everything, but my laptop won't recognize iMac screen as an external screen and on iMac I cannot put it in Target Display Mode as Command - F2 doesn't seem to respond.

    I'm in desperate need of help. I don't want to go ahead and spend another $20 just to be heartbroken again.

  2. #2
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen
    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
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    Texas, where else?
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    26,206
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '11 1.8 i7 4GB 10.10; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.10; 5s & 5c
    Quote Originally Posted by Pctoimac View Post
    ...

    My laptop is Alienware M11XR2, it has both a display port and HDMI video output ports....
    And the 2011 model iMac has either 1 or 2 Thunderbolt output ports...

    It does not have a video input port - same as your Alienware does not have a video input port.

    Unless you upgraded it to include a video capture card when you purchased it or added an external video capture card to it.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  3. #3
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen

    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
    Posts
    3
    Ok, so are you saying that the two thunderbolt ports on iMac are output ports and not input ports. Which would mean it's impossible to use the screen on iMac as external screen?

    I'm sure that's not the case. Check this out on Apple forums: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0

    Even on Apple's website, it says that you can connect your display port compatible devices to iMac and use it as an external monitor. Thunderbolt ports function as both input and output.

  4. #4
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen
    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,206
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '11 1.8 i7 4GB 10.10; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.10; 5s & 5c
    You are reading a late '09 thread. The late '09 27" iMac did indeed accept input from displayport devices, as did the mid '10 27" models via their mini displayport input.

    From my understanding, in order to use the TB port for input, it must be connected to another TB port. Here is a current thread related to the new TB iMac at the appleforums - link and another and another.

    There is no mention of being able to use the TB model iMac on Apple's site as an external display for any other devices. I have also not seen any 3rd party adapters that will allow any other connection besides TB to TB as an input on the iMac at this time.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  5. #5
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen
    dekan's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 16, 2007
    Posts
    756
    I second what bobtomay says - looking at the tech specs for the iMac, the audio-in is the only input it has (besides mouse, keyboard, ...). No video in.

    I'd suggest you activate remote desktop on your Windows laptop or install a VNC server. There is Mac versions for "Remote Desktop Connection" and "VNC viewer" that let you access your Windows machine. The good thing is that you only need your Mac mouse/trackpad and keyboard...

  6. #6
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen

    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
    Posts
    3
    Oh wow, thanks guys. I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to call BS here for what Apple did.

    I understand screwing over people like me, lowly, PC users. But screwing over people with Macbook's that don't have a Thunderbolt output port, I can't tell if that's just being greedy or cocky (or probably both).

    Windows Remote Desktop installed and being happily used as of this writing. Thanks everyone for your help (though squashing my dreams )

  7. #7
    Connecting my PC laptop to iMac screen
    Dysfunction's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 17, 2008
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    Tucson, AZ
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    6,821
    Specs:
    Way... way too many specs to list.
    .... and in other news.. technology marches on.. specifications change.
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

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