Use Single Mouse and Keyboard For Multiple Computers

by on October 23rd, 2009

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If you use multiple computers at home of office then you can use same mouse and keyboard for all those computers easily. Some people use KVM’s to control multiple machines which lets you switch control to another physically connected machine. While you can use other remote desktop softwares to control other machines and access other desktops to control programs but what if I want to view all computers at the same time? What if I want to use one keyboard and mouse for two or more computers. We have two simple and free solutions for that.

Input Director

Input Director is a Windows application that lets you control multiple Windows systems using the keyboard/mouse attached to one computer. It is designed for folks who have two (or more) computers set up at home and find themselves regularly sliding from one system to the other (and wearing out the carpet in the process!). With Input Director, you can share a single keyboard/mouse across a set of systems. You switch which system receives the input either by hotkey or by moving the cursor so that it transitions from one screen to the other (in a very similar fashion to a multi-monitor setup). The idea being that you can position the monitors from two or more systems in a row and use a shared keyboard/mouse to control all of them. Input Director also supports a “shared” clipboard, in which you can copy data onto the clipboard on one system, transition across to another and paste. The systems must be in networking and connected.

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The master system is the computer that has the mouse/keyboard that you be using to control it and the other system(s). A slave system is one that can receive input (keyboard and mouse) from a master.

Synergy (Win, Lin, MAC)

Synergy is a multi-platform open source software that lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It’s intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor. Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen savers so they all start and stop together and, if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to unlock them all. All systems must support TCP/IP networking.

With synergy, all the computers on your desktop form a single virtual screen. You use the mouse and keyboard of only one of the computers while you use all of the monitors on all of the computers. You tell synergy how many screens you have and their positions relative to one another. Synergy then detects when the mouse moves off the edge of a screen and jumps it instantly to the neighboring screen. The keyboard works normally on each screen; input goes to whichever screen has the cursor.

In this example, the user is moving the mouse from left to right. When the cursor reaches the right edge of the left screen it jumps instantly to the left edge of the right screen.

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You can arrange screens side-by-side, above and below one another, or any combination. You can even have a screen jump to the opposite edge of itself. Synergy also understands multiple screens attached to the same computer. Running a game and don’t want synergy to jump screens? No problem. Just toggle Scroll Lock. Synergy keeps the cursor on the same screen when Scroll Lock is on. (This can be configured to another hot key.)

Do you wish you could cut and paste between computers? Now you can! Just copy text, HTML, or an image as you normally would on one screen then switch to another screen and paste it. It’s as if all your computers shared a single clipboard (and separate primary selection for you X11 users). It even converts newlines to each computer’s native form so cut and paste between different operating systems works seamlessly. And it does it all in Unicode so any text can be copied.

Do you use a screen saver? With synergy all your screen savers act in concert. When one starts they all start. When one stops they all stop. And, if you require a password to unlock the screen, you’ll only have to enter a password on one screen. If you regularly use multiple computers on one desk, give synergy a try. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Download Input Director and Synergy

Download Input Director
Download Synergy


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  1. skalsattisk says:

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