Control multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse

I recently reformatted my Dell Laptop and put Windows XP back on it.  My wife had been using it for the past year or so and I found that I was wiping it every few months.  So at one point I put Ubuntu Linx on it to help prevent the “wipe cycle”.  It worked out well but she really was’t using it much anymore and I found I wanted to get it setup to work with the VPN we’re setting up at my office.

So, I got Windows XP back on it and got all my development tools setup on it.  I’ve been running it at the office next to my desktop and remembered seeing an article on Lifehacker a few months ago about some software that let you basically have a software based KVM switch.  So, I went back on their site and found this article.  And, after about 10 minutes of setup time, I’m happy to report that Synergy, the application they used, works like a champ!

Even though I’m not taking advantage of it at the moment, the best feature about this app is that it’s cross platform.   Oh, and did I mention that it is free?  Gotta love the opensource!

Here’s a snippet from the article I linked to above…

You don’t need a hardware switch to share one keyboard and mouse amongst several different computers. All you need is the free, cross-platform application, Synergy.

Synergy connects one keyboard and mouse to any computer on your network, making a dual- or triple-computer setup work more like a dual- or triple-monitor setup. Synergy even allows you to share clipboard data across your computers and operating systems.

Today I’ll detail how to set up Synergy on your home network to control all of your desktops with one mouse and keyboard.

How it works

Synergy uses one computer as a server – that’s the computer that will be sharing its keyboard and mouse. The rest of your computers – the ones you want to control – will need to be set up as Synergy clients.

The great part about Synergy is that you can customize the program to work with the layout of your computers. For example, if you’ve got your MacBook running to the left of your Windows PC, you can set up Synergy so that moving your mouse to the left of your Windows monitor will seamlessly jump your mouse across virtual space where it lands safely on your Mac. Whichever desktop currently holds your mouse is also the desktop to which your keyboard’s keystrokes will be sent. Make sense? Add to that Synergy’s clipboard sharing and you’ve got one helluva convergence app.

Comments (from previous blog):

Synergy is a good cross-plaftform tool. But UltimateMouse is a much simple to use, fast and efficient tool among Windows platform, including copy/paste files among computers and open files from one computer to another one to fully use the computer screen real estate for design and multitasking.

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