Synergy is something I’m really excited to post about, but I’m afraid I won’t do it justice with just words. You really have to see Synergy in action to see it and believe it. Even screenshots and a recorded desktop would fall short.
Synergy allows you to use one keyboard and mouse seamlessly across two networked computers. I have two Windows boxes setup right next to each other. One is my main machine and the second is a file server. I configured Synergy on both machines and immediately, I was able to slide the mouse from my main machine directly off the right-side of my main monitor on to the monitor of the file server. It was really cool and kind of creepy at the same time. I no longer had to reach for the file server’s separate keyboard and mouse that were above and juxtaposed. The mouse behaves like a normal mouse, you just simply cross the boundary between monitors to move between the two (or more!!!) computers. Text entry with the keyboard enters on which ever computer has the mouse at the moment to give focus.
Along with mouse and keyboard input redirection, you can copy+paste text and images from one machine to another just using the standard clipboard. File+copying and drag+drop is not supported, but those are supposedly being investigated. In the mean time, you can just use your convenient flexible mouse to setup a file share and access your files on the primary machine from the secondary machine. Synergy is also multi-platform, so I could use the same mouse to navigate from a Windows PC to a Linux Box back to a second Windows PC.
If you have two computer systems sitting next to each other and you’re ever using them simultaneously, I’d recommend giving Synergy a shot. The same goes for if you have a laptop next to your desktop, you can use Synergy to share the mouse and keyboard with the laptop.
The name is really fitting. Get Synergy.
That’s an awful lot of words for something that I could demonstrate in 5 seconds and you would go ‘wow’.
To configure Synergy after install:
The machine that has the mouse and keyboard plugged into it that you want to use is called the server.
Any other machines that you want to use this mouse and keyboard on are clients.
On the clients, simply launch Synergy and choose the top option ‘Use another computer’s shared keyboard and mouse (client)’. Enter the hostname of the server and hit Start.
On the server, click the radio button for ‘Share the computer’s keyboard and mouse (server)’ and hit the ‘Configure…’ button.
Add your ‘screens’ (monitors) and describe their orientation to Synergy. For example, I named my main machine, the server, by its host name, Shrapster. The secondary machine is the client for Synergy with the hostname of Shrapsvr. I specified a link that Shrapsvr is to the right of Shrapster and (you have to list both) that Shrapster was to the left of Shrapsvr. If you don’t configure the latter screen you will be able to move your mouse over to the second computer, but not back to the main machine (just close Synergy on the machine your mouse is stuck on and you’ll revert back). Use the plus (+) sign in the lower left to add your specifications and the minus (-) to remove them.
Hit OK on the Screens & Links window and then hit Start on the main Synergy configuration window.
Now just move your mouse toward the other screen and watch it fall off the edge onto the second monitor.