Mouse/Keyboard Sharing with Synergy

By | March 23, 2006

A few months ago, my father-in-law emailed me about a cool little utility called Synergy. I looked at it briefly, thought, “I bet I would like that a lot,” and then forgot about it. Then Jonathan Snook blogged about it, and I downloaded and installed it, and wow. Absolutely amazing. I sit at my desk all day with my laptop in front of me and my desktop just to the left of it. I have the keyboard and mouse for my desktop on the keyboard tray of my desk, with the keyboard and mouse for the laptop on the desk above that tray. I have gotten used to this setup, but let’s face it, it’s not the most convenient.

With Synergy, all of that is gone. I no longer have any need for two keyboard/mouse sets. I can share them between the two computers, and it works absolutely seamlessly. It is as if the two computers were just one computer with a multi-monitor setup. Oh, did I mention that you can copy and paste from one computer to another? Oh, and did I also mention that it is absolutely free? As Snook said, this is software that I would actually pay for, but I don’t have to.

The only thing I don’t love about this so far is that the configuration is not the most intuitive. One thing that wasn’t clear to me, which made me unable to connect at first, is that you sometimes have to identify computers by IP addresses and not just names. I figured that out by reading this great tutorial, which took me step-by-step through the configuration. (It is based on an older version of Synergy, so the screenshots are slightly different, but they are close enough that you can figure it out.)

What do you think?

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