Last August I wrote about a utility called Mouse Without Borders, developed in Microsoft’s “The Garage”, that allows you to use one keyboard and mouse to control multiple computers. And the utility works very great.
That is, unless you also have Linux or Mac OS X computers which you also want to control with a single keyboard and mouse.
So, here comes Synergy which offers to extend your mouse and keyboard to all three environments. And did I say that it is FREE??
I decided to take it for a spin today, and I was quite surprised at how easy it was to install and run it. For this first effort, I only installed it on two Windows computers. At a later date I will post my efforts to include a Linux or Mac workstation.
My scenario: I have a Windows 7 x86 workstation with three monitors, and a Windows 2008R2 x64 server, running Hyper-V.
INSTALL/SETUP FIRST WORKSTATION
My mouse and keyboard that I wish to use is on my Win7 workstation. So I first downloaded the Windows 32-bit version of Synergy and installed it. I designate this as my Synergy “server”.
It then asks what type on encryption I wish to use. That’s a really nice feature as it does provide some protection from anyone trying to intercept your keystrokes. You have a choice of four (4) different encryption modes, or you can disable encryption. For purposes of testing, I chose to not enable encryption.
The only other step to do is to click on the Configure Server… button. You will have a screen where you can describe your setup, indicating in which direction the monitor for each of the other workstation(s) is located.
INSTALL/SETUP ON NEXT WORKSTATION
In this case, my second workstation (which Synergy refers to as a client) is running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. I am also running Hyper-V manager on this server, so I decided to install the Synergy client to the Hyper-V parent, so I can control all of my Hyper-V guests.
So I download and install the 64 bit version of Synergy, and install it. This time, when it asks Server or Client, I’ll select “Client”. Then you need to tell the Synergy client the name of the computer that is the “Synergy “server”.
I thought I was all done, but my mouse would not move over to the monitor attached to my server. At first I thought it was a firewall issue, but turning off the firewall on the W2K8R2 server did not fix it. In fact, if you check the firewall settings, you will find that Synergy had automatically added the proper Inbound TCP and UDP rules.
I then checked Services, and discovered that the Synergy service had not yet been started.
After doing so, I immediately saw that Synergy was communicating between the two computers, and my single mouse and keyboard was now controlling both computers!