I prefer to use a mouse and a "real" keyboard over working with a touch pad and the keyboard on my Toshiba notebook. I do like slim keyboards but I'm not that used to notebook keyboards and have trouble typing as fast as with the keyboard as with the one on my desktop PC.
I obviously have to use the keyboard and an external mouse when I'm traveling around with my notebook but I thought that it would be nice if I could share the keyboard and mouse connected to my desktop PC when I'm using the laptop at home, so that I do not have to use the native keyboard and touchpad, or connect a second mouse to it.
The open source software Synergy makes this possible. Once installed you can use the keyboard and mouse that are connected to your desktop PC on your notebook, or any other computer the software runs on. This is done by installing the Synergy software on all computers that you want to control with one mouse and keyboard.
Tip: You may use the following alternatives as well:
Synergy is available for Windows, Linux and Mac which means that it is also possible to use this feature on computers with different operating systems.
One system - the one that has the keyboard and mouse that you want to use - has to run the Synergy server software and all other computers the client version of Synergy. I don't want to go over the installation of the server, the synergy website has a very good installation guide which is all that you need to get everything started.
Synergy has additional features that make it even more worthwhile. It is possible to copy text to the clipboard and paste the same text on the other computer, a shared clipboard so to speak. It is also possible to use a hotkey (Scroll Lock by default) to prevent that the cursor of the mouse moves outside of the current computer. This is especially useful if you play computer games for instance.
What may be even more interesting is the fact that Synergy is cross-platform, so that you can control Linux, Windows or Mac systems with a shared keyboard and mouse. The data is automatically encrypted so that no one can wiretap your traffic and read what you are doing on your systems.
Update: Synergy is no longer available as a free solution.
Synergy is a powerful application for computer users who work on multiple systems regularly, especially if those systems, or at least the displays of the systems, are visible at the same time.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.