Stardock Multiplicity KVM revisited: control multiple PCs with one keyboard, mouse and monitor
Back in 2012, Stardock released the initial version of its Multiplicity software for Windows. Designed to give users control of multiple PCs with a single mouse and keyboard, it was an excellent tool to work on two machines, e.g. a desktop PC and a laptop, with one mouse and keyboard connected to the main PC.
Stardock's solution was not the first program of its kind, there was Microsoft's Mouse without Borders, which users could use.
More than ten years later, a lot has changed. Stardock's Multiplicity is no longer available as a free version, and there are now three commercial versions to choose one. Multiplicity KVM was launched on Steam recently, reason enough to take a closer look at the application and find out how it performs and differs from Stardock's initial tool.
The main use scenario has not changed: you may use the software to control multiple systems using just one mouse and keyboard. Multiplicity KVM supports the controlling of up to nine PCs with one keyboard and mouse. The program is compatible with Windows 7 and newer versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, and uses AES-256 encryption for all data that is transferred between PCs.
You need to install the software on a main PC and on all devices that you want to control. The PC with the mouse and keyboard is the primary device, all other devices are secondary devices as they get controlled by the primary PC. Stardock recommends setting up the secondary PCs first as Multiplicity KVM running on the primary PC will detect these automatically then.
Multiplicity displays all connected devices in a grid in its interface. The software supports two main modes of operation: seamless and full KVM.
Seamless functions similarly to how multi-monitor systems operate. Just move the mouse across the screen border to control the secondary device at that side (based on the grid). It works with devices that are on the same local network and with devices with displays.
KVM mode extends the functionality to true remote sessions. Devices without a monitor can be controlled in KVM mode, and it is possible to establish connections using a VPN connection.
Multiplicity KVM supports drag & drop operations to copy files between devices. Copy & paste is also supported to copy clipboard content from one machine to another. Next to that, it is possible to share audio to listen to audio from multiple PCs on a single device.
Some of the features can be turned off. If you don't want to share clipboard content, you may disable that feature in the settings. Another handy feature is the ability to configure hotkeys to position the mouse cursor at a specific position on one of the linked devices.
Stardock's Multiplicity KVM worked well during tests to control multiple devices from a single PC. It is a great option to control one or multiple laptops from a main PC, as you don't need to rely on using the laptop's touchpad or connect a mouse to each laptop to get better control functionality.
The ability to control a device remotely, or in the case of Multiplicity KVM Pro multiple devices, makes it an interesting tool for professional usage.
If you just need to control one other device, you may use Multiplicity KM, which is available for about €20. If you prefer free, Microsoft's Mouse without Borders may be an alternative as the original Multiplicity is no longer available.
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