Operating systems

Share a single keyboard and mouse across Windows and Mac OS X with Synergy

Synergy, an open-source utility, lets you control multiple machines with a single keyboard and mouse--even across different operating systems, like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux/Unix.

Even in the era of virtualization, many IT pros (including myself) have a small army of computers sitting on, under, and around their desks. Controlling this menagerie usually requires multiple keyboards and mice or a KVM switch. But, that was before Synergy--an open-source utility that lets you control multiple machines (each with its own monitor) using a single keyboard and mouse. Even better, Synergy works across operating systems (Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP, Mac OS X 10.2 or higher, and Linux/Unix).

Jeff Bakalar, CNET.com Assistant Editor, demonstrated how to install and configure Synergy in a Insider Secrets video.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

8 comments
Sooniboo
Sooniboo

Does this work between Windows XP and Windows 7?

sherwinf
sherwinf

Thanks for the great info. But, backslash? I thought backslash was local and forward slash was internet...hmmm

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I still have to provide desktop space for a dedicated monitor, this doesn't work for me. A bigger sticking point is the requirement to specify an IP address. I frequently have systems on my bench with blank drives or not connected to the network. Interesting app for those with needs that fit the requirements. Might be great for home networks.

brandonv
brandonv

Thanks a ton for the tip. I've been looking for something like this for years and had no idea it actually existed. After a few minutes trying to figure out the initial configuration, it works great on my two XP machines. I expected some kb or mouse lag on my 2nd machine but so far have experienced none of it. Excellent.

Wally Bahny
Wally Bahny

For an "insider", this guy sure doesn't know the difference between a slash and a backslash...

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Indeed, the network requirement limits Synergy's usefulness.

ppaplaus
ppaplaus

My Networking teacher said he had a "Pentium 8 with 256Mb of ram" in one of his instructional videos. I thought I was hearing things until I checked. The rest of my class had noticed too. We remind him every time he mentions his home machines in class...

takaharu
takaharu

My thoughts exactly. Great idea, shame it doesn't allow you to share monitors too.