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We're a trading shop, so we've got users running two(or more machines) with at least two monitors connected to each machine. The traders demand that we only have one mouse and one keyboard for the entire installation. The current tools that we have are ok at best, and I was wondering if there was anything else out there to handle the problem.


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What kind of tools? Can you be more specific? – Joel Spolsky Apr 30 '09 at 18:58
We currently use a product called Multiplicity(, but it can be a bit buggy at times, but always log those issues in FogBugz. – WindyCityEagle May 19 '09 at 18:44

I think Synergy might be what you are looking for. I love it. I use it at home to share a keyboard and mouse between my linux and windows boxes. I move my mouse cursor to the left side of the screen on my windows machine and it appears on the right side of the screen on my Linux box. No extra hardware needed if the two (or more) machines are networked.

There are sometimes issues with cut-and-paste between OS X and Linux boxes (my current config) under Synergy. And there doesn't seem to be a lot of synergy development going on. On the other hand, it works, I haven't found anything better, and you can tunnel it over SSH for security. – Schof Apr 30 '09 at 19:27
Synergy also has some problems with OS X 10.5. I believe there is a work around but no official update to the code base – Aaron Powell Apr 30 '09 at 22:32
Synergy development appears to have restarted: – Colin Pickard Apr 14 '11 at 13:17

If you want to control multiple computers with one keyboard/mouse in Windows I've used Synergy and Input Director and will only recommend Input Director. Synergy locked up and wouldn't let me mouse over to the slave when the master was pegged. ID has never failed me. Plus I find ID's copy/paste clipboard-syncing to work much better.

If you are a programmer and aren't intimidated by a fiendishly complex application, there's a powertool called WiLMa that can manage window layouts, create and restore them, move them around, and a lot more. I haven't figured it all out yet.

On each computer, to optimally use both monitors I recommend Ultramon. I use it on Dual-Monitors at work, and Hex-Monitors at home, and it's fantastic. I actually combine it with VirtualWin to get more desktops, and the iconized plugin mapped to the tick key (next to 1) to get 4 desktops of 6 monitors each, with handy little icons of every program running on each desktop.

Ultramon puts a taskbar on each monitor showing you only the windows on that monitor, lets you drag maximized windows around, set up different backgrounds/screensavers (if you're into that), shortcuts to throw windows to other monitors, maximize windows across monitors, and loads more. To me, it's an absolute necessity if I'm working with more than one monitor.


For multi-monitor setups, Ultramon provides a taskbar for each monitor. Winsplit Revolution provides some great keyboard shortcuts for arranging windows and moving them from monitor to monitor.

For multi-machine setups, Synergy is the way to go. One keyboard and mouse to control multiple machines, mouse pointers move smoothly from one window to another, and it allows all sorts of monitor arrangements.


I have 4 monitors on 2 machines (2 and 2) and on windows I use Input Director.

Does Input Director support Mac or Linux? – Chris Upchurch Apr 30 '09 at 19:08
Nope. Windows only. – Jason Punyon Apr 30 '09 at 19:10
Can Input Director be used in a commercial setting? The license is only for non-commercial use. – tomjedrz Apr 30 '09 at 19:24
@tomjedrz: Contact the author as stated in the FAQ – Jason Punyon Apr 30 '09 at 19:32

You don't mention what OS, but Synergy, x2x, and x2vnc are all possible solutions.


One alternative is a KVM box, of which there are thousands .. I have used the Belkin OmniView line.

You could also cheat, and have a primary system with lots of monitors and remote desktop or VNC into the other systems. This may be the easiest to manage overall, as only one has the non-standard hardware for multiple monitors.

I haven't used Synergy, but it looks interesting, and the GNU GPL allows commercial use.

EDIT: Thanks Berek for pointing out my lack of clarify. You would probably only use the K and M portions of the KVM devices.

This would work but KVM's can get expensive with multiple monitors (especially with DVI support). – Berek Bryan Apr 30 '09 at 20:04
We actually have some 4 port KVM's that do USB and DVI that we picked up for like 120 dollars. Quite a steal I'm told. – jldugger May 2 '09 at 8:10

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