Configuring Synergy

Tips n Tricks, Tools, Windows

Synergy is an open source software lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware.

It’s intended for users with multiple computers on their desk. I have a similar setup at work and till now I was struggling while switching between the desktop PC and the notebook. You could remote desktop to one of the computers, however you would loose out on using both the display units.

Workplace

The official documentation for configuring Synergy isn’t that straightforward. Here is how I configured Synergy between 2 computers running Windows.

  1. Install the software on all the computers that will share the keyboard and mouse. In my case I installed the windows version of Synergy on both the desktop and notebook.
  2. Configure the synergy server on the PC to which the keyboard and the mouse is connected.
    • Start Synergy and select “Share this computers keyboard and mouse(server)” option
    • Open the configuration dialog by clicking on “Configure”

  3. Configure the “Screens” and the “Links“. For my above setup, I configured 2 screen and 2 links as shown below.

    Note that synergy recommends to input the computer name as the screen name. If you don’t have DNS configured, you can also input the IP addresses in the “Alias” box while configuring the screens.

    The links section tell synergy about the position of the configured screens. As you can see from the above image, its not enough to indicate that the laptop is on the left of the desktop. I also need to configure a link saying that the desktop is on the right of the laptop.

  4. Click on “Start” to start the synergy server.

  5. On the client side (i.e. on my laptop), I just need to instruct synergy to use another computer’s keyboard and mouse.

Once the client successfully connects to the Synergy server, you can easily switch between the 2 computers. When the mouse is moved to the leftmost part of the desktop screen, it automatically switches onto the laptop screen. All further keyboard strokes are also directed towards the laptop.

If you are a keyboard junkie like me, you might also want to configure the “Hotkeys” on the server as shown below

I have one key configured to bring the laptop to focus and another to bring the desktop into focus. You can also configure synergy as a service so that its started automatically when you log in.

(Matt Cutts has written a post titled How to configure synergy in 6 steps to help you setup synergy between 2 computers running Windows and Ubuntu.)

6 comments… add one

  • Niyaz PK Jan 12, 2008

    Seems like a very useful tool. I should try that.
    Thx for the info.. 🙂

  • V V S Kumar Jan 14, 2008

    Hi Venu,

    I was expecting this post from you long back. I’ve been seeing you shifting between your desktop and laptop with great ease and like some magic. At last you broke your silence and shared your new tool with all of us.

    V V S

  • Apurv Jan 16, 2008

    Synergy’s pretty slick.. no doubt. I had used this for more than a yr while at work last yr and must say that it was a touch difficult later without it. Damn neat software.

  • rambhai Jan 24, 2008

    how many machine does it support at once??

  • Omkar Deshpande Jun 2, 2009

    Thanks for the snaps, got exact idea about linking of 2 screens
    Thanks man…..

  • Larry Bushey Oct 3, 2010

    Since Matt Cutts’ original post, a utility (QuickSynergy) has been perfected for Linux that makes the setup graphical, an much easier. Check it out here: http://goinglinux.com/articles/UsingSynergyOnLinuxAndWindows.html

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