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Part 1 – Basic Usage
I took some time out of my busy schedule to take the latest version of Synergy for a spin and I was pleasantly surprised that free software could get this good, but it is still not perfect.

Synergy 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 since each system uses its own monitor(s).

Once configured correctly you can easily move your mouse to the edge of the screen and onto the desktop of the next computer. Setting up Synergy was not effortless and may discourage many possible users who could benefit from using it.


The setup guide was not perfect so below is the procedure I took to get it up and running (after a bit of trial and error).

Edit: Users have reported best results if you do not change the master servers name to “Master” Instead keep the computer name as it is. If you have questions or problems post them in the comments and I will assist you the best I can.

1. Start on Slave-A first.
a. Grab the EXE from http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/ and install on the Slave-A PC.
b. Run the Synergy Shortcut
c. Click “Advanced” and set the screen name to “Slave-A”, then click O.K.
d. From the main menu, at the Other Computer Host Name box, type “Master”
e. Click “Start” and you are all set here.

2. Start the Master last.
a. Grab the EXE from http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/ and install on the Master PC.
b. Run the Synergy Shortcut
c. Select the second radio knob titled “Share this computer…”
d. Click the “Configure” button below it.
e. In the screens & Links window is where you stitch the monitors together.
f. Click the + under Screens and add a screen called “Master” and click OK
g. Click the + under Screens and add a screen called “Slave-A” and click OK (spelling is important)
h. To allow the mouse to pass right into the Slave-A (red arrow) you need to set the first link to read:
i. “0 to 100% of the Right of Master goes to 0 to 100% of Slave-A”
ii. Click the plus to save it.
i. To allow the mouse to pass back to the master (Blue Arrow) you need:
i. “0 to 100% of the Left of Slave-A goes to 0 to 100% of Master”
ii. Click the plus to save it.
j. Click “Advanced” and set the screen name to “Master”, then click O.K.
k. Now that the mouse can pass both ways and you see both listed under links you can click OK then click Start.

Synergy Links Window

Adding the links seems to be the trickiest part for anyone trying it for the first time but if you read it out loud you will understand it and will be adding multiple slave’s and looping the screens in no time! A GUI where you can drag and drop squares to represent computers would easily half its difficulty for first timers, but I would rather it be free than easy.
You have the ability to copy-paste text from one PC to the next but that’s about it, dragging windows and files are stopped at the border. I am not aware of the limit to the amount of PC’s you can setup, but knowing the Open Source community, there are usually no artificial caps in place. You may need to stop the application to play full screen games or to change settings, a minor annoyance.

I could easily use Synergy almost daily at work, but home use might be another story. Thorough testing of that is still needed.

Thank you for reading this far, and stay tuned for Part. 2

Comments

6 Responses to “Throw out your KVM’s, Synergy does it right. Part. 1”

  1. D&D Nerd.com on June 28th, 2007 12:53 pm

    From the looks of it, these seems to be a much better solution than Stardock’s Multiplicity, especially since Synergy supports more operating systems.

    While you can’t think of many home uses for this, I sure as heck can. You could play a game on one system, while another system you could have a web page or other file open with information for that game. You could even run two games, though it would be best if one of them required some sort of waiting time and/or could be left alone with no adverse affects (such as a turn-based game).

    Now windows stopping at the edge of the screen makes sense for this particular application. I can imagine Multiplicity doing the same thing. It doesn’t really make sense to be able to drag windows from one system to a different system, especially if they have completely different operating systems (such as trying to drag a window from a Windows OS to a Linux OS).

    I can see window sharing working in a limited fashion as long as those folders are shared over a network. Only in that case would it make sense to be able to drag a window from one system to another. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make sense, at least from a multi-system setup.

  2. Grizz on June 28th, 2007 9:30 pm

    Sorry if I was not clear in the end. What I meant to say is I am saving my remarks for home use for Part 2. Thank you for your comments!

  3. 25 Days with Synergy - MultiMonitor.Net on August 25th, 2007 8:22 am

    […] Day 4 – The guest PC is fully patched and updated. Installing and configuring Synergy took all of 30 seconds after following my first write-up instructions. http://multimonitor.net/2007/06/throw-out-your-kvm%e2%80%99s-synergy-does-it-right-part-1/ […]

  4. kl on August 22nd, 2008 7:48 pm

    been trying to start it a few times on vista premium and xp-pro. for some damn reason wont….

  5. kl on August 22nd, 2008 7:59 pm

    been trying to start it a few times on vista premium and xp-pro. for some damn reason wont….

    just work fine , thanks

  6. VitalinaVita on November 5th, 2008 11:08 pm

    The people in such cases, said so – Avos will be alive, maybe pomrem.

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