I'm using multiple PCs including a Laptop. The two desktops are Windows 7 and Windows XP, the Laptop is Windows 7 as well. I hate the laptop keyboard and despise the touchpad with a passion. To resolve my problem, I connected a wireless keyboard mouse combo to the laptop. Now my desktop just wasn't big enough anymore, Three keyboards plus the laptop was too much. A KVM switch was not an option, they don't really work that well. A quick search brought me to Mouse Without Borders.
Mouse Without Borders is a Microsoft Garage project by Truong Do. All I can say is "very well done". It took me .2 seconds to love this tool. One keyboard, one mouse, three PCs and four screens. Yes, the laptop has a primary and secondary screen and it works without a glitch. It also has a copy text or drag and drop file transfer feature.
There is not much else to say. The installation is quick and once setup, it reconnects when a PC is powered up.
Go to the Mouse Without Border download page and check it out.
What are some issues to consider?
- It works with all versions of Microsoft Windows.
- To get a good response, the PCs should connect on the same switch. I didn't try to run over WiFi and don't intend to (see note #1).
- I use static IP addresses, so the PC names are fixed (see note #2).
- The keyboards and mice are still connected to all the PCs, but tucked away under the desk. There is no master or slave keyboard/mouse, they all work at the same time. So use your favourite mouse, even if it is the touchpad on the laptop, yikes.
- It doesn't replace the switch in the computer cabinet. Mouse Without Border expects multiple screens, the monitors are not switched.
Note 1: I had to change the advanced network adapter settings on all my PCs to disable the automatic speed negotiation. I had problems with the Gigabit switch and forcing the speed to "100 Mbps Full Duplex" solved all my network problems, not just this one here. It is possibly the switch, but no time to investigate further at this point. Interesting enough, this change also solved a mouse acceleration issue on my laptop when using Mouse Without Border.
Note 2: I run the OpenSuse DHCP and DNS server and the PCs are configured to not register the name and IP address in the DNS. The PC names have to resolve for Mouse Without Borders to work and I added them to the hosts file (local name to IP address translation. File = C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts).
My next step in the evolution will likely be wall mounted monitors. Having the option to control up to four PCs with one keyboard and every PC can have a primary and secondary screen, that adds up to eight monitors. I already have plans to rearrange my current monitor setup. Still getting used to the simplicity of having only one keyboard.
First published on May 31, 2012