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Cross OS keyboard sharing with Synergy

I’ve tested Synergy at work for some time now but the current release is the only one I’ve found to be stable enough to recommend which is why I’m posting a blog update now.

What does Synergy do?

Quite simply it shares one mouse and one keyboard so they can be used across up to three computers simultaneously.

Say you have a PC, Mac and Linux computer sitting side by side, Synergy will allow you to control all of these using a single mouse and keyboard.

Synergy also allows you to copy clipboard text from one computer to the other. Very useful for those times you have a website url open on one computer and need to open the same on another.

Copying and pasting of files isn’t possible yet – but you never know what the future may bring.

I’ve tested Synergy on Windows 7 and OSX 10.6 using the following 1.4.10 Beta releases:

Windows7

OSX 10.6

I use my PC as the Synergy server (the keyboard and mouse I want to use is attached to this computer) and the Mac as Synergy client (the computer I want to control with the server keyboard and mouse).

Of course it’s possible to swap so it’s the other way around but this is the way I have it configured at the moment so I’ve written my config instructions to reflect that. If you manage to configure your PC/Mac in the setup I’ve outlined you should have no problem getting Synergy re-configured the way you prefer further down the road.

Ok so once you get Synergy installed on your PC you’ll get a dialog box similar to the below:

Synergy PC Server Setup

Choose the “Server (new setup)” radio button then click on “Finish”

You’ll then see the main Synergy admin window:

Synergy PC (Server) Config

At which point you’ll click on the “Configure Server” button to get access to the “Server Configuration” window:

PC (Server) Config 2

Drag the monitor icon to the relevant space the Mac occupies on your desk then double-click on it to add a screen name and alias for the Mac (the Synergy client) using your current Mac host name. I’ve given an example from my configuration below.

For “Screen name”: MyMac

For “Aliases”: MyMac.local

Once you’ve populated both fields, click on “Add” first then “OK” to save your changes.

PC (Server) Config

Once changes are saved and you’re back at the Synergy admin dialog click on the “Start” button to start the Synergy server service making it ready to accept a connection from the Mac (client).

If you want the Synergy server service to start each time you restart your PC (I know I do) select “Edit – Settings” in the Synergy admin dialog and enable both “Start Synergy after logging in” and “Automatically start server/client” followed by “OK” and “Apply” back in the Synergy admin window.

Synergy-PC-Auto-Start

Now swap to your Mac and install Synergy on that. Immediately after installing you’ll see a “Setup Synergy” dialog like the one you got on your PC.

Mac (Client) Setup

Select “Client (Add to Setup)” in that dialog box and click on the “Done” button. You’ll then see the Macs Synergy admin dialog:

At which point you need to add the name of your PC (the Synergy Server) – Mine is called “MyPC” then I clicked on the “Start” button to initiate the Mac client connection.

If you’ve successfully configured Synergy you should now be able to move the mouse between your PC and Mac screens seamlessly. You should also be able to copy and paste text between both computers.

Don’t forget to drag the Synergy icon into your dock on your Mac to make it easily accessible.

Press the CTRL button on your keyboard and mouse click on the Synergy icon then enable “Keep in Dock” and “Open at Login” to make sure the Synergy client auto starts once you next login to your Mac.

Synergy Auto Launch

Hope you have some success with it – and don’t forget to donate if you’d like to support Synergy.

* Update – I indicated above that you should be able to swap your Synergy client/server configuration so that the Mac is the Server and PC is the client but I’ve since found out that this is not possible (at least not on the OS version’s I’ve tried above). So you’ll need to try Synergy on a newer version of OSX or swap your Mac keyboard and mouse to your PC if you prefer using them to your PC’s keyboard and mouse.

~ by Martin on August 17, 2012.

Mac Apps/Scripts, PC Apps/Scripts

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