How To Use One Keyboard & Mouse For Two Computers (Windows)

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use one keyboard and mouse for two computers It’s your friendly neighborhood admin with a solution to a common computer problem around my house.

Chances are if you have one computer in your household you have more than one computer in your household. It’s just a fact. More and more homes have servers, media centers and multiple desktops/laptops.

Some people use KVM‘s to control multiple machines. These KVM’s are a simple switch that lets you switch control to another physically connected machine. A for the server, B for the desktop and C for your media center. This is OK but not the best setup.

Let’s say I want to copy information from my desktop to my server. I can remote desktop in, use VNC, AAMMY or any number of remote control programs. But what if I want to be able to view both machines at the same time? What if I want to use one keyboard and mouse for two computers.

If you have two or more machines in your home with monitors attached you can now control multiple computers from one single mouse and keyboard. It gets better because you can also share clipboards and wait, Input Director is FREE!.

input detector-control multiple computers with one keyboard

Input Director’s Website breaks it down like this:

Before kicking off the installation and configuration of Input Director it’s important to first explain the master/slave terminology used throughout the documentation and application.

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The master system is the computer that has the mouse/keyboard that you be using to control it and the other system(s). A slave system is one that can receive input (keyboard and mouse) from a master.

The quick start guide will run though setting up two computers, one as the master, the other as a slave. You need to decide now which computer you will use as the master – that is, which one has the keyboard/mouse that you want to use to control it and the other system (the slave).

For the remainder of the quick start guide, the two Windows systems that Input Director will be installed onto will be referred to as the master and the slave.

Got it?

Your main machine with the keyboard and mouse that you want to use will be called the MASTER and other machines that you will remote control are your SLAVES.

This application is installed on each computer and you are give a bunch of security options like what computers can control your slave and neat hotkeys to make switching machines a breeze. You can setup a situation similar to multiple monitors with remote machines. You can move your mouse off your screen and right onto the next machine (basically, have multiple computers on one monitor). Even if you have multiple monitors this will still work.

I have used other programs that claim to do what Input Director does – but hands down this is the easiest to make work. It is really easy and if this fits a need that you have I highly recommend it!

Let’s take a look at it.

multiple computers on one monitor

You first run the setup on the master machine and simply set it as the master machine like seen here:

Then you setup the client machine. Come on back over to the Master machine and tell it where your Slave machine is.

You can now go and configure hotkeys and other goodies but that’s it. You are ready to manage multiple machines from one keyboard and mouse. Next step world domination!

Update: Also see, Synergy- Multiple Computers On One Mouse & Keyboard.

Do you use something similar? Let us know in the comments!

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23 Comments - Write a Comment


Martin Saxer

I prefer using Win2VNC ( for this purpose. Seems to have all the features of Input Director plus it can use a screen edge as the switch rather than a hotkey combo.

Since I’ve already got a VNC server running on all my machines this is super simple to setup and works beautifully.

Karl L. Gechlik |

This does the screen edge jump as well, I will be checking out Synergy but what makes it better? Is it free as well?

Martin Saxer

Win2VNC is free. I missed your mention in the article that Input Director can do the screen edge jump too.

I haven’t tried Synergy, though I’d likely use it if I didn’t already have VNC running for remote access.



Sounds like Synergy but not quite as good… :-P



Can you also view the Slave monitor on the Master monitor using this application?


Karl L. Gechlik |

Nope, this is a one way relationship unless you change the config.



It seems like a lame version of Synergy, but hey that’s just me.



Anyone have any solutions for using Synergy or Input Director (preferably Synergy) between two PCs, where one of the PCs must connect to a VPN (pretty much at all times). I have a desktop and a work laptop that is connected to dual monitors for work related tasks. One solution that i’ve heard of is to physically connect the mouse/kb to the VPN’d computer (i.e. my laptop) and connect the laptop dually to the network (i.e. through the wireless and wired connections) so that the laptop gets two IP addresses on the home network. Thus, once the VPN connection is made and it “takes over” control, Synergy may still operate over the local area network connecting to the desktop. (When connecting to a VPN, all local connections are stopped, as is the nature of a secure virtual private network). — This may work, unfortunetely, the work laptop has a firewall enabled that I cannot remove without administrator priveledges, alas, is there any other way to get this to work??


Karl L. Gechlik |

Your VPN connection may be trying to route all traffic, including traffic for the local network, through the remote default gateway. This will cause Synergy to die, of course. You can use traceroute to verify that this is the cause.

There’s a setting in the Windows VPN software under the connection properties window – advanced – TCP/IP properties – Advanced called for “Use default gateway on remote network”. This should be off to allow traffic to go directly to your local network.

Your mileage may vary if you’re using Cisco’s proprietary connection software, but hopefully it has a similar setting.



Thanks the author!



I can see how this application would come in handy but I personally enjoy being surrounded by piles of high-end hardware and walls of LCD monitors.



Just tried this, pretty cool but what I needed was to be able to view a slave on the masters screen(remote desktop). However I can now use my Laptop as a giant remote control for my media PC….lol.

Would be greatfull if anybody could recomend a remote desktop alternative as my media PC is Vista Home Premium and Microsoft in there wisdom wont allow RD access of this OS!

Thanks again to the author!

Martin Saxer

It looks like there are some hacks out on the net to enable RD on Vista Home Premium. I haven’t tried them as I’ve found that works nicely for me. You can also try As a bonus you’ll also be able to access your VNC server from a Mac or Linux client.


Sandi Savedra

I need help to install this on my computer. I want to connect my two computers together but am not totally computer literate when it this type of stuff. I want to option of being able to use both monitors from the computers as I do web sites and need to see changes I have made on one while making the changes ont he other. but still I want access to both computers from one keyboard and mouse. Does this program do that?



what about hardware solutions to that problem?



Will this program work for connecting two computers each with two monitors (four monitors total).



i’m trying to use Synergy or Win2VNC between two Vista, but both didn’t work, when i try to connect using Win2VNC by hostname::port number, it give me “failed to connect to server……..”
for Synergy, when i try to run the server, a red cross appear on the synergy icon giving “not running”.

Any help will be highly appreciated.



This is better than synergy if you’re ONLY using windows machines. Synergy fails to connect most of the time on later OS versions (ahem, 7 RTM) – while ID works great.

And yes, you can use up to 4 monitors per machine with this.



Does this allow for copying and pasting between the two (of the same) OS?



What’s up, is there anybody else here?
If it’s not just all bots here, let me know. I’m looking to network
Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.




Please help. Is there a way to configure either synergy or ID to span across multiple gateways?



I definitely see some positive aspects of this application, but I am still not convinced that it is better than Synergy which I am already using. Can somebody sway me?


Amit Banerjee

Brilliant ! Saves me the pain of maintaining 2 keyboards and mouse. Though, The keyboard letters are sent to the slave machine slowly.

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