Control Two PCs From One Mouse With This Freebie From Microsoft

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Do you have 2 Windows computers on your desk?  Perhaps 2 desktop machines.  Or perhaps one desktop and one laptop?

You've probably seen a setup consisting of a single PC with 2 screens.  And you've probably been impressed when you see the user drag the mouse pointer off the edge of one screen and onto another.  

Now imagine doing that with 2 separate PCs.  You drag the mouse pointer off the side of the first computer's screen, and it appears on the screen of the second computer.  Which means that you can now control both PCs from the same mouse.  Just drag onto the screen that's connected to the PC you want to control.

Even more impressive, you can drag files between computers.  To copy a file from the first computer to the second, just click on the file and drag it, with the mouse, between the 2 machines as if by magic.

If this all sounds tempting, then you need to get a copy of Mouse Without Borders.  Not only is the program completely free, it's actually produced by Microsoft.  You'll find the download at http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35460 and it runs on Windows Vista and above.  The download is around 1 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.

You'll need to install it on both of the computers you want to control.  The setup screen will give you full instructions.  And if you have 3 or 4 machines on your desk rather than just 2, then don't fear.  Mouse Without Borders actually works on up to 4 machines.

I've been trying the program over the past couple of days on a pair of Windows 7 machines, and it's pretty impressive.

 

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Comments

The program allows you to prevent the mouse automatically sliding into the next display by checking "Disable Easy Mouse". But you can't disable the ability to move the mouse to any display while you hold the Ctrl key down. It's a useful feature but real annoying when you do text selection using the keyboard and inadvertantly bump the mouse which moves into the other display. While editing documents on my tiny area of desk space I have to switch the mouse back about 5 times an hour which very quickly becomes tedious.

Can't tell you how much I appreciate this info. I never really needed to know about such functionality until just now, where I ended up with two computers in my office.

What a cool, handy, simple to install and simple to use program. Runs perfectly and the drag and drop file transfer is very useful. Now I have 3 monitors in my office. Two on one machine and one on another. I could easily have a secondary to the second machine, but 4 monitors... hmmm. Hard to justify the need. Not sure what I would put on that screen that would be useful.

A friend and I have been using Input Director for years. It doesn't do Drag&Drop file transfer, but it does do text Copy&Paste. It has been solid, and I don't really have to think about it. I had been using it between an XP and Win7 machines. The last few months it has been two Win7 machines. I have no qualms about recommending Input Director. But, the file transfer of Mouse Without Borders is intriguing.

Drake

has anybody tried or heard of "Input Director"? I've found it hard to find a bad review of it... got to be some.

I have XP on both machines and while the program runs, i can switched/moved the mouse back n forth to both screens, I can drag a folder or file but won't transfer to the other machine, i can only see a mouse pointer and nothing to drop...:)

Mouse without Borders comes with "Keyboard without Borders" included free ;)

quote from the download page http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35460 :

"
Mouse without Borders is a product that makes you the captain of your computer fleet by allowing you to control up to four computers from a single mouse and ***keyboard***. This means that with Mouse without Borders you can copy text or drag and drop files across computers.
"

Thanks for posting about this--sounds awesome! But had I not clicked the Gizmo link to Microsoft anyway after reading the discouraging news here that I needed Windows Vista or newer to use this program, I would never have known that it was also written to work with XP service pack 3. From Microsoft's download page:

.....................................
Supported Operating System

Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista, Windows XP Service Pack 3

.Net 2.0/4.0 and Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP SP3 (32/64 bit).
....................................

Since XP 3 is the version of Windows on both my computers, I've downloaded. Will install and see what happens...

http://synergy-foss.org/

I don't use this but a co worker was saying just last week that he likes this one, Plus it works with Macs.

Very nice find. Thanks for letting us know. This utility is spectacular.

Nice one ;)
Thanks for this article (",)

What's the latest Linux equivalent? x2x was first developed in 1996. I wonder what happened to it.

Nice revisit to a great free product but, as long as ONLY TWO computers / monitors are involved (for the free version), I find this cross-platform solution superior as you can fine-tune monitor layouts without gaps and it works with Mac as well:
http://www.keyboard-and-mouse-sharing.com/mouse-without-borders-alternat...

It looks like a better program but the restrictions on free use are a lot more limiting. For example, I can't use it for free personal use at home because I have a home server. http://www.keyboard-and-mouse-sharing.com/freeware.htm says "ShareMouse assumes use in a Power User environment in any of the following cases: Use with more than two monitors. Use with a Server OS or domain controller in the local network. Use of any feature reserved for the Standard or Professional Edition"

I agree completely. Although I purchased ShareMouse Pro version for the feature set I've found nowhere else and its more active development than MWB, I limited my comment to its free version in order to comply with Gizmo's commenting policies.

Rob, I try to keep my systems simple and rarely install much software although I do read all your finds. I got this one immediately so thanks for notifying us. Keep up the good work. :-) This solves a common problem and avoids the clutter of a KVM module and cables. It also has several useful option settings that give me flexibility in how I use it. The ability to edit a physical monitor layout is particularly useful.

I used to have two desktops, two laptops, four mice and four keyboards! For the past two years, I have had two desktops, two laptops, one mouse and one keyboard! How awesome is that? No more reaching for the wrong KB/mouse only to find that nothing was showing up on the screen. haha. This is probably one of the handful of revolutionary software that has changed the way I do computing. I will NEVER be without it! Thank you, Bill & The Boys!