Computers sharing the same local area network or wireless Internet connection can share their mouse and keyboard without any additional hardware using an innovative program called Synergy. As a completely software-based KVM alternative, Synergy lets you control a computer connected your local area network with a mouse or keyboard attached to another computer—even if that computer is a Mac and the remote computer is a Windows-based machine. Set up is easy and the performance is excellent. Here’s how you do it:
Begin by installing Synergy+ on your Windows computer and Synergy on your OS X computer. You can get both at http://synergy-foss.org/pm/projects/synergy/tabs/welcome. For OS X, you should actually use QSynergy, which is much more user-friendly. Get it at http://www.volker-lanz.de/en/software/qsynergy/.
To use your Windows computer as a server (i.e. use your Windows computer and mouse to control a Mac), launch Synergy on your PC.
Next, select “Share this computer’s keyboard and mouse (server).”
Click the Configure button. This opens the panel that shows you your screens and links.
Click the + button to add a screen for each computer that will be using the keyboard and mouse. This includes the server (the Windows computer). The idea is that you’re telling Synergy where each screen is located, so when the mouse leaves one side of the screen, it switches over to the other computer, just as if you were using multiple monitors.
Type in the screen name of the computer. If you’re not sure what the name of your computer is, clikc Info in the main window of Synergy. To find out the name of your Apple computer, click the Apple menu and choose About This Mac and click More Info.
Next, build links between the screens using the menus below in the Screens & Links window. Choose where each screen is located in relation to the others and click +. Click OK when you are done.
In the main window, click Start. If you get a Windows Security Alert, click Allow Access.
Now, on the Mac OS X computer, launch Synergy and type in the name of the server. Click Start. You should now be connected! If you have trouble connecting, try the IP address of the other computer rather than the computer name.
Note that you can also use Synergy to connect to an OS X or Windows computer from a Linux computer as well. The QSynergy interface, which is available for Linux and Mac OS, is very helpful when configuring your computer as a server. Note that you may have some issues with keys such as CTRL, ALT and Windows or Command when sharing keyboards with Synergy. To address these issues, try altering some of the settings on the server’s end when creating links and screens. For example, when adding a screen, you can choose modifiers for CTRL, ALT and SHIFT to change their behavior. You can also use half duplex mode for CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK and SCROLL LOCK if they behave erratically.