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Controlling Multiple Computers Using One Keyboard and Mouse using Input Director [PC] | Posted at 8:50 PM

I recently upgraded my old Pentium III server to some hand-me-down hardware I got from my brother's old PC. It's an Athlon XP 2700+ with 512MB of RAM and an ATI X1600 512MB video card. I'll be slapping 2GB of RAM into it and adding some more hard drive space.

Anyway, my dilemma was that I only had room for one keyboard and one mouse but I had two monitors. Some might have used a KVM switch (I actually have a USB switch I used to install the OS and configure the BIOS on it). You could also use remote desktop, which I did with my last server. However, switches and remote desktop are too manual for my taste.

Desk and computers

As you can see, my server is on the left of my desk and my PC is on the right side. The left monitor is my PC and the right monitor is my server.

Input Director to the rescue! It effectively handles all the screen switching for you so you can use your second computer as if it was connected to your primary monitor. When you move your mouse to the side of the screen where the second computer's monitor is at, it will automatically switch your keyboard and mouse focus to that computer. It even handles copy/pasting! You could try Synergy as well (I've used it previously) but it didn't play nice with Windows Server 2008 which is what my server runs.

Filed Under: Miscellaneous Technology Tips and Tricks

Comments

Yeah, Input Director is pretty swanky. Used it in a studio setup that had 3 computers with dedicated VSTs running on them - You could effectively control them with a netbook while sitting at the piano.

I have tried Input Director in my own home office and it works just fine. This tool has really amazed me. It makes my work more faster. Nice!

i used Input Director in our company, it's used very fast. so good! the boss said that i am very clever,haha...^ ^Wonderful!

I've been looking for something like this. Input Director seems it could be it. Having two multi monitor setups and a number of small networks at work for admin & trouble shooting this could come in very handy.

And talking of hand-me-downs, my brother just gave me his small computer monitor after upgrading his to a 24" samsung. Cant complain tho, its free after all. It goes well with my pc monitor from SmallMonitor.com

Anyway, back to the subject - any negative points about Input Director?

I've been looking for something like this. Input Director seems it could be it. Having two multi monitor setups and a number of small networks at work for admin & trouble shooting this could come in very handy.

And talking of hand-me-downs, my brother just gave me his small computer monitor after upgrading his to a 24" samsung. Cant complain tho, its free after all. It goes well with my pc monitor from SmallMonitor.com

Anyway, back to the subject - any negative points about Input Director?

Input Director sounds super cool! I'm gonna try it out tonight. It sucks having to hit a combination of keys to switch desktops. Even when you get used to it it's quite a nuisance.

Loving the picture mate. I use 3 monitors at once. I find it so much easier when ya do graphic design.

This looks way cool. Where can I get this input directory and how much is it?

This is super cool. I think one of my friends actually did this with his PC. Might do it some time in the future.

I'm using a dual monitor and it comes in handy when I do my work. But I never thought that dual CPU is possible. The only way for me to control another unit is to remote access it.

It's a shame that these applications are for Windows only. Mac users are often left out by software makers. It would be a big market, if they invested in it.

Hi Kamran!

Have you ever considered going wireless (looking at all the wires behind your desk). I personally hate wireless as it seems to have inconsistent connections. If you have tried, any advice?

A really nice trick, I wonder if you could do that with TV's as well?

Thanks for pointing me to the direction of input director, I had always wanted to try a system like this. Will it possibly work with a Linux based system?

Your room should have a good stereo equipment. But, do not hear from the your PC
Because it makes your computer work too hard.

I have some old PCs lying around. I may just use this post as a guideline for setting up my own rig.

I have some old PCs lying around. I may just use this blog as a guideline to setting up my own rig. Thanks.

Awesome tip! I will try this set up with my home office.

Hey, that is cool. I recently added a second monitor and it improved my productivity at least 50%. The idea of attaching a second computer looks even better.

Wow that is so cool but I think I am going to need a bigger desk!!!

cool. i didnt know we can control 2 computers with one keyboard, really interesting i'll be googling up Input Director [PC] later :)

This coupled with a NAS 3TB router and my dream setup will be complete. Thanks.

Controlling many computers with one mouse and computers looks amazing. Just imagine how confusing it'd be for a web designer to manipulate the use of multiple mouses/keyboards!

I use two computers to do my work, thanks for this tip. It is both clever and swanky mate.

Aha..excellent tip right there. I've a couple of pcs in my office but had no idea that one keyboard would work!

This is really cool. I have seen it done before but never knew exactly how it was set up. Thanks for the post!

This is very cool if you can control a couple of computers through one keyboard, I have never tried that before, I think I would make a mess.

I have my computer at home set up that way my husband did it for me!!! IT'S GREAT!!! Love it!

jaja so interesting!!! i loved this post

jaja very good post!!

Why would you want to control multiple computers with just one mouse and one keyboard?

I always thought this was possible but not with windows.I am an avid Linux Ubuntu user.

Me dedico al Diseño de paginas web en Mexico, y este tema me parece muy interesante, sin mas muchas gracias.

This is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing. I am using a 3 monitor setup with one computer. Using a Matrox Triplehead2go device. Connects 3 monitors to 1 VGA input. It is sweet!

Awesome tip! I never tried it before, but now I will! Thanks for sharing.

Very useful tip! Thanks for it, will definitely try using it now.

Great configuration! It's my dream to have own server. But it's too difficult for me.

I wonder id it is enough Athlon XP 2700+ with 512MB of RAM and an ATI X1600 512MB for server configuration?

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About the Author

Kamran
Divide by Zero is Kamran Ayub's personal blog. Kamran owns and operates Intrepid Studios, a web design and development firm based in Minneapolis. Despite the above picture, Kamran is usually an intelligent person. Please forgive him.

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