Synergy How To For Mac and PC

10 Jan
2009

Working in an environment with multiple OS’s can be challenging when you have to shuffle between multiple keyboards and mice. A KVM only offers a single view of one device at a time, which is challenging when you need to switch between them frequently. I’m a huge advocate of virtual machines but you are still often limited by the available screen real estate of a single workstation. I’ve toyed with the idea of using the open source application Synergy for a while but have never taken the plunge until recently. What is Synergy? Synergy is an application that allows you to setup individual workstations, either Mac, PC, or Linux with their own dedicated monitors and utilize a single workstation’s keyboard and mouse to move among as many different Operating Systems as you need. You still need dedicated monitors for each of your individuals PC’s but a single mouse and keyboard will allow you to easily operate each OS on their respective monitor(s).

Synergy consists of a client application that runs on the workstations you want to control and an application that functions as a server to which you have a keyboard and mouse you want to use. In the scenario I’m going to present I have a MacBook Pro and and a Desktop PC running Vista. I will show how you can use the keyboard and mouse of the Mac to control the PC. I’ve also configured the Vista as a server which required a little additional effort. If you are interested in seeing this configuration then leave a note in the comments.

Using the Mac to Control the PC.

On the PC
You need to install Synergy on the Windows workstation you want to control.  You can get a copy from Sourceforge.net.  When you start Synergy just make sure you select “Use another computers’ shared keyboard and mouse (client)”, and in the “Other Computer’s Host Name” field enter in the IP address of Mac which we will configure as the server in the next step. Note if you need to find the IP address of your Mac click on the Apple icon in the upper right corer of your screen and select System Preferences…

Note: if you need to find the IP address of your Mac click on the Apple icon in the upper right corer of your screen and select System Preferences… Select the network card from the list on the left and you will see the IP address listed under “Status:”

On the Mac
You can download the latest SynergyKM binaries (.dmg) file for the Mac from Sourceforge.net. The one used here is 1.0 Beta 6.

The installation installs a configuration icon in your System Preferences folder. Open your System Preferences folder and select “Share my keyboard and mouse” radio button.

Now we need to configure the clients that will connect to the Mac’s keyboard and mouse. Click the + button to add another client to the list. In the Name: field enter the actual name of the workstation that will be connecting to your Mac. In my case, my Vista workstation was aptly called “VistaDesktop”. If you have other PC’s in your configuration you simply repeat this process. Now the beauty of the SynergyKM on the Mac is the ability to move the icons of the clients you have added to mimic the physical location of the monitors on your desk. If you have a monitor with one on top of another then you simply arrange the icons in the Server Configuration tool in a similar fashion. In my simple configuration my laptop was to the left of my Windows monitor.

Select the General Tab again and select the “Turn Synergy On” button.

When you start the Synergy server on your Mac you will see an Green and Blue circular Synergy Icon appear in the Menu Bar.


Now you should be able to control use your mouse to switch between both desktops in the order you configured them. If this was helpful then leave a comment or if you are interested in using Vista as a server then leave a comment.


6 Responses to Synergy How To For Mac and PC

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Jimmy

January 21st, 2009 at 7:12 am

Hi, i need to configure Vista as server. I tried but i can only with mac os as server.

Thanks

Jimmy

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Honshi

July 27th, 2009 at 6:26 am

Awesome guide. This is the only one that worked for me. I’ve seen others and it all came with tons of confusing configurations. Thanks for sharing! Kudos!

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Cary Brown

July 27th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Thanks…I’m glad my post helped.

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Kellan

August 19th, 2009 at 12:55 am

I have the same problem as jimmy I can get synergy to work when my mac mini is the server but I need my pc to be the server. I have windows 7 on my pc do you think that could be the problem?

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Cary Brown

August 20th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Hi Kellan… I have not yet installed this on my Windows 7 laptop but if…and when i do I will post the instructions here. It is a really useful application.

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John Scrip

September 28th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

THANK YOU!!! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I have an “offset” issue going on (the pointer shows up at a different ‘elevation’ from screen to screen), but otherwise, I’m pretty thrilled to be running Synergy again.

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