3 must-have freeware apps for multiple desktops

QSynergy, Mouse without Borders, and Win Switch all let you seamlessly switch between computers without leaving your chair, and they're all free.

Users who are tired of running back and forth between multiple computers might want to give today's collection of freeware a look. First, we have two KVM switch replacements: Qsynergy, a more intuitive version of the popular Synergy; and Mouse without Borders, a quick and easy solution from Microsoft's Garage for sharing your keyboard and mouse.

A third alternative is Win Switch, a tool to share programs on multiple computers and unchain you from your desk. All three options differ from remote desktop applications such as TeamViewer or Splashtop, since all of the computers operate on the same network.


Qsynergy

Qsynergy is an easy-to-use graphical front end for Synergy, the gold standard in KVM switch replacement. QSynergy allows you all of the features of Synergy minus all of the tedious configurations of the latter.

(Credit: Synergy)

The good:

  • Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Clipboard sharing allows copy and paste between server and clients
  • Share mouse and keyboard
  • Supports a large numbers of machines at once (standard number is 15, but it can be configured for more)

The bad:

  • Setting up is difficult (steep learning curve)
  • No file sharing

Synergy is a great piece of software for those willing to learn how to use it; Qsynergy makes it a bit easier. It's still not the simplest program, but it does offer a plethora of features.


Mouse without Borders

A Microsoft Garage project of developer Truong Do, Mouse without Borders (MwB) was created when he got sick of switching between all of his PCs at work. The software lets you use your mouse and keyboard on up to four computers running Windows.

(Credit: CNET)

The good:

  • Drag and drop files across computers
  • Copy and paste
  • Share mouse and keyboard
  • Lock and unlock all of your computers simultaneously

The bad:

  • Only supports PCs (sorry, Mac and Linux users)
  • Limit of four computers at any time
  • Still a prototype; no support

Overall, MwB is a quick and easy program to get you working with multiple computers fast. It won't provide that comforting sense of world domination as it only allows four computers, and only works on PCs, but it's great for home users.


Win Switch

Window Switch makes it easy to connect network computers to share individual applications. Win Switch allows you to launch applications from one computer and continue to work on them seamlessly on another.

Share Applications

(Credit: Nagafix)

The good:

  • Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Work on the same program and project on different computers.
  • Computers do not have to be in the same room.

The bad:

  • Only allow sharing of programs, not files.
  • Does not allow sharing of Mouse/Keyboard.

Win Switch is a great program to have at home or at the office. You can begin a project at your desk and finish it up in the break room on your laptop.

Update: Those looking for a more premium experience can head on over to Multiplicity. One of our fellow editors has pointed out that this little software now offers a free version for users to try. Multiplicity contains many of the useful elements of the above (share Kb/m, transfer data, share lock). The paid version offers supports up to nine PCs, centralize audio (all audio is route to one PC, a great feature for those who don't want to miss a single notification) and more importantly data encryption to protect your activities. It's worth a try since it's free. We've mentioned that right? It is for PCs only; sorry again Mac and Linux users.

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