I have laptop used both at home and at the office. Both at work and at the office I have desktop computer. Whenever I run some automated process on one machine I intensively work with another. It increases efficiency: Instead of waiting until NAnt and MSBuild will do their job and let me go ahead, I able to read, write, send/receive e-mails, prepare presentation and even develop on other machine. That's can be really big advantage for you, if you're already disappointed to have strong beliefs in multitasking OS.
Until I installed synergy, it was very annoying to transfer some small amount of data between my computers (for instance, URL or connection string from PC to laptop). Even if you have instance messenger on both or well organized set of shared folders. My hands where getting tired because I should work with two keyboards and two mice.
So, let's start with small practical introduction: So you have you're laptop (in my case PC-BORYS) to the left side of your desktop PC (BORYSDESK) with network connection established between them. Synergy is installed on both PC and laptop.
It's convenient to share PC's keyboard and mouse, so consider laptop PC-BORYS as client and BORYSDESK as server. Here is main screen of synergy:
On client all you need is to specify server name (either network name or IP), see figure above. On server you should set adjacent screens configuration. In my case it's two screens connected side-by-side like on figure below:
Press start to share keyboard, mouse and clipboard on two PC's!
You can't expect synergy to transfer windows and support drag-and-drop operation between PC's, but there are anyway quite useful features ...
- synergy can work with any amount of PC's (imagine if you have 2 laptops and one PC)
- clipboard buffer is also shared. You can copy-paste from one PC to another
- configuration is saved
- synergy doesn't require administrator rights on PC and perfectly works under normal user
- clipboard buffer can be transferred with any kind of data (pictures, doc files and so on)
- tray icon with connection status is provided
- when server is very busy, mouse and keyboard can freeze
- It incorrectly works with different keyboard layouts and functional key (so it's good when you use one variance of latin alphabet)
- It gets stuck if you place large amount of data in clipboard buffer
NB: It's open source, freeware project, which hasn't been changed since 2006. The latest version is 1.3.1