After downloading the appropriate software, you first need to designate one of the computers as the "server." This is the one whose keyboard and mouse will be used for the entire system. It's good idea to select the one that is the most comfortable and usable with your other system(s).
You can always change it later so don't worry if you select the wrong one. If you've been using two or more computer systems, you probably have one keyboard and mouse that you prefer over the others.
Next, you'll set up the screens. You can have screens to the right and left of each other and on top and bottom of each other. You will need to tell Synergy which screen is which. For example, if you have two computers ('bob' and 'frank'), you could set it up with bob on the left side of frank. However, don't make the mistake and think that Synergy will figure out that frank is on the right side of bob, because it won't. You'll be able to go to that monitor but you won't be able to move back. Believe me, I already "tested" that aspect of it. It's best if you know each computer's name and use that. Otherwise, you'll have to let Synergy know the difference.
When you're running Synergy, and if you don't have a computer turned on, the cursor will just skip that screen and go on to the next one. In addition, you can still use each computer's individual keyboard and mouse, if necessary. They will operate as if Synergy wasn't running on them. There are additional tips on the Synergy Web site.
Once it's all set up, you can test it to make sure each computer is communicating with the others. If the test works, you're all set.
One other thing you might want to do is enable "autostart." This ensures that Synergy will start as soon as the computer's operating system starts or when you log in. Detailed instructions are given and are simple to implement. It's a great feature. That way you stay with the same keyboard all the time.
It's important to note that Synergy doesn't include any security features. There's no encryption when data is being transferred from computer to computer. However, another computer would need to know your screen name and also be recognized by Synergy in order to be a threat.
Generally, if you're working on a secure local network, it shouldn't be a problem. You can, however, use tools such as OpenSSH to provide secure connections, if you wish. Tips on securing your system can be found on the Synergy Web site.
This is really a great tool for development and writing. I've read nothing but good things about it and I've had no problems, either. If you're tired of switching between keyboards and mice, make your network synergistic with Synergy.
This article was first published on WebReference.