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I tried MaxiVista (their free trial) recently for using my laptop as a second monitor and it worked great. It also allowed me to control my laptop from my desktop PC. Does anyone know of a tool that does this but is free?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Heptite, Kevin Panko, Wesley, Tog Apr 22 at 10:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

related: superuser.com/questions/15254/… –  fretje Feb 21 '11 at 9:03
related: superuser.com/questions/422240/… –  Breakthrough May 9 '12 at 3:56

4 Answers 4

ZoneOS ZoneScreen seems to me the only viable free (albeit not open source) alternative to MaxiVista at this time:

ZoneScreen is a tool for extending your desktop workspace using displays of network connected computers or portable devices like Pocket PC. Like VNC, ZoneScreen is able to mirror local desktop to another computer in the network. The main difference is that it also allows extend desktop, just like the case when you have second monitor connected.

All you need for ZoneScreen to work is network connection between your devices (your computers are both connected to the same network, or connected directly with cross-over cable or 1394 firewire cable, etc). In case you are using Poket PC, you may use connection provided by ActiveSync (using cradle cable, IR port, etc).

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Check out this webpage from Alternativeto.com...it lists the (mostly) free alternatives to Maxivista...as good of a list as you're gonna get...


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Thanks. This is a great resource. –  nicorellius Apr 9 '10 at 19:00

Input Director is an excellent Windows-only tool that is just like Synergy, but not cross-platform. Input Director works better and does not crash as much...also easier to configure...highly recommend

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Can you drag open windows across screens with this app? –  nicorellius Apr 9 '10 at 17:40
nope. Afraid not. However, you can copy and paste small stuff, such as a URL...not files though...as far as I know... –  studiohack Apr 9 '10 at 17:50
See my question @ superuser.com/questions/129249/… . I'm currently working on somewhat of the same question you are...check out BBlake's post, and you might get some ideas...if your OS's are XP, check out Zone OS... –  studiohack Apr 9 '10 at 17:52
Yes, good point. This is on the resource page you sent me above. It looks like there are some options. Just a matter of finding the right one for my applications. Thanks! –  nicorellius Apr 9 '10 at 19:02
@studiohack - ZoneOS ZoneScreen seems to work but I cannot get the "extend to other monitor" check box to show up, even though the app is running. This is similar to how MaxiVista works, but ZoneScreen is stuck on simply duplicating my work on my laptop. How'd you do? –  nicorellius Apr 9 '10 at 19:24
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Until today, I hadn't heard of Synergy. This tool is great. You can find it here:


It doesn't seem to allow you to drag open windows from screen to screen, however, a neat function of MaxiVista. For now, this is a good alternative (saved $40). It would be nice if I could find a free tool that would allow for dragging windows across the screens.

PS - Searching this board for Synergy gives lots of posts too.

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this works great! –  Joset Feb 18 '11 at 7:10
MaxiVista is for using the screen of an extra pc as a secondary monitor for your main pc, while Synergy lets you use the keyboard and mouse of your main pc on other pc's on your desk. 2 Totally different features, so not the same. How can this be the accepted answer? –  fretje Feb 21 '11 at 8:50
That's right. Synergy is not even the same type of solution as MaxiVista. This should not be the accepted answer. –  Kilhoffer Apr 18 '11 at 15:52

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