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At work I have two computers (running XP and vistaX64) under my desk. Each computer has a keyboard, mouse and two screens and is connected to the company's network.

I frequently need information I have on one computer on the other and am wondering what the best (easiest, quickest, and simplest to use) solution is for transferring this information. The info can be anything from files to simple cut and paste things.

What is your thought on this? What would you do?

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5 Answers 5

Synergy Synergy+ (thanks Nick) is what you want!

You can cut and paste (text) from one machine to the other without leaving your main keyboard/mouse:

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s).

Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen savers so they all start and stop together and, if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to unlock them all.

Concerning copy/pasting of files, I would use a normal network share.

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3  
Note that synergy doesn't encrypt traffic between the machines. Anyone on the network who can capture network packets could access information that is shared between them. This is normally fixed using ssh tunnels, but I don't know how to do that on Windows, or if there is a different way to secure synergy on windows. That said, synergy is a really cool tool! –  redacted Aug 13 '09 at 12:49
    
@redacted: synergy2.sourceforge.net/faq.html#faq5 –  fretje Aug 13 '09 at 13:01
    
@fretje: That faq seems to suggest using tunnels as well? It depends on how much you trust the network and the other people using it I suppose, I tend to use tunnels because my office is attached to a large college network with ~ 10000 users. –  redacted Aug 13 '09 at 14:26
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@redacted: The Synergy+ project is actually working on a fix for this, there's some experimental code you may be interested in... code.google.com/p/synergy-plus/issues/detail?id=3 –  nbolton Aug 19 '09 at 2:41
    
I started using it at work and I love it. There is a hack to make it work as a service on Vista/7 and that makes it an absolute joy. 4 Monitors, 2 Computer, 1 Mouse and Keyboard. My collegues are jealous to say the least. –  Diago Aug 19 '09 at 19:57

I would (and do) use remote desktop from a primary machine. You can cut and paste between the computers quite easily.

For files, use file shares (and be prepared for many operations to work with files across the network -- e.g. I have only one location for documents).

Much better to have one computer (the fastest!) with multiple monitors, a single keyboard and mouse, and have the remainder headless.

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Problem is each computer only has hardware for two screens each, but I use all four (run remote desktops to other computers on them). –  AnnaR Aug 19 '09 at 5:32

Sorry fretje, you obviously type faster than I do :-)

My first instinct would be pick the best/favorite machine to use, run the others headless, and just remote desktop to the other machines.

However, if you do need to run the other machines with monitors for some reason, then you could use Synergy to share one keyboard/mouse between multiple machines.

Synergy allows you to just move the mouse off the edge of one machine and have it appear on the next, redirecting the mouse/keyboard to the second machine. It also provides a shared copy/paste buffer between the machines. It works across multiple OS's and will work with more than just 2 machines.

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No need to apologize... Just got myself a new gun (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9731/…) ;-) –  fretje Aug 13 '09 at 10:02

You may want to consider Synergy+ since Synergy hasn't had any updates for a while.

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I've got a setup including vistax64 and xp.

copy and paste (plus keyboard and mouse): I use synergy to get that.

files: in my experience the easiest way is to set up xp to share a folder and hook it up in vista as a network drive.

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