On Windows (and I assume MacOS too), you can move your cursor between multiple displays (both connected to the same computer). Is there a way, using third-party apps or natively, to allow movement of the cursor between the computers running the different OS's?

  • You can do something similar. If you install an OS (or both) in a virtual machine (or two) hosted by a physical machine and you give a separated display to the virtual machine you can. But you can do more: you can run each hosted system in a window... Another way is to use something like a remote desktop and put on the secondary display of the physical machine on which you are working. ps> Welcome on SuperUser. – Hastur Feb 15 '17 at 6:18
  • @Hastur I have two different computers and want to use the normal OS if possible. – Rian Webster Feb 15 '17 at 6:20
  • Interesting question in general. (I didn't understand the downvote... but that's the life and we have not to understand all ;-)). I'm thinking to a workaround. With a wired mouse connected to a single machine it is more difficult. In theory with a wireless mouse and two receivers (you have to hack them somehow) one for each OS, you can try to set the position of the first OS display within the range X=[0..1280] (if 1280 is the width in pixel of the 1st screen) and for the second OS in the range [1281:1280+resolution of the second display]... – Hastur Feb 15 '17 at 6:31
  • If you have two separate computers with different OS'es I think that it is not possible to do what you want to achieve. In case of wireless, if you have two receivers and one mouse, in the best case scenario mouse will move to the same position as it is on one of your computers. Look into virtualisation as @Hastur suggested. – alljamin Feb 16 '17 at 23:42

There are different solutions:

  • Software as Synergy[s] (multi-platform and open source) that allows to share a single set of mouse and keyboard (and clipboard) between different complete computers.

    Once the program is installed, users can move the mouse "off" the side of their desktop on one computer, and the mouse pointer will appear on the desktop of another computer. Key presses will be delivered to whichever computer the mouse-pointer is located in. This makes it possible to control several machines as easily as if they were a single multi-monitor computer...

    The computer has to be connected to the same network.

    TCP/IP communications (default port 24800) are used to send mouse/keyboard and clipboard events between computers

    It works as a client-server-service. So you have to install the server side on one and the client on (all) the other(s), with the same architecture of the following class of remote desktop software.

  • Remote desktop software[2]: there exists a long list [1] of programs that can allow controlling remotely an OS as if you were physically logged to that machine.
    They cost few in term of CPU usage (I can recall to memory nx [3] for example able to encrypt the flow efficiently).
    The computers have to be connected to a network (at least a NAT, but they can be connected to the internet even in different countries) but it is not needed for them to stay in the same room.
    So a solution can be to run your OS-es each on its machine, to connect both monitors to the most powerful one and from there to connect to the second machine via one of this software. (Note that with modern displays you can have more than one input channel so you can connect both computers to the same monitor and one computer to both monitors).
    You will have your second OS in a window, but you can send it to the second monitor or to set it there directly. Then you can move your mouse between the screen and so between the systems.
    Moreover, some of those programs may allow you to drag and drop element between the two separated systems, encrypt the communications... (Remember they are separated systems).

  • Just an idea. You can try to use a wireless mouse and to set two receivers (one for OS) to work at the same time (maybe you have to find a hack to make it works). Setting for example the first monitor between X=0 to X=1280 and the second between X=1281 and 2560 (if 1280 is the width in pixels of the displays) and allowing the mouse to go out of the screen on both systems... [I can see some problem if you drop (or the systems drops) some icons out of the screen part visually accessible... ]

  • Another way is to set up the second OS as a guest on the first, with a virtual machine [4].
    It will be more integrated than the above solutions. You can read this answer for example.

  • One time there was the use of material switches[5] to connect more than one computer with a single set of mouse/keyboard and even video.

In general, I like the idea of a mouse as a television remote control, with a narrow-angle to transmit the signal that can act in a similar way to the smart TV ones when pointing at them, they show the pointer on the screen. In my knowledge, at present, there is no yet a general solution that works in this way...

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There is software that does what you're looking for, I unfortunately don't have personal experience with any of it. Two popular products in this categoryare Synergy and EdgeRunner Multiplicity.

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