I have three computers and three screens wherein I would like to be able to switch between the following setups:

  • put one computer across all three
  • screens give each computer a screen
  • give one computer two, one one and ignore the last
  • any other configuration

Is this possible? Does the hardware or software exist?

One of these machines is a laptop, and it is intended for the system to continue working if the laptop isn't present. I realise the laptop may require three graphics cards.

The system would also employ Synergy to handle mouse sharing, although it would need some sort of dynamic configuration changer, as the screen layout would change all the time. That I can do - its the above that I can't work out.


A simple cross-platform solution could be any remote desktop client like VNC. On *nix & mac osx, a combination of that and Xinerama would give you a ton of configuration choices, depending on how you wanted to split up your physical displays and do switching.


If you doing a lot of video editing, a software solution may always end up having too much lag, therefore, a simple KVM switch might be more appropriate.


ZoneOS ZoneScreen is a free solution for extending your desktop display using displays of another computers (including Pocket PC), having network connection with main host.

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In some features it is similar to NetMeeting and Remote Desktop from Microsoft, allowing mirroring local desktop to another computer in the network.

The main difference is that it allows extend local desktop, not only mirroring it. Also, you could use ZoneScreen for Windows Mobile to extend/mirror your desktop to screen of your handheld.

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  • Is there a Linux equivalent? – Gausie Nov 27 '09 at 21:40
  • check Dave's answer (Xinerama isn't exactly the same but it works for Linux) – Molly7244 Nov 27 '09 at 22:02

Take a look at Synergy.

Synergy is Free and Open Source Software that lets you easily share your mouse and keyboard between multiple computers, where each computer has its own display. No special hardware is required, all you need is a local area network. Synergy is supported on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen.



You may want to look at Multiplicity or Synergy (thanks, Molly!) for controlling all three PCs with one keyboard and mouse. I imagine you could disable it to achieve another, but it wouldn't be very automated.

  • sure, Phoshi, you mean Synergy: synergy2.sourceforge.net – Molly7244 Nov 27 '09 at 15:10
  • I'm accustomed to Synergy and Multiplicity (although I'm not a Windows user, so lets just stick to Synergy). Those applications do not do what I described, although they are incredibly awesome and useful. I stress that a key feature here is that I can stretch one computer over two screens if necessary. While Synergy can fake this, I couldn't drag a window from one to the other, for example. – Gausie Nov 27 '09 at 15:15
  • Ah, that was it, thanks :) @Gausie; Oh, I misunderstood your question, then. I don't know of a method to do this, unfortunately, but hopefully somebody else does. Anything fundamentally wrong with plugging the monitors into the PC you want to use? – Phoshi Nov 27 '09 at 15:29
  • Well a) the switching is frequent and unplugging would become annoying :P b) dude... my way would be awesome – Gausie Nov 27 '09 at 15:31
  • You're right, it'd be so awesome. – Phoshi Nov 27 '09 at 15:42

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