No-borders mouse runs across screens

Sep 13, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Microsoft has announced a free download that lets you work your mouse to navigate across multiple PCs. Mouse Without Borders is the name of the program and it is drawing positive reviews from first-time users taking it on a test drive. They like the program's ease of use in navigating multiple computers on the desk with a single mouse and keyboard, as if the machines were simply multiple displays of the same system.

The program lets a user copy and paste from one computer to the next; drag and drop files from one machine to the next; log in to all the PCs on the desk at once and lock all the connected PCs at once.

Up to four PCs can up into one unit.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The free program is a 1.1 MB download and no additional hardware is required. What is required is that all the computers involved be on the same local network. You install Without Borders on the first PC. You are given a security key and then you key in the information into the other PCs, and you have them linked. You can move the keyboard and mouse across the computers.

As any open source developer can attest, Microsoft is not known for giving away its software free but this new application is the product of "The Garage" which is both a physical place in Building 4 at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters and a company program. The Garage welcomes sandbox tinkering and project incubations by employees outside their regular working hours.

Mouse Without Borders easily won attention inhouse and it was decided to download the app to the public. The video shows developer Truong Do as the creator. Truong Do, when not at the Garage, works for Microsoft Dynamics, the ERP and CRM line of applications designed to work with other Microsoft software.

The Garage and its science fairs within helped expose the project to 9,000 people before it was ready for external release as a free download. According to reports, they subjected the app to rigorous tests to ensure they could bring it to the public bug-free.

Truong had been looking for an easier way to cope with different mouse and keyboard configurations for each PC in the office, so he devised his own solution.

"The project is testament to the power of The Garage which helped Truong develop the user interface and set up the usability tests that have helped the tool become very accessible and easy to use," said Steve Clayton of TechNet.

This is not the first time, though, for an application such as this. Open-source Synergy has a following, as a program that enables a user to share mouse and between . Unlike Windows-only Mouse Without Borders, Synergy is supported on Windows, OS X and Linux.

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User comments : 16

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Bascule
5 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2011
Microsoft actually do give away a large amount of software. You can get system utilities and programming tools.

And Synergy has been out for 8 or 9 years.

As a journalist couldn't you tell the story about how Truong has stolen this idea and pretended to be innovative?
dav_i
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
I've lost count of the times that I've had a PC and a laptop on the same desk and tried to use the PC's pointer to grab something on the laptop! Yay for this!
jamesrm
5 / 5 (2) Sep 13, 2011
So the news here is M$oft has made a proprietary version of existing software?
CHollman82
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 13, 2011
So the news here is M$oft has made a proprietary version of existing software?


And gave it away for free, yes...

Haters gonna hate.
jdbertron
1 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
How about making it easy to transfer files ?
http://xkcd.com/949/
DiverseByDesign
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Actually, this is a great application. I have no idea if he stole the idea or not, all I know is that no matter who made it first, this is the first time we are hearing about it (the masses) so even though I am not a M$ fan.. this app is great! Kudos!
AngryMoose
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Can you actually drag a file from one and drop it on the other? that would be insanely useful to me.
geesewild
5 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
Well nice but I don't need it. Been using Synergy for years.
DiverseByDesign
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Moose.. yes. Been using it since this morning when I read the article. This is really cool and been very helpfull to me all day. I see myself using this for a long time.
Nik_2213
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
This could have been so useful when I was running this Browser_PC and a twin-screen CAD_PC via a KVM switch. I used a proprietary USB file-transfer utility to drag/drop data, but being able to copy/paste between the systems...
FWIW, the CAD program --And my project-- became abandon-ware when 64-bit came along: The new core-code was not back-compatible with prior files...
SeanRhys
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Mac users have been doing this for many, many, many years. Teleport is one of the free programs that does a marvelous job of this.
Sean Stirling
tigger
5 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
Mac Fanbois *eyeroll*
spaceagesoup
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
yer it's just not even remotely new or innovative in any way. not even worth the few KB page download time, let alone a refeed. get with the times Microshaft
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Sep 14, 2011
yer it's just not even remotely new or innovative in any way. not even worth the few KB page download time, let alone a refeed. get with the times Microshaft


No one said it was new or innovative... I don't know how that means it isn't worth the download time... It's a nice free feature that you couldn't get for free before on a Windows OS without stealing.

People need to understand that being so transparently for or against a certain company (fanboy) makes them look like f*ggots to normal rational people.
default_ex
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
It's a nice free feature that you couldn't get for free before on a Windows OS without stealing.


At least open up google and try searching for what people have mentioned before making such heinous assumptions, since your too lazy to do that I'll help you: synergy-foss.org is synergy's official website. Doesn't cost you anything to use, works on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

People need to understand that being so transparently for or against a certain company (fanboy) makes them look like f*ggots to normal rational people.


This is exactly what you did by lumping everyone that mentioned synergy in with thieves. Get some perspective !
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Sep 16, 2011
Fine, Synergy is free, no I didn't check.

The point is, you're all bitching about Microsoft giving away a nice new app for free solely because you blindly hate Microsoft because it's the popular thing to do, which is juvenile.

FYI I hate all fanboys and anti-fanboys equally, including people for or against Apple.

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