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Use MacBook to control Windows box (keyboard/mouse)?

I have a MacBook Pro (OS X 10.6.3). Across the room sits a Windows 7 box, using my HDTV as its display.

Both machines are on the same LAN.

I would like to use the keyboard and trackpad on the MacBook to operate the Windows machine. That way, I wouldn't have to bring out the Windows machine's wireless keyboard and mouse every time I wish to use the Windows box with the HDTV.

What would the Experts suggest?

Cheers,
Steve
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sf09er
Asked:
sf09er
2 Solutions
 
larsrohrCommented:
How about Remote Desktop Connection to the Windows 7 box?  Or VNC?
Both have MacOS clients.
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sf09erAuthor Commented:
Hi larsrohr,

I do use the Mac RDP client to connect to the Windows box, but that doesn't provide me with the ability to use the Windows machine with its own display output (HDMI connection to my HDTV). With RDP or VNC, I can only see the Windows box on my Mac's display. That's the problem.

I would like to use the MacBook's keyboard and trackpad to operate the Windows box over the LAN, while still viewing the Windows machine on the HDTV -- not on the MacBook's display.

I don't know if this is possible.

Cheers,
Steve
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marookCommented:
Well, there is something for Mac called Teleport (http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/14042/teleport) that works very cool, but for the Windows box, I'm not sure. There is a mention of 'Synergy' in the reviews, but haven't tried it.
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Anthony MellorChartered AccountantCommented:
isn't there a "switch" in VNC to allow the display to display console locally? (actually it's a switch to switch off local display as I recall, it's been a long while so apologies if not.)    
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stingray427Commented:
Go here: http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

Read all about Synergy. This is a cross-platform program that allow you to use the mouse and keyboard from one computer to control any number of computers on the same network. It's super easy to setup in windows, but needs to be run from the terminal in Mac OS. Synergy also supports Linux too! Since you're using Windows 7 I would recommend Synergy+ on that computer (http://code.google.com/p/synergy-plus/) as Synergy has been out of development since 2006.

I might also suggest that you install The Vista Syn on the Windows 7 box so you can still control it even if you lock the desktop (or after a reboot).
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larsrohrCommented:
I just checked with the 2.0 beta of TightVNC (http://www.tightvnc.com/), which is compatible with Vista and Win7 -- the default installation with setup of vncserver results in a connection that controls and displays the local display (of my Vista Home Premium desktop), just as you want.

Any VNC client for MacOS should be able to connect (I used "Chicken of the VNC").  Remember that most VNC clients connect by sending your VNC password over a non-secure connection, so limit your usage to your local LAN.
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sf09erAuthor Commented:
I haven't been home to work on this and it looks like it'll be a few more days. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will come back to update and award points ASAP.

Cheers,
Steve
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joshuaoo1Commented:
I would second either the VNC or Synergy solutions.  Both of those software programs would meet your demands in different ways.
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sf09erAuthor Commented:
Well, despite following the instructions, I couldn't get Synergy+ to start its server on the Mac:

Synergy+ 1.3.5 Server on Darwin 10.3.0 Darwin Kernel Version 10.3.0: Fri Feb 26 11:58:09 PST 2010; root:xnu-1504.3.12~1/RELEASE_I386 i386
cannot read configuration "/synergy.conf": read error: line 1: found data outside section
synergys: no configuration available

Obviously a problem with my synergy.conf file. I will continue to work with it as time permits.

The VNC suggestions also seem promising. I haven't touched VNC in years, and didn't know that it offered the specific facility I was looking for. I have experimented with it for a short while today. I am able to view the Windows machine with its own display using the Mac's keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard works well, but the pointer is very, very slow to respond on the Windows display, and seems to have a mind of its own (e.g., it moves itself all over the display with absolutely zero input from me). I would imagine that some tweaking with the prefs, and experimenting with various client/server combinations, will ultimately result in the desired outcome.

Points for both suggestions -- I appreciate everyone's time!

Cheers,
Steve
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