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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox' Apps
Just downloaded a little utility, sure it was an early April Fool's joke . . . but it's working, and I'm stunned! I work on two Macs (a PowerBook and an iMac) with one keyboard/mouse ergonomically arranged, using a primitive USB switch to jump from one to the other - wires everywhere underneath, ho-hum!

The freeware program Teleport claims to let you use one mouse and keyboard to control several Macs. "Right!", I thought. "Pull the other one!" . . . But it works like a dream (even though it's only a public preview at this stage)! Install the little prefpane on the Macs, choose one as the 'Master' and arrange the screens (in a drag and drop way) as you wish. Mine are side by side in reality and in the prefpane, so my cursor just slides from edge of PowerBook into the iMac screen (with little warning left on PowerBook screen, as seen in the screenshot at left). Wow!

It'll confuse me when I take my (AirPorted) PowerBook downstairs to work, but ... wow!

[robg adds: This really is a pretty amazing little program; I tested it with my PowerBook sitting next to my G5, and it works exactly as described. The only problem I had was when I wanted to capture the screenshot of the controlling icon you see above. I used Grab and a 10-second delay, and after Grab took the shot, the mouse control had moved back to the main machine, and I couldn't get back to the PowerBook -- deactivating and reactivating Teleport, though, fixed the problem.]
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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: spacehaven on Feb 18, '04 11:46:57AM
A similar utility exists for using external X-Windows terminals, called OSX2X. I wonder how well these two would play together...

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: phoomp on Feb 18, '04 12:35:29PM

I came across this app, MaxiVista ( that will turn a PC into a second monitor for a primary PC, connected through a network. Nice way to turn an old/too slow laptop into a second display.

I wonder if Teleport could be evolved into doing something similar in OSX?

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: readparse on Mar 18, '04 10:21:43AM
According to a press release, an OS X version will be released "within Q1/2004". I should note that it's now the middle of March, and Q1/2004 will end in the next two weeks.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: cargoplex on Jan 18, '06 07:53:36AM

Has anyone found any program like Maxvista for OS X? None of the remote desktop apps share monitors :-(

The world sounds better through headphones.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: srsr on Feb 18, '04 12:41:00PM

The osx2x v2 is also capable of VNC.
I'm using osx2x in a 3-5 system environment with MacOS X, Linux/X/KDE, BSD/X/KDE-or-Windowmaker and Windows.

Normally I've a Debian GNU/Linux Workstation/Server with X 4 and KDE 3 sitting left next to a dual-screen setup on a G5 and right to that is a PC Notebook running Debian or Windows.

With osx2x I can use all 4 screens on three different operating Systems with the keyboard and the mouse on the mac. I can run with the mouse from east to west and west to east through all 4 monitors/screens.

On the Debian Desktop I'm running x0rfbserver which exports the current X11 Display to VNC, on Windows I'm running VNCServer.
osx2x is running on the G5 in the center of course.

For a test setup I also connected a FreeBSD machine with X 4 and KDE 3, running the native KDE krfb server and an OpenBSD with X 4 and Windowmaker machine just exporting X via xhost. So I could control 6 screens/monitors on 5 machines with 5 different operating System und 5 different X/VNX access methods with one mouse and one keyboard. Mouse directions seen from the center G5 are in that case: west (Debian), north (FreeBSD), east (Windows), south (OpenBSD). However the KDE-native krfb and the xhost export do not work as well, as x0rfbserver and Windows' VNCServer.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: Argent on Feb 18, '04 12:50:04PM

Wow! That sounds really amazing! Do you have a picture of your setup?

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: grossman on Feb 18, '04 12:54:35PM

Wow, both of these apps are so cool! Teleport is ultra-simple to set up, and osx2x looks powerful, although harder to configure. I have been looking for a solution to this for a long time. Thanks! What I really do want, though, is a way to use the monitor on the second computer as a 2nd monitor for the main computer, while still letting the "slave computer" run (as a webserver, etc.). It doesn't seem like anybody has solved that problem yet.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: srsr on Feb 18, '04 01:10:40PM

The only way that could work which comes to my mind is with X11.
On the master machine you can create two different X displays (:0 and :1 for example). You import :1 now on the slave machine and use x2x to share the mouse between both. However that would not allow a true Dual-Screen setup because just moving a window between these two screens should not be possible. Another drawback is that remote-X can be slow via network, sometimes even Fast Ethernet. On the other hand all applications would run on the master machine and with it's speed, sound, and whatever.

Another solution with X11 would be to run a native X server on the slave and import only some X-Applications from the master via ssh -X forward.
That's the way I use this feature at my workplace sometimes.

As far as I know Aqua and the Windows-GUI are not designed for network transparency and portability (contrary to X11) and thus even VNC can not deliver that service.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: grossman on Feb 20, '04 09:02:32PM

After Teleport got a little buggy on me (it would just stop working for no reason until I went back into the System Prefs pane and started it again...), I started using osx2x, which is awesome, except that the key mappings seem off. The Apple key doesn't work (although when I use a traditional VNC viewer like Chicken of the VNC, it works fine), and some other punctuation keys are wrong (the question mark and vertical line | keys are reversed, for example). Any advice?

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: LouieNet on Mar 04, '04 01:33:48PM

I've also run into the same problem with the kep-mapping, especially with the question mark and the vertical bar being reversed. Advice?

G4 cube, 1152M RAM, OS X Server 10.2.8
17" Powerbook G4, 1G RAM, OS X 10.2.8

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: LouieNet on Feb 24, '04 01:02:12PM
srsr wrote:
on Windows I'm running VNCServer

Thanks! This is working great for me at work!

I do have one question: How do I send a control-alt-delete to my Windows machine from my PowerBook? I tried control-option-delete and fn-control-option-delete. I can't find mention of that on the online doc.

(In contrast, Chicken of the VNC and other VNC viewers normally have a "Send Ctl-Alt-Del" menu option.)


G4 cube, 1152M RAM, OS X Server 10.2.8
17" Powerbook G4, 1G RAM, OS X 10.2.8

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: tgunr on Feb 18, '04 01:29:52PM

OK, I'm stupid! I installed the pref panel, how do I drag something into the 'Controllable Hosts' area? I have my other machine mounted via AFP and NFS, dragging the host icon does nothing,

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: Faux Plastic on Feb 18, '04 02:43:01PM

You have to install the preference pane on both computers and activate it on both.

Also, I have been messing around with Teleport for a couple of weeks and have found that it is very unstable if you are a USB Overdrive user, as I am.

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I can't get it to work either.
Authored by: BrunoUsesBBEdit on Mar 11, '04 06:57:43AM

I don't know if it is supposed to be so easy that no documentation is necessary. But it ain't! Installed the PrefPane on both machines. All checkboxes checked. No "Controlable hosts"

What the heck? Some instruction please! I know it's in beta, but I do I beta that?


--==<< B r u n o >>==--

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: dansroka on Feb 18, '04 01:33:06PM

Amazing. This is one of those "how did I live without it" tools. Suprisingly elegant and natural feeling.

Now, when I drop my laptop next to my desktop Mac, I don't have to hurt my back and wrists straining to switch between the two mice and keyboards.

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: arch_bishop on Feb 18, '04 04:21:26PM

I have found a small problem with teleport:
whenever I'm on the slave computer and I hit cmd-opt-d to hide the dock or ctrl-d or ctrl-m to a access the dock or menu bar teleport does the action on the master computer not the slave.

just a heads up

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Authored by: rufo on Feb 18, '04 05:07:55PM

You know, as much flask as I'm going to get for this I would kill for a version of this that worked with Windows. (e.g., I have a Windows boxen that unfortunately I must develop on - it would be awesome if I could work on the windows box and then just slide the cursor over to the Mac. I have RDC, which kinda sorta lets me do that from the Mac host, but it would be great to do it from a Windows-hosted type thing.)

That, and I would've killed for this years ago when I had a PB 1400 and my old Performa 6205. I even tried to write this, but my C skills just weren't anywhere near what they needed to be.

Ah well, yet another attempt at fame and fortune gone forever. :D

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Authored by: ChiefTypist on Feb 18, '04 05:55:34PM

I totally agree -- being able to type & click on a Windows PC without switching keyboards would be awesome.

It's not totally out of the question either -- as long as you can get the UDP packets from your Mac over to the target (controllable host) and feed them to a Win32 API (or USB driver) you'd be set.

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This should do it
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 18, '04 06:11:58PM

As I understand it, this shareware should be able to do it:

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Authored by: andhi on Feb 18, '04 06:15:39PM

KMremoteControl enables you to operate/"remote control" all the PC/Windows and/or Mac OS X systems from the keyboard and mouse on one of those systems. If you have multiple such computer systems on your desk, KMremoteControl:
enables you to operate all the systems from the keyboard and mouse on one of those systems (especially useful for laptop users)

(for registration of this shareware program every single computer has to be connected to the internet)

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Windows Solution - check out win2vnc
Authored by: crobertson on Feb 18, '04 08:29:09PM
I'm doing just that right now! It took me ages to find a solution, but the one I stumbled across is doing the trick. I had anonymously submitted my setup as a hint a month or two ago, but it never showed up on the boards. Anyway, here's my original post:
I have a Windows 2000 desktop computer and an iBook at home, and for the longest time I was trying to find a cross-platform solution to share my mouse and keyboard between the computers. I didn't want to use a KVM switch because I want to be able to instantly switch computers. But I only want to use one keyboard and mouse!

I first became aware of software for Windows called Desktop Rover by Neslo Software. I started searching for Mac software, and found the open source project iROS. Despite its rough edges, it's brilliant in that it uses Rendezvous to discover other Macs and establish the connection. Unfortunately, the Mac version doesn't currently work with the Windows version.

I finally found my solution in a piece of software called Win2VNC for Windows. It sets up a VNC link to another computer, but doesn't open a window on the Windows PC. Instead, the mouse pointer simply moves over to the Mac's screen. Of course, on the Mac side one needs to be running a VNC server. The Share My Desktop application does a great job. Just make sure that the firewall has the correct ports open. I believe ports 5800 and 5900 both must be open if you are sharing as screen 0.

So the process to start sharing is straightforward:

  1. Start up Share My Desktop
  2. Click on the 'Start Sharing' button
  3. Run Win2VNC on the PC, typing in the IP address of the Mac and the password
  4. Voila! You are connected. Change the connection options on Win2VNC to 'Swap mouse buttons 2 and 3' and set the Direction to suit your setup.

The solution is not ideal, but it does let me have my CRT monitor display my Windows desktop and my iBook LCD show the Mac desktop while using a single mouse and keyboard. The copy and paste mechanism only works for me when I copy text in Windows and paste on the Mac. Win2VNC also seems to get confused in multi-monitor situations. In that case I set the direction to be 'North' off of the primary monitor and it works reasonably well.

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Mac to Windows - for free
Authored by: bhaveshp on Feb 19, '04 03:12:50AM

I submitted this tip to MacWindows a few weeks back - works great for me!

I've got a dual-headed desktop, though one is my G4 and the other is my Dell. Until today I've had two keyboards and mice on the desk to control each machine.

Today I saw osx2x mentioned on MacInTouch. This free software allows you to use a single Keyboard/Mouse with multiple machines over a network connection - either X Window (unix/linux) or VNC (Windows).

So I installed VNC server on my Dell and osx2x on my G4. Now when I roll the Mac mouse off the left edge of my Mac Display, the mouse rolls over onto my PC display. Keyboard control follows.

Very slick and no KVM needed!

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Authored by: jmike on Mar 13, '05 06:23:01PM

I'm using synergy ( between two Macs, but others in my office are using it between two Windows machines and it's supposed to support Linux as well. It's Open Source, but the UI, at least on the Mac version is limited to config files, so it's a bit of a chore to set up initially.

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How are the two macs connected?
Authored by: macubergeek on Feb 18, '04 09:55:31PM

Ok How are the two macs connected? via ethernet thru a switch/hub?

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re How are the macs connected? etc.
Authored by: Lunatic Prods on Feb 19, '04 07:29:59AM

As the poster of this hint, my two Macs are connected via Airport . . . so, yes, there needs to be a network connection of some sort between them. Teleport uses Rendezvous . . .

It's also worth pointing out that I've been in touch with the author of Teleport and he is well aware of several issues that don't yet work fully - e.g. modifier keys don't necessarily function on the teleported Mac, keyboard volume keys only affect the host not the teleported Mac, and the connection can sometimes stall (this may be because one of my Macs is still running 10.2.8 - see list of known issues at - and is working on them.

I'm looking forward to the next version of this . . .

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: bluehz on Feb 19, '04 12:12:52AM

I am trying this and all I get is the "Requesting Authentication on host..." dialog, but I never get a dialog on the other machine to accept it. Is there some port that needs to be open - other than the usual Rendezvous setup?

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Use a software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: bluehz on Feb 19, '04 12:48:42AM

Seems to need a UDP port range opened on the 2nd machine. The one you are controlling. Watching the logs I see this when trying to access via Teleport:

Feb 19 00:19:49 ibook kernel: ipfw: 52009 Deny UDP in via en2

This is no problem if you are using the standard OS X Firewall, but if you have a customized firewall or use something like FirewalkX or Brickhouse you will need to open up some ports. Not sure which single port needs to be opened - I tried a range of highports and it worked. If anyone can narrow this down - that might be helpful.

After opening the ports - seems to work great!

EDIT: It appears at least for me - opening UDP port 44176 on the machine I want to control works.

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Can't get this to work
Authored by: A. Square on Feb 19, '04 09:45:11AM

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't get any hosts to show up... I have activated both computers and checked "Share this Mac" on at least one of them... other rendezvous services work between the two computers. Any ideas?

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Authored by: dan55304 on Feb 19, '04 10:48:02AM

What is the aversion to using a product like Timbuktu, cost? I use that with clients for window sharing and control.

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Authored by: robg on Feb 19, '04 10:59:49AM

No aversion at all; I often use VNC when I want control. But it's sloooow. This is the full power of the main machine, and it means you can use the laptop without sitting at a weird angle; just a glance left at the screen ...


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Authored by: dfbills on Feb 19, '04 08:12:02PM

This is as fast as having the mouse and keyboard connected directly to the "extra" computer and very cool.

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Cross-platform software-only keyboard/mouse 'switchbox'
Authored by: aMacUzur on Feb 20, '04 05:01:29AM
The most mature of these kind of programs is KMremoteControl (

KMremoteControl also supports both Macs and PCs so you can use your Mac to control your PC or vice versa!

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How to Set Up
Authored by: skirtley on Feb 22, '04 05:20:55PM
I Love It !!!

I have tried teleport but it is still a little buggy because it is Beta. Will Use it when it becomes Stable.
osx2x works Great also. within a couple of seconds I installed RealVNC on a PC and was able to Connect without any problems.

But I do not know how to Setup the X11 on OSX so that I can control other Macs. Any Suggestions?

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How to Set Up - VNC OSX
Authored by: skirtley on Feb 22, '04 06:12:35PM
I could not connect to the X11 Windows (possibly due to Firewall : what ports should I enable?)

So I found OSXvnc OSXvnc


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