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Toolkit Item: Mouse Without Borders

Mouse Without Borders is an excellent, free tool that can control up to four computers with a single keyboard and mouse. It is part of the Microsoft Garage, a project that encourages Microsoft employees to publish their own software.

About Microsoft Garage:

The Garage is a resource to Microsoft employees that supports and encourages problem solving in new and innovative ways, ultimately empowering people to achieve more. The Garage is a worldwide community of thousands of passionate employees who challenge convention, explore new technologies, and move their ideas forward.

The preceding quote appears on the Microsoft Garage home page.

Until yesterday, I’d been working with only a single laptop at my disposal. But yesterday I got another laptop, which I now use as my main machine. Right away, my first boot revealed a typical “first world” issue. I have too much stuff on my relatively small but nice and comfortable physical desk. Thus, I prefer to place the old laptop on a side-table a few feet away, connecting it to a big screen TV via HDMI. But that poses a new problem: I am then unable to to use its keyboard from my desk chair. In addition, I have a wireless keyboard and mouse that I would like to use with my new laptop, as well as my old one. What to do?

First World Issues: too many devices on small desk. Luckily, Mouse Without Borders comes to rescue!

As it turns out, the solution was quite simple: I downloaded Mouse Without Borders (download) from MS employee Truong Do. In two minutes I had set up both laptops to use a single shared wireless keyboard and mouse.

Working with the program couldn’t be simpler, either. I set PC icons in Mouse Without Borders to mirror how they are physically positioned. In my case, the old laptop is at the left, and the new one at the right. Here’s what what looks like in the program:

Now, whenever I move the mouse pointer over the left edge of the left-most display on my new laptop (PRO01 in screenshot), the mouse and keyboard are automatically attached to the old laptop (PRO02), and work without delay. When that situation is reversed, and I’m done on the old laptop, I simply move the pointer over the right edge of its right-most display, and that returns the mouse and keyboard to the new laptop. It’s like magic!

In addition, Mouse Without Borders comes with lots of options so you can customize the way you want to use it. Here’s a screen cap of its main Settings window:

All in all, I’ve only used Mouse Without Borders for just over 24 hours, and I am already sold! It is extremely lightweight (less than 20MB), and it’s also very fast and easy to use. This a tool that, once tried, cannot be replaced or dispensed with. Thus, it comes with my whole-hearted recommendation. Ed agrees that it deserves instant installation into the Win10.Guru Admin Toolkit. Grab a copy for yourself, too: you won’t be disappointed!


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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