For those of you that aren’t familiar with Synergy, it is a very essential server/client tool for anyone using multiple computers at their desk. It eliminates the need to have multiple keyboards and mice on your desk, while virtually extending your desktop across Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. You still connect your monitors to the varying computers. I’ve seen seamless Quad-monitor (Three different OSes: WinXP, WinVista with dual monitors, OSX) setups using this program.
This post won’t outline how to use Synergy, but rather just how to take care of the little things that will keep it from being a good experience on Windows Vista/7. I’m writing the rest of this post for those that are already familiar with Synergy, and instructions are targeted at Windows 7 Professional users.
Anyways, I was running into problems with my Synergy client on my home-office setup. I have a laptop docked with a second monitor for my office computer (operating as the Synergy client), and then a single monitor rig in portrait-orientation for my home computer (operating as the Synergy server). I use Display Fusion, which runs as an administrator-level service on my desktop, and I use the multi-monitor taskbar available on the paid version of the software. I was unable to use the Synerg-ized mouse to select a window on that Display Fusion taskbar, and considering that was my 24” monitor where a lot of my work takes place it would be a huge problem if the laptop didn’t have a keyboard. On top of that, every time the client computer would prompt for UAC approval for various things, I would lose the ability to use my G5 mouse and G15 keyboard on my office laptop.
I knew you could auto-elevate privileges, but just hadn’t taken the time to do it. Let’s get that out of the way, as that’s the first thing I noticed in the problems I was having.
Step 1. Open secpol.msc
Step 2. Set UAC Behavior for Administrators to ‘Elevate without prompting’
Next up is configuring Synergy to run as Administrator. I want to note that this was my initial guess as to why it wasn’t allowing me to Auto-start on computer start, however even after forcing it to run as Administrator and installing the Auto-start service, it still wasn’t working. I found out this is due to the way the System user interacts (or rather doesn’t) with the user’s desktop.
Step 3. Run Synergy as Administrator.
Right click on the shortcut for Synergy, and click the Advanced… button. Check the “Run as administrator” box.
Step 4. Auto-start Synergy on Log-in
Step 5. Start Synergy!
Follow these steps on both the server and client if they’re both Windows 7 machines, it’s just that simple.