Input Director: control and share clipboards across multiple computers

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Input Director is a free program that enables two or more computers connected on a network to share a single mouse and keyboard input, allowing for dragging a mouse pointer across multiple screens.

This easy to set-up software also enables the sharing of clipboard contents, including copying/pasting files and folders across multiple computers.

If you work with multiple computers at once that are connected on a network it will in most cases make sense for you to control these computers through a single mouse/keyboard.

Input Director allows you to do just this, with the added advantage of sharing clipboard contents and freely transferring files and folders across computers as if they were in fact a single unit.

Input Director screenshot - crossing screens

Input Director is not the only freeware program to do this, but it may just be the simplest to set-up. Here are some notes on this program:

  • Control: once set up, you can control a the mouse pointer and/or cursor either by using the mouse and keyboard from the main “Master” computer as well as the mouse/keyboard on the individual computers themselves. It is possible to have the cursor wrap around in a 360 full circle style.
  • Clipboard: simply copy something into the clipboard on one computer, move the mouse to another app on another computer, and paste. If you want to be able to copy files and folders you will have to allow that first (it is turned off be default). Do this by going to “global preference” tabs on both computers and unchecking “exclude default C$ D$ shares for file copy pastes”.
  • Setting up: install on 2 computers or more running on the same network, then find the computer names for each (My Computer > Properties > Computer name tab). The info you want is under “full computer name” (including domain). For the master computer (the one whose mouse/keyboard you will use) go to the “Master configuration tab” on the Input Director interface and add the name of the slave computer(s) (click ’Add’ then enter the other computer’s name in the hostname). On the slave computer there are a number of ways to do this, but the simplest is to go to the “Slave configuration tab” and add the Master computer’s hostname under “Allow only the computers listed below to take control”.
  • Memory use: takes up a mere 2.5 megs in memory
  • Hotkey: you can configure a hotkey to instantly return the mouse/cursor to the master computer if needed, or next left or right system.
  • Macros: it is possible to record keystrokes and administer these to the master and or slaves. Did not try this personally.
  • Keys: it is possible to set the program such that it will only allow a transition from one system to the next if you are pressing a certain key on the keyboard.
  • Synchronisation: can synchronise locking of master/slave computers simultaneously, running of screensavers, and shutdown.
  • System tray: resides in the system tray for easy access.

Wish list:

  • The only thing I could think of is allowing for moving open windows from one computer screen to the next, which can be useful (and is in fact available in some paid software that does this sort of thing).

The verdict: a terrific program which you will instantly like. Two thing that distinguish this program from others are (a) the ease of getting it set up and operational, and (b) the low memory cost. I could also add (c) it works smoothly as intended.

Version Tested: 1.08

Compatibility: Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP (Service Pack 2) or Windows Vista. The systems must be networked.

Go to the Input Director home page to download the latest version (approx 1 meg).