Using Barrier to Control Multiple Devices with One Keyboard and Mouse

As many of us moved to home office lately, I faced the challenge to get my different computers under control using only one mouse and keyboard. At my desk I have one laptop, one MacBook an iMac, and ocassionally a ThinkPad. Additionally they are running different operating systems. Some of you might already be aware of the former open source software Synergy which later got bought by Symless and converted into a properitary product. I’ve found that the properitary version got more and more unstable from release to release and that’s where Barrier, an open-source fork of Synergy Core, comes in.

What is Barrier?

Barrier is an open source fork of the former open source and now part-proprietary Software KVM solution Synergy that allows you to share a single keyboard, mouse and clipboard on several computers. Barrier works by running the server on the computer whereas the keyboard and mouse are connected and running the same app in clientmode on the other computers. Network connections are encrypted using SSL/TLS.

Download and set up Barrier

First, download and install Barrier from the developers’ installation page:

At the end of the installation, the application will start. Select the server option on your server (the server is the one that has the keyboard and mouse that you want to share).

Next select configure your server. Click on the computer screen icon in the top-right and drag it to wherever you want it to appear in relation to the server. By default it will be named ‘Unnamed’ but you should probably rename it to your clients hostnames (see my example)

Once you have Barrier installed on your server, it’s time to install it on your clients. This time, there isn’t much configuration to do. Simply tell Barrier that this system will be a client, and that’s it. If Barrier picks up a server on your network, it can configure itself to use it. Otherwise, enter the server’s IP into the clients UI.

That’s basically it! You can now use a single keyboard and mouse connected to just one PC to navigate around several computers on your local network at once and best of all, share one clipboard between them.