Discover How to Operate Two Computers with a Single Mouse

It’s a scenario that many individuals encounter when working with a laptop and a desktop PC simultaneously. If you find yourself using both devices at your desk, you have likely experienced the frustration of moving your mouse between the two and realizing that your laptop is not responding. Fortunately, there’s a solution thanks to Mouse Without Borders.

This useful PowerToys utility provides the capability to operate multiple computers using a single mouse. If you’ve ever utilized a multi-monitor setup, you already have an inkling of what to expect. With Mouse Without Borders, you can seamlessly move your mouse cursor from the edge of one computer’s desktop to the other. However, this remarkable utility offers much more, as you’re about to discover.

Steps

  • Install PowerToys on two computers
  • Configure security key
  • Establish a connection
  • Share your mouse

Tools and Requirements

  • Windows 10 or 11
  • Microsoft PowerToys

Step by step guide

1. Enabling Mouse Without Borders

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

After installing PowerToys from the Microsoft Store or GitHub, ensure that Mouse Without Border is enabled. You can achieve this by opening the primary PowerToys app, navigating to the Dashboard section, and enabling the Mouse Without Borders toggle there. Alternatively, you can directly access the Mouse Without Borders section of PowerToys and toggle the Enable Keyboard Manager to the On position. This process should be repeated on both computers you intend to control with a single mouse.

2. Create a security key

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

In this guide, we are working with two computers – a Windows 11 machine in dark mode (the first computer) and a Windows 10 machine in light mode (the second computer). On the first machine, within the Mouse Without Borders section of PowerToys, you should find the Encryption key heading. Click the New key button to generate a security key, and take note of this along with the name under Host name of this device.

3. Establish a connection

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

Shift to your second computer and locate the Encryption key heading in the Mouse Without Borders section of PowerToys. Click the Connect button or the down arrow next to it. In the Security key box, enter the code generated on the first computer, and type the host name in the Device name field. Double-check the accuracy of the input and then click Connect.

4. Configure your layout

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

You can modify settings on either of your computers to reflect the relative positioning of the two machines. Look to the Device layout section where you will encounter four boxes, two of which display the names of your two computers. You can drag and drop these icons into the correct positions so that the leftmost box indicates the computer positioned on the left on your desk. Once correctly configured, your mouse can seamlessly move off the edge of one computer’s screen and appear on the other machine’s display.

5. Configuring additional options

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

The capability to move your mouse between two computers is exceptionally practical, but Mouse Without Borders offers even more. Scroll down to the Behavior section to find a series of toggles for enabling or disabling various additional features. Of special interest is the Share clipboard option, which allows you to copy text, images, or files on one computer and paste them onto the other. This copying and pasting can be accomplished using either your mouse or keyboard, and the machine under your mouse cursor is considered the active one.

6. Keyboard shortcuts

(Image: © Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson)

There are various keyboard shortcuts that further enhance the efficiency of Mouse Without Borders. You can explore a list of controllable features via keyboard in the Keyboard shortcuts section. The various shortcuts are largely self-explanatory, but some are particularly useful, such as the option to lock all machines, quickly switch between computers, or enable simultaneous control. If you find the defaults unsatisfactory, you can customize any of the shortcuts by clicking the pencil icon.

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