Mouse without Borders and a VPN

When I'm working from home, I like to make use of the keyboard and mouse I normally use for my home super computer with my work laptop. Rather than unplug them from one machine to plug into the other, I use Mouse Without Borders.

Mouse Without Borders is awesome. It seamlessly integrates between the machines (with some customization options), allowing me to use both computers at the same time from the same keyboard and mouse, including clipboard and file drag-and-drop. I won't go into details on Mouse Without Borders, suffice to say that it is really rather lovely1.

However, I was having issues when working from home when it would just stop working. Both machines would report everything was fine and it seemed configured properly, yet the mouse would stop at the edge of one screen and no longer move other to the other. It was perplexing and annoying and I had no idea what was going on.

Then it hit me: I was using the work VPN. Mouse Without Borders uses the network to communicate between machines, so I quickly checked the Mouse Without Borders settings on my work laptop. There I discovered that it had switched over to the VPN.

Settings dialog for changing network binding in Mouse without Borders
Changing network binding in Mouse without Borders

I don't know idea why Mouse Without Borders does this on detecting my VPN IP address, but a quick change in the handy drop down fixes everything. Unfortunately, I appear to have to do this every time I use my VPN, but at least I now know what the heck is going on. Hopefully this will be helpful should you encounter the same issue.

  1. Amusing aside, while typing this on my home desktop, the wife brought me a lovely cup of tea and knocked the mouse over to my work laptop, stalling my blogging for a moment. I guess Mouse Without Borders has its downsides. 

2 thoughts on “Mouse without Borders and a VPN”

  1. I tried to post this on the project page but it wasn't accepting new comments, and a lot of other articles had their comments section closed, but looks like yours is still open.

    I got this to work with Cisco VPN without any manual workarounds, my solution and explanation are posted below, will keep testing this week to make sure it's a permanent fix:


    I can't believe I just found this tool as I was using Input Director for years but once Win 8.1 came out it didn't quite work so well with my setup, nor Synergy. o have been using extra keyboard and mouse the past year. 🙁

    Anyway I read about 20 posts with people having issues once they connected to VPN, and none of those solutions worked, but luckily found this post which describes what happens in a lot of VPNs.

    Basically your VPN server can override the client and blow up all kinds of local client settings (default gateway, routing tables, local LAN access). I guess the idea is by default you probably don't want some unknown network connecting in to your corporate network.

    Anyway, the solution was to download Shrew Soft's VPN client, then import the Cisco settings into that. The Cisco settings are in a .pcf file. Shrew Soft seems to be a lot more local LAN friendly so you can still talk to your local LAN while connected to your corporate LAN through the VPN

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