Stardock's Multiplicity allows Windows users to operate more than one PC at a time.

The $29 (£15), Vista-compatible Stardock Multiplicity, which works over your home network, enables you to control two PCs with one keyboard and mouse.

During setup, you designate one PC as the primary machine on your network, and it controls a second system (the $49 Pro version of Stardock Multiplicity lets you control up to six other systems). A 15-day free trial is also available.

Mouse movement works the same as in a dual-monitor setup, with the cursor travelling between two displays as if they were one. But with Stardock Multiplicity, you have full mouse and keyboard control over two PCs. This machine-switching mode worked well, although the mouse sometimes lagged between the two screens for a few seconds.

The two PCs share a clipboard - a handy tool for copying and pasting images or text between machines. Only the Pro version of Stardock Multiplicity lets you copy files and folders back and forth between computers, which is one of the program's best features.

Stardock Multiplicity: Specs

  • At least one monitor per computer and a TCP/IP network between machines is required
  • for use with Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista 32 and 64bit OSes supported
  • internet access required initially to install
  • At least one monitor per computer and a TCP/IP network between machines is required
  • for use with Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista 32 and 64bit OSes supported
  • internet access required initially to install

OUR VERDICT

The low-cost Stardock Multiplicity is easy to set up and use, but the basic version lacks file and folder copying, and we found that the cursor sometimes lags between monitors.

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