Keyboard, Video and Mouse (KVM) switches (as a hardware device) have been around for over 20 years, and were used to control multiple computers from a single keyboard, mouse and display. These are still widely use in datacenters to control multiple servers but aren’t that ubiquitous for home use.
I am far more effective on a full-sized keyboard and mouse than I am typing on a cramped laptop keyboard. This is especially trying with the two systems I’m working with presently as they both have function (Fn) buttons, but are in different places.
I could hook up two sets of keyboards and mice, but that would take up a lot more of my desk space, and may not be ideal for many scenarios, particularly when I’m working out of a cubicle from a client site.
I’d been looking for a way to manage multiple systems, but many of the ones I looked at that were advertised as ‘free’ turned out to be nagware, or key features were locked behind a pay wall. After reading an article on raymond.cc, I settled on “Microsoft’s Mouse Without Borders”.
- It’s free.
- It’s relatively simple to install and configure.
- Where it works, it works great!
It doesn’t play nice with VPNs as others have observed. There are ways around this which may or may not work depending on your VPN settings and whether or you’re able to make changes to them.
If you’re managing 4 or fewer computers and don’t require a hardware KVM, I suggest giving it a try! I’ve placed a link on my tools page.
A colleague of mine reported an issue with Skype for Business where he was unable to either share his screen (or application or PowerPoint presentation), nor could others share their screens with him.
From the user’s side, clicking on the Present button allowed him to toggle what he wanted to share, which would appear to work – the border indicated “connecting” while the recipient(s) waited for the presentation to begin. After 30-40 seconds, the presentation error (…”the invitation has expired”) and time out.
If you encounter this issue, you can try the following registry hack, which worked for me:
- Open Regedit as an administrator
- Navigate to:
- Add the following DWORD and value:
- Reboot for the changes to take effect.
You can find more information about MaxUserPort and other TCP/IP registry settings here. This issue seems to be newly introduced with Windows 10 version 1809.
It’s not often something changes for the better, but I’m always pleased when they do!
Once again, I’ve found myself tasked with attaining Microsoft Gold level partnership for my employer. For those who have never had the pleasure, the process consists of attaining a combination of competencies (associated certified professionals, tested products etc.), customer references and the dreaded CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) survey.
In the past, the CSAT consisted of 30 questions, many of which applied to Microsoft product resale, which isn’t applicable to many would-be partners.While questions could be added (though I can’t imagine why anyone would want to), none could be removed.
Since then (about April of 2013 or so), the survey was reduced to only 5 questions that actually pertain to customer satisfaction – imagine that!
It’s hard enough asking for a customer’s time to fill out a survey, but if I must, I’d prefer it be short and to the point. I believe this iteration of the CSAT does just that.
So why the change? Did someone at Microsoft read my 2009 rant on the subject and act accordingly? Doubtful, but it’s a nice thought anyway :). Regardless, I’m happy it did, and hope this trend continues!
NOTE: This post was written in July of 2009, and the information herein may be outdated/no longer applicable. I’ve elected to preserve the post here for posterity.
As of October 2009, Microsoft is requiring all of its Gold-level Partners to participate in a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSAT) Survey:
“Effective October 2009, partners re-enrolling at the Gold Certified level will need to have participated in at least one CSAT Index survey prior to re-enrolling, and receive ten or more survey responses (up to eight responses can be from the same customer organization).”
In my case, my employer is an ISV that develops web-based applications for use on a Microsoft platform (IIS/.NET/SQL Server etc), but don’t actually resell Microsoft products. This requirement is big headache for us for a number of reasons:
- Most of the questions are geared toward resellers, and won’t apply to ISVs (e.g. “…Assuming [Company Name]’s performance remains the same as it is now, do you expect your company’s future purchase levels from [Company Name] will be…”)
- The questionnaire is around 30 questions long, and can’t be shortened! You can only add additional questions.
- The partner points you can earn for these surveys are negligible (as little as 2 points for 10-19 responses, as much as 20 points for 200+ responses).
After several weeks of exchanges with various Microsoft representatives, I was finally told that although participation is mandatory for Gold Certified partners, incomplete surveys would still count toward the requirement if inapplicable questions were left unanswered (specifically, questions 14 and 15 as those pertain to sales performance).
I hope this helps someone else out there who might find themselves in a similar predicament!