multiple monitors with software.

An alternative to my previous post, is some software, MaxiVista, that I was given an evaluation copy for review purposes. This $50 software runs on the master pc and makes the master pc (server) think it has extra monitors. Client software is then installed on slave machines and the desktop is then mirrored or extended to these extra machines…….

I’ve had the software for a month but not had that much chance to use it due to limited time and limited availability of hardware. However, I had been doing some work where I needed to remote desktop into three servers and still have access to my own desktop at the same time. I had a workbench machine, which i’ve been playing around with and my laptop so I set both of these machines up as slave pc’s, and then ran the software on my desktop pc (a 500mhz pc with 256mb ram). I was then able to drag and drop the windows from the desktop pc to the other windows and continue to use the mouse and keyboard to control them all at once. So my plain 2 screen pc had now become 4!
The client app basically runs in a full screen window, hiding the desktop of the real machine. This is handy in some respects as all you need is a click of the mouse on the real pc and you get instant control back to the proper desktop (a pain if you have someone who fiddles with the mouse when you are trying to set it up or demo it!)

The speed of the software is very fast and a video was played stretched across all 3 pc’s at the same time with no obvious slowdown in speed or performance – I was very impressed. I was running on a 100mb switch to two of the machines and a 10mb switch to the other and the slower cable didn’t seem to make any difference although I’ve not tried this on dialup yet!

In fact if you look at the demo video on the website I think you see 9 slave windows running at once, also see the
extension video
As you can also mirror your desktop to multiple machines you could also use it to control or send presentations out in a classroom/training environment.

On a practical note of increasing your deskspace, this is a very poor way of doing it – ok you only need to purchase one copy of the software, but you also need to have all those extra machines on your desk. If you were using this functionality all the time I think you would be better using multiple graphic cards in your pc, but then again not many pc’s have that many free slots.
This software also gives you the flexibility to use any pc as a client, when you like.

This software is great when you just need to extend your desktop temporarily and have some spare machines you can put up on your desk, but if you had machines permanently on your desk I think i’d rather have 3 individual desktops with their software configured and have a kvm of some description, however maxvista means you only need to install one desktop and only need one licence for the software. (You’d need an os on each machine but if you installed linux you could run it under wine).