This probably isn't possible, but I thought I should ask just incase I'm wrong. Is it possible to connect 2 or more laptops together and drag files/folders from one screen to the other as if you were using a dual/triple/quad head graphics card on a single computer?

I'm using Ubuntu 10.04.

  • Basically, I have "inhereted" 4 ok speced laptops, and thought it would be nice to get these to act as 1 big desktop instead of spending hundreds or thousands on a new quadhead pc. Also I've seen a huge productivity increase with 2 monitors at work, and thought it would be nice to have the same increase at home. Feb 10, 2012 at 9:37
  • I just wanted to chime in with a "Me Too". I normally use my laptop, which has a teensy 1366x768 display, with 4 external 24" 1920x1200 monitors, using USB display adapters. But when I am travelling I am restricted to the teensy 1366x768 display, which I find too small to get any real coding done. I would love to be able to travel with a second laptop with a big screen, that I could use as an external monitor.
    – Krazy Glew
    Nov 7, 2012 at 6:16

3 Answers 3


Synergy comes close by letting your mouse pointer cross monitor and machine boundaries. Not sure if there's a way for drag-and-drop'ing files...(I faintly remember some support in synergy, though...could be wrong Edit: I am wrong.)

You could just use a shared folder, I suppose.

  • Shared folders wouldn't be enough, I would want to be able to move files, folders, and even program windows across multiple windows. For example, if I open up a webbrowser to debugging, and have netbeans showing the code, I would like to step though the code on 1 screen and show the application being debugged on the other screen. Feb 10, 2012 at 9:42
  • 3
    I'm afraid it's impossible to move program windows across X11 server boundaries. Also energy-consumption-wise this is kind of insane. (One "virtual" workstation made up of four laptops, please don't.)
    – sr_
    Feb 10, 2012 at 9:49
  • @sr_ I think the power consumption argument is quite an exaggeration. A laptop consumes about 100W, a monitor consumes up to about the same depending on age. A modern desktop computer consumes between 250W and say 500W depending on spec. Add that all together and it is likely to consume less using multiple laptops compared to the same number of screens and a desktop machine - e.g. my own 3 screen setup consumes approx 466W (400 + 3x22), more than the power consumption of 3 laptops.
    – AD7six
    Feb 13, 2012 at 9:44
  • @AD7six: I have to admit that I've never checked the math. It's just the intuition linked to the thought of going to my work desk and starting up four computers that made me say that. Having in mind that laptops are designed to be power-efficient, there might be a case for your setup. (In the end it might be question of energy vs. productivity compared to using, say, one desktop and virtual workspaces.)
    – sr_
    Feb 13, 2012 at 13:18
  • 1
    Just remember that PSU rating ≠ power consumption. Unless you have your setup on a PDU with an ammeter (or a simple passive ammeter), it'd be difficult to get exact readings. A well-chosen green PSU for a well-chosen desktop workstation with two well-chosen monitors may have a better CO2 footprint than a bunch of laptops. Or worse. It's worth checking the actual consumption of the particular setup.
    – Alexios
    Apr 2, 2012 at 10:38

If I would have to do the same thing, I would have done in this way:

Step 1:

First of all, you have to configure both the laptops in the same network. So, make the following configuration:

Laptop 1 : Ip Address: Netmask : Gateway :

Laptop 2 : Ip Address: Netmask : Gateway :

Note: Gateway of Laptop 1 is the Laptop 2 & Gateway of Laptop 2 is the Laptop 1.

Step 2:

Check the connectivity between the two by using ping utility.

Step 3:

On one of the machine (which you want to make as ssh server or from which you want to transfer file/folder to other machine), install openssh by using the following command:

$ apt-get install openssh-server

Step 4:

Run the following command in the other laptop where you want to transfer the folder/file.

$ scp -r [email protected]:/path/folder /home/user/.

Note: Here -r option is used to copy the folder recursively meaning copying every file inside the folder.


You can use for example x2vnc or x2x

Which will allow you to use the screen of another computer as an extension to your main computer. Though, each machine and screen will remain separate.

  • 1
    I don't think this acts as true dual screens, looks like just the pointer is able to move across the screens. Feb 10, 2012 at 9:41
  • well done for reading the answer ;)
    – AD7six
    Feb 10, 2012 at 9:44

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