Troubleshooting Synergy ‘cannot read configuration’ error

Jun 14, 2010 - 3 Comments

If you’re having Synergy ‘cannot read configuration’ error problems, try the following:
* Get the latest version of Synergy KM from SourceForge
* Be sure the clients have the latest version of Synergy installed too (it’s pretty old for Windows clients, but works)
* Create a new ‘Location’ and re-add your server, screens, clients, in the order you desire.
* Pay attention to special characters and spaces, don’t use them in the synergy screen names. “ScreenName” is better than “Screen Name”
* Launch Synergy server and connect with clients

Now here’s the full explanation if you’re interested…

synergy mac and pc setup I recently added an external display on my Mac and as a result I had to adjust Synergy’s server configuration to know where to place my Mac, the new external screen, and my PC. (For those that don’t know, Synergy is a great utility that allows you to share a single mouse and keyboard across multiple machines, regardless of their platform. Mac OS, Windows, and Linux are supported). This sounds simple enough, so I just added a new screen name for my new LCD in the Synergy control panel, and clicked “Apply” – unfortunately that didn’t work, I got several errors and Synergy wouldn’t start:

ERROR: cannot read configuration "/var/tmp/synergy-A38198/

Was the first error, so I went and deleted the tmp files and tried again, to get a new error:

ERROR: cannot read configuration "/var/folders/iO/

I deleted those, and then got the first error again. Hmm, ok then. So what to do? I’ll just recreate the configuration, right?

I installed the newest Synergy KM, you can get the latest version of Synergy KM from SourceForge. I installed that and then entered into the “Server Configuration” tab in the Synergy KM panel. Created a “New Location” and added all my screens again, then started the synergy server. The server launched OK but was now throwing different configuration errors and wouldn’t let clients connect. Odd. So I re-added the screens again but just on a hunch I removed a space that I had in a screen name from “External Monitor” to “ExternalMonitor”, started the server again, and guess what? Everything worked. I thought this was really strange, but I’m guessing that for some reason the space in the screen name was causing Synergy to have difficulty in reading the configuration file. Dashes (-) seem to work fine, but spaces were problematic. I don’t have a ton of explanation for this because I’ve used spaces many times in names, but nonetheless that seemed to do the trick.


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Posted by: David Mendez in Troubleshooting


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  1. Great stuff. The space in the name did it!

  2. Michael Rose says:

    Thanks for this post. A quick Google and you gave me the confidence to reset my config and get it running again. Now have three screens Mac and Linux all working beautifully. Thank you.

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