PuTTY SSH + default pointer + rdesktop = where is my mouse?

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Leeland's picture

I work on a beefy Linux box with multiple desktops & monitors. I also have a windows laptop to do office junk and some testing. If my computers are side by side things are pretty sweet and I use Synergyc / Synergy2 (http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/) to make all my monitors flow together.

But, I also have another beefy Linux development box in a shared team space where again I have multiple desktops & monitors. No problem I just use rdesktop (http://www.rdesktop.org/)to make one of the monitors turn into my windows screen. All is fine in the world.

Until I need to use SSH from my windows box (it has access to some things that are not on the Linux network). When I run PuTTY (a window ssh client) through an rdesktop connection my mouse pointer turns from the nice white arrow I use to a black I inside my PuTTY windows. Normally not a big deal, except that I prefer color schemes which have near black, or very dark backgrounds, essentially rendering the mouse pointer invisible. So to find it I have to move it around a lot or selection some text to find it.

Wasn't sure if this was because of rdesktop graphic handling or something else. But I was pretty sure it was related since when directly on the Windows box the I-beam pointer turned white. So it had something to do with the interactions of PuTTY and rdesktop.

Naturally this eventually drove me nuts. (Officially this happened about 20 minutes before I wrote this. I wanted to paste some shell script stuff into a PuTTY session and it went... well never mind where it went, it was bad.) So annoyance became a real menace that demanded to be crushed under the totalitarian control I wield over my domains. I alone will decide the fate of the bits in my systems. And this was a challenge to my authority.

A little poking at the mouse settings fixed it. A little more research into why it happened explained it. Turns out PuTTY uses "Text Select" pointer for all things within its borders. But it does set some internal color bits on the pointer when it does this. This is not a bug, just a surprising interaction for which there is no real way for PuTTY to know what it should do. The solution is to alter the "Text Select" pointer (Control Panel->Mouse->Pointers->Text Select) to a bit-map image, problem solved. There are actually a number of already provided images for this all called beam_XX.cur, I chose beam_rm.cur as it was nice and thick and had a white outline built in. Problem solved, order restored and I can see my mouse pointer in PuTTY when working via rdesktop.

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