Mouse without Borders “Connection timed out” and does not auto-connect at startup

Mouse without Borders is a Microsoft Garage product that lets you control up to four computers from a single mouse and keyboard. With Mouse without Borders (MwoB), you can copy text or drag and drop files across computers.

Sometimes, MwoB may not be able to establish a connection with the other computers — causing errors like “Connection timed out,” etc. This happens even though MwoB picks up the correct IP address of the other computer(s), whether or not you use the hostname-to-IP mapping option in that program.

mousewithoutborders connection timed out

In some cases, only the one-way connection (inbound or outbound) would work.

mousewithoutborders one-way connection only

As you can see in the above screenshot, the inbound connection is allowed, but the outbound connection to the other computer (e.g., OptiPlex 9020) is timed out.

The MwoB log (generated by right-clicking on the MwoB taskbar icon and clicking Generate log) would show these errors or similar:

tcpClient.Connect: 8814: A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond [::ffff:]:15101

tcpClient.Connect: Unable to connect after a timeout: OptiPlex-9020: : An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket [::ffff:]:15101
[251] The clipboard socket could have been closed. Not listening. You must call the Start() method before calling this method.

Due to the “connection timed out” error (one-way connection), Mouse without Border would fail to establish a connection to the other computer(s) automatically after every startup. To work around this issue, many users open the Mouse without Borders dashboard on the other computer (e.g., OptiPlex 9020) and click on the Apply button to establish the connection manually.

Clicking on the Apply button on the affected computers each time is not a viable option. This can be a big nuisance, especially when you have to manage 4 computers with the Mouse without Borders utility.

This article tells you how to fix the connectivity issues when using Mouse without Borders.


The “connection timed out” error (and the one-way connection issue, and the failure to auto-connect at startup) is most likely caused by the firewall configuration on the other computer(s). The firewall may be blocking the inbound connection silently. This issue can be resolved by creating an inbound firewall rule on the other computer (e.g., OptiPlex 9020).

By default, the Mouse without Borders setup process creates a firewall rule (Windows Firewall) for you. But if you’ve lately reset the Windows Firewall for some reason, the Mouse without Borders inbound connection rule would have been lost, leading to connectivity issues.


The fix for “connection timed out,”, failure of auto-connect during startup, and the one-way connection issues in Mouse without Borders is to create an inbound firewall rule on the computers to which the program is unable to establish a connection.

First, make sure that you have the latest version of Mouse without Borders installed. You can download the latest version of Mouse without Borders from Official Microsoft Download Center. If the problem(s) is unresolved, follow the steps below. Also, visit the Mouse without Borders official forum link at for more information.

Note: The following steps assume you’re using the built-in Windows Firewall. If you’re using a third-party firewall, check the respective product’s documentation to know how to create an inbound connection rule in that program.

Create a “Mouse without Borders” Inbound firewall rule

  1. Start the PC (e.g., OptiPlex-9020) which isn’t accepting the MwoB incoming connection.
  2. Launch the “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security” (wf.msc) snap-in via Start.
  3. Right-click on the Inbound Rules, and click New Rule…
  4. Select Program and click Next.
  5. Browse to select the MouseWithoutBorders.exe file. It’s usually located at:
    %ProgramFiles% (x86)\Microsoft Garage\Mouse without Borders\MouseWithoutBorders.exe

    (There are three executables used by Mouse without Borders, namely MouseWithoutBordersSvc.exe, MouseWithoutBordersHelper.exe, and MouseWithoutBorders.exe. But it’s the MouseWithoutBorders.exe application that listens on TCP ports 15100 and 15101. So, an inbound connection rule for MouseWithoutBorders.exe would suffice.)

  6. Click Next.
  7. Select Allow the connection.
  8. Select all the profiles (Domain, Private, and Public). Or, select only the item(s) for which you want to apply the new rule.
  9. Click Next.
  10. Type the name for this inbound connection rule — e.g. Mouse without Borders (incoming)
  11. Click Finish.
    mousewithoutborders inbound rule for incoming connections
  12. That’s it. Close the Windows Firewall snap-in.
  13. Open the Mouse without Borders dashboard, and click on the Apply button. A two-way connection will be established successfully now.
    mousewithoutborders two way connection

The program will now successfully connect to the other computer(s) at startup.

Mouse without Borders service

Note that MwoB runs as a service, and here is the service information:

Mouse without Borders Service (short name: MouseWithoutBordersSvc)
c:\program files (x86)\microsoft garage\mouse without borders\mousewithoutborderssvc.exe
Startup type: Automatic
Account: LocalSystem

tips bulb iconIf Mouse without Borders doesn’t auto-start during login, you may use the Services MMC (services.msc) snap-in and try changing the startup type to Automatic (Delayed Start) instead of Automatic.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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