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From the author of Multiple Monitor and Dualview Tips

Multiple Monitor and Dualview Tips

When setting up Multiple Monitor, keep these tips in mind:

  • Disconnecting monitors temporarily may disable them permanently. In some cases, a monitor that was disconnected while Windows was running, or when Windows was just starting up, will have to be reconfigured within the Display Settings window. Simply follow the steps in the previous section to reconfigure the secondary monitor.
  • Vista wants to use like video cards and drivers. Microsoft states that if a user wants to use more than one video card to accomplish Multiple Monitor, only identical video cards will work. However, you might be able to get away with “like” cards from different manufacturers — for example, two GTX 260 cards, one from Gigabyte and one from PNY. Some technicians have been able to get other video cards to work in these setups, but it usually requires a workaround or additional configurations and will depend on the type of card. Due to this, it is not recommended. Windows XP historically has been more lenient in this regard.
  • Screen resolutions can be different on each monitor. You can even use monitors with different resolution ratios — for example, a 22-inch 16:10 monitor and a 17-inch 4:3 monitor (I have this setup myself). This works of course if your video card can support these resolutions; most new video cards can.
  • Laptops cannot change the primary display. The primary display is the one with the Start button and taskbar. This cannot be modified on a laptop. Keep in mind that the laptop uses Dualview by default, which is limited to two displays. Some PCs with only two video outputs will be limited to this as well, and only the first video port can output the primary display. The first video output port might be labeled on the video card, otherwise it will often be the port on the left (if looking at the back of the computer). However, the primary display can be changed to another monitor on a PC’s Multiple Monitor setup. This all depends on whether or not the video card supports it. Most new Nvidia- and ATI-based cards do. At that point, the first monitor that is plugged in and recognized by Windows will be considered the “first” monitor and labeled as such within the Display Settings window.
  • Some laptops will not want to display a widescreen (16:10) resolution clearly to the secondary video connection. In some cases, a laptop will not clearly display 16:10 or 16:9 resolutions to the secondary monitor, even if the primary laptop display is widescreen itself! In these cases, only a 4:3 monitor will display clearly as a secondary display.

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