Multiple monitors with Windows XP

Having more than one monitor is great, but it's not a painless experience. The following is my own experience:

1) Not all monitors will detect computer power-up all the time. I have had monitors not turn on after resuming from standby or hibernate, or when moving cables around. If the monitor does not power up, you cannot safely shutdown and restart your computer because you can't see anything.

2) I don't know whether it is Windoza, the monitors, or the graphics card, but sometimes the monitors would be swapped around. OS main screen would be shown on the secondary display, and I would not be able to switch this around by software. The only solution that worked for me was restarting the computer and swapping video cords to the graphics card connections.

3) There isn't a task bar on the second monitors. You can only access the task bar from the primary monitor.

4) You'll need to switch monitors on and off frequently. Create a shortcut to "Display Properties" icon from the Control Panel on the Desktop.

5) VLC media player will sometimes show a black screen, or freeze when switching monitors on and off, or moving the VLC window from one monitor to another. If this happens, minimize and maximize the window, move it to another monitor, etc.

6) While it's tempting, do not attempt to have entertainment going on one screen while trying to do work on another. It'll never work.

7) If a monitor does not get recognized, go to the Device Manager and refresh.

8) I have never played a game on multiple monitors, so I would not be able to say what that is like. However, if you play conventional fullscreen games on the primary monitor, it will switch and mess up the resolution of the secondary display, and your mouse, if it goes outside the primary window's edges, and pressed, will minimize the game. Game may or may not be able to be successfully maximized back again.

9) It is not at all necessary to have the second monitor as big as the primary one. In fact, it is better to pick up a cheap used 4:3 aspect ratio smaller used monitor.

10) For work, the second monitor definitely adds functionality. You'll start to miss it after you try it.



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Page last modified 12-Apr-12 23:41:02 EDT
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