If you’re using Windows XP or Vista, did you know that you can configure your desktop run on multiple monitors? It’s easier than you might think, and I am going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to use this feature. The whole process should only take a few minutes. This is a pretty neat trick, and once you try it, you’ll never want to go back to one monitor again, I guarantee it.
(PSST… if you need additional help, I’ve also included a video for Windows Vista users. Read through the article and if something doesn’t make sense, just watch the video below for additional instructions.)
Windows XP Users:
As a side note, you should be aware that one of these monitors will serve as a primary monitor which will display the logon dialog at start up. Also, most of the items you open will default to the primary monitor. The cool thing is that you can select different resolutions for each screen as well as adjust the color settings individually. To connect additional monitors you will need an additional video out or a video adapter that supports multiple outputs.
1) Go to START -> CONTROL PANEL
2) Select APPEARANCE AND THEMES -> DISPAY
3) Select the SETTINGS TAB and click IDENTIFY which will display a large number on each of the monitors. This shows which monitor is going to correspond with each icon.
4) Click the icons and drag them to the real world position in which the monitors are set up.
Click APPLY or OK
That’s it, your screen will flash most likely and Windows may ask you if you’d like to keep the settings. If everything looks good, then go ahead and hit OK.
To change the primary monitor in Windows XP you can do the following:
1) In SETTINGS TAB of the Display Properties Dialog box, click once on the monitor icon that you would like to make the primary monitor.
2) Click to select the USE THIS DEVICE AS PRIMARY MONITOR check box. This box will not be available if you select the monitor that is already your primary monitor.
Windows Vista Users
Note: Windows Vista is designed to be a little more user friendly. When I plug in my additional monitor, Windows automatically sets it up for me, MOST OF THE TIME. So, I’ve included these directions for the times when Windows is unable to set up your monitor on its own. Also, as mentioned above, I’ve included a short video for the Vista setup, just in case you have trouble finding anything.
1) Go to the START button (actually, it’s the circular Window logo in the bottom left hand corner of the screen on most Vista desktops.)
2) Select CONTROL PANEL from the right hand column.
3) If you are in Classic View, then select CONTROL PANEL HOME.
4) Under the Appearance and Personalization, click ADJUST SCREEN RESOLUTION
5) Now you should see two or more black boxes if you’ve already connected your additional monitor. The icons are representations of the real world position of your monitors. You can drag and drop the icons so that they accurately represent where your multiple monitors are located on your desk.
6) Now select the additional monitor by click the icon and make sure the check box below that says, "Extend the desktop onto this monitor" is selected, then click APPLY
7) You may see the screen flash, and the desktop should now be extended on to your extra monitor. You should get a little pop up that asks if you’d like to keep these settings. If everything looks good, click OK. If something isn’t right, click CANCEL button and try one more time from the top.