If you’re like most computer users nowadays, you probably have multiple applications up and running at the same time. In an effort to “multi-task” it is often be hard and hectic to minimize and open simultaneously multiple windows. (chatting apps, word processor, web browsers, or email clients). Although buggy virtual desktop programs are available, one easy solution is using multiple monitors to create an extended desktop.
What is an extended desktop? As the picture above shows by connecting two monitors to your computer, you the user will now have ability to simply drag a window from one screen onto another. Now not only is it nicer to have to fully maximized applications, but it is also a lot more efficient because more room is available to get work done. Setting up multiple monitors isn’t too difficult either; getting the advantages of a second monitor is actually a lot easier than most people think.
- Two Monitors – Although it looks more consistent having two same monitors, two duplicate ones are not required. In fact the monitors can be of different sizes (30″ and 15″), resolutions (1024×768 and 1280×800), and types (LCD and CRT), it will still function.
- For the purpose of this tutorial and because ~95% of computers are running it, we are using WinXP. However Multi Monitors can just as easily be setup on most operating systems including Mac OS X.
- Video Card – Almost all video cards sold by ATI and NVIDIA today have two output slots (aka heads). If you currently only have one output slot, either purchase a second compatible video card or a replacement which has two outputs. Note: For basic usage such as web surfing and email, a combo between a DVI and a VGA output won’t be an issue. However if you are a heavy duty gamer or video editor, I suggest getting a video card that has two DVI outputs.
Hooking It All Up:
Turn off your desktop and plug in the second monitor into an available head slot. Once plugged in, startup your machine and continue to proceed with the following steps. Note: The following procedure will work for most persons; however slight modifications to the procedure may be necessary for certain individuals.
- Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Display
- Select the ‘Settings’ Tab in the Display Properties Window
- Select the Secondary Display from the dropdown menu
- Once choosen, check ‘Extend My Windows Onto This Monitor’
After applying the settings your second monitor should now rather be an extra screen instead of a duplicate image of the contents on you main display. You should now be able to drag any window from your main screen right off the edge onto the second display. I also recommend dragging around the two monitor icons found in the Display Settings to match the actual physical positioning of your two monitors.
Multiple Monitors will also work for laptop users. Just plugin a monitor into your laptop’s video output. Place your laptop besides the secondary monitor. Then to set up just follow the same steps 1-4 given above.
P.S. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the comment below. This is also the first post by our new author Tim Severeijns. We hope you liked this tutorial.