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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My video card has two outputs, one of which is currently connected to my only monitor. Sooner or later I want to have two monitors, a little one on the desk or table and a big one in front of a wall. I've seen dual-monitor setups before; the usual treatment is to have a single desktop that joins at the right edge of one and the left edge of the other. But that makes sense for two monitors of similar size that are located side by side; it's not necessarily how I want my dual monitors to behave, and I notice in my card's settings that this isn't the only possibility. "Extend desktop onto this monitor" is something that can be turned on or off... and it's accompanied by another option for making one monitor primary and the other secondary.


But what's it like when you turn this merged desktop feature off, and how does a "secondary" monitor behave? If the second monitor were to get its own separate Windows desktop, which just doesn't join the other monitor's desktop, then how do you tell the computer which monitor you're working on at any given moment? You only have one mouse and it can't walk from one to the other, so how do you teleport it between them?


On the other hand, if making it secondary means it doesn't get a Windows desktop, then what would you see as the background, and how would you get programs to display on it? Would all programs running on it just have to fill the whole screen? If so, then do you see the menus program's and control bars and such that you'd never be able to use because your mouse and keyboard only talk to the primary monitor? Does the secondary monitor get around this by simply echoing the contents of one of the windows in the primary one? And in any case, since you ordinarily do most of your work in the primary one, how do you shunt a program over to the other to get its stuff displayed there?


And does any of this work differently if you have two video cards instead of a single card with two outputs?
 

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In general, without extending the desktop the #2 monitor just displays the same thing as the #1. I haven't found a use for making the #2 monitor secondary, IIRC it would still show all the open windows like #1, but windows showing videos would just be black on #2.


The most useful for me is extending the desktop to #2. Then you can drag any windows you want over there (like a dvd player), and still use #1 normally.
 

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You should be able to add the second monitor to any border of the first ... so you could have the second monitor be above the first (in other words, you drag a window up to the second monitor).


And they don't at all have to be the same size.


The only time it really matters to have similar sized monitors is if you want to extend a window across them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by JustDavid
In general, without extending the desktop the #2 monitor just displays the same thing as the #1. I haven't found a use for making the #2 monitor secondary, IIRC it would still show all the open windows like #1, but windows showing videos would just be black on #2.


The most useful for me is extending the desktop to #2. Then you can drag any windows you want over there (like a dvd player), and still use #1 normally.
That sounds bad. I don't want cloning because my current only monitor is 1.67 whereas the big one I want/plan/hope to get later will be 1.78, which means things would have to get distorted, chopped off, or blackbarred on one or the other. But I don't want a continuous desktop, because I want the system to be just as usable whether I've got one monitor on or both, I don't want to hassle with my background images like that would call for (or just abandon them either), and I don't want to have to manually move and resize my video program windows to get the contents to be seen filling the screen without the window frame (edges) showing. I was hoping there would be a way to just have the TV/movie program (or even a music program with a visualization running) automagically fill the secondary screen without looking like a blown-up window (no frames/edges) or affecting the primary screen.
 

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Sounds like you want a feature available on ATI cards called Home Theater Mode.


Normally, it is in clone mode. When you show a video, the video shows up on the main display in a window, but goes full screen on the second display. If you have an ATI card and want to play with it, place the displays in clone mode and go to the Overlays tab on the control panel to set it up.


Too bad it doesn't work right. Currently, this mode only outputs 480p to the second screen.


The only other dual screen modes available are extended desktop, clone mode (same thing on both screens) and stretch one window across both displays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You just listed two separate things that sound the same to me:
Quote:
extended desktop... and stretch one window across both displays
What's the difference?


Seriously, the most ideal solution to me would be to have both screens just show the same thing all the time, since the programs I'd want blown up to full screen size without edges showing already have that function built in for a single monitor... the only catch being the fact that the aspect ratios wouldn't match. I only started pondering how to have the two screens do different things because of the aspect ratio clashes.
 

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Like someone else said....


ATI allows this via "clone" and theater mode.

It's not quite there yet though.


For instance...

I want my monitor in standard landscape, but my main video display I want inverted landscape. Doesn't work.

It may do what you are looking for though.


ATI confirms inverted landscape does not support many video presentations, including HDTV. :-(
 

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I use vmr9 to feed video to my secondary monitor, most programs once told will lauch on the secondary monitor with no problem. Clone mode could work well but it doenst allow for different resolutions as far as i can tell.
 
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