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Windows 7: 10 questions about using dual monitors


18 Jun 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
10 questions about using dual monitors

I’m thinking about using dual monitor as I use a lot of design applications (Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere) and would love to keep all the palettes in a second monitor. My intention would be to have one very large 1920x1080 monitor (my main screen) and a much smaller lower resolution screen for the palettes.

But before I can consider dual monitor I have a few questions, for anyone who may be able to help…

1. Do you always have to have one large desktop wallpaper? Or can you assign 2 separate wallpapers (that Windows 7 can change every minute independently)?

2. Does the taskbar run across the bottom of both monitors? Or can you set it up only to appear in one?

3. If I drag a window/application to the top of the screen (to maximise it) will it fill just that monitor or both monitors? And is it possible to “Aero Snap” with dual monitor (dragging a window/application to the side in order to make it fill half the screen)?

4. Can you tell the computer where the smaller screen sits in relation to the larger screen?

5. What happens if you try to move the cursor off the big screen into the space above or below the small screen? Will it “hit the wall”, or will the cursor go off and disappear out of sight?

6. Can the smaller screen be positioned so that it drops below the bottom of the larger screen?

7. Instead of dragging the cursor from screen to screen every time, is there any easy way to press a button to switch screens?

8. Does a dual monitor setup cause problems with any applications? Can problems be caused by the non-rectangular workspace of having two different resolutions?

9. Can you tell each application which screen to open in? Or do you have to drag applications into to the screen you want it to go every time you open the application?

10. Finally (and this is one heck of a question): my ideal setup would be to normally have the smaller screen in the vertical position, but sometimes I would like to pivot it to horizontal, depending on what kind of application/palettes I’m using. Does anyone know if it would be possible to change the orientation on the fly like this?

I’d be extremely grateful to anyone who can answer any of my questions.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Marty, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Answers inline.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Marty McFly View Post
1. Do you always have to have one large desktop wallpaper? Or can you assign 2 separate wallpapers (that Windows 7 can change every minute independently)?
Your desktop will only use one image. Since your two monitors will be different resolutions, it will have the same image on both displays.

If you like, you can set up a desktop slideshow to shuffle through different desktop backgrounds, but both displays will still show the same one.
Desktop Slideshow
Quote:
2. Does the taskbar run across the bottom of both monitors? Or can you set it up only to appear in one?
The taskbar will only show on your set main display.
Display - Change Main Display
Quote:
3. If I drag a window/application to the top of the screen (to maximise it) will it fill just that monitor or both monitors? And is it possible to “Aero Snap” with dual monitor (dragging a window/application to the side in order to make it fill half the screen)?
It will only maximize in the monitor that the window is currently in.

You will still be able to "Aero Snap", but only on the exterior borders of the monitors, and not on any border that the two monitors share.
Snap a Window to a Side
Quote:
4. Can you tell the computer where the smaller screen sits in relation to the larger screen?
Yes. In your "Screen Resolution" settings, you can drag and drop the displays into any arrangement you like.
Quote:
5. What happens if you try to move the cursor off the big screen into the space above or below the small screen? Will it “hit the wall”, or will the cursor go off and disappear out of sight?
On exterior borders, it will be like hitting a wall, and the pointer will go no further.

On shared borders between the displays, the pointer will continue on to the other display.
Quote:
6. Can the smaller screen be positioned so that it drops below the bottom of the larger screen?
Yes, same as question 4 above.
Quote:
7. Instead of dragging the cursor from screen to screen every time, is there any easy way to press a button to switch screens?
Dragging the pointer to where you like would be the easiest way.
Quote:
8. Does a dual monitor setup cause problems with any applications? Can problems be caused by the non-rectangular workspace of having two different resolutions?
It will not cause any issues with the programs. The only issue would be that if you have a window half in one display and half in another display with different resolutions, you would have a distorted window. It would be best to keep the window fully in one display or the other to avoid this.
Quote:
9. Can you tell each application which screen to open in? Or do you have to drag applications into to the screen you want it to go every time you open the application?
Usually the window will open to the same location and position it was when last closed, but not always.
Quote:
10. Finally (and this is one heck of a question): my ideal setup would be to normally have the smaller screen in the vertical position, but sometimes I would like to pivot it to horizontal, depending on what kind of application/palettes I’m using. Does anyone know if it would be possible to change the orientation on the fly like this?
Yes. In your "Screen Resolution" settings, you can change each display's "orientation" to be in Landscape (default - horizontal) or Portrait (vertical) mode.
Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #3

Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

You could use DISPLAY FUSION it comes in a free version and a paid version
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2013   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
...It will only maximize in the monitor that the window is currently in.

You will still be able to "Aero Snap", but only on the exterior borders of the monitors, and not on any border that the two monitors share....


While I haven't tried it on dual monitors yet, I've found that if you snap a window to the side, you can slide it to the other side as long as the top of the window stays against the top border. If it work the way I think it would, you could snap a window to the left border of the left monitor in a dual monitor display. You wouldn't be able to snap to right border of the monitor but you should be able to drag to that position as long as the top of the window doesn't leave the top border of the monitor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I run (2) Asus VW246H 24" 1920x1080, & (1) Proview 900W 19" 1440x900. I use Display Fusion. I have a random changing library of 5760x1080 wallpapers that span the three screens (option to have a different one on each), three different desktops, (3) different screensavers, and the ability to have up to 3 taskbars. Display Fusion makes it easy and has more options than you'll probably ever use. I draft in Autocad on one, view redlines on the second, and read notes on the third. I'll never go back to a single monitor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Shawn, you are a legend! Thank you so much for your excellent and comprehensive answers. My reaction to your answers is that dual-monitor sounds great. I’m guessing there’s no going back once you’ve made the switch!?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #7
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're most welcome Marty. Glad we could help.

You are correct. Once you go multi-monitor, there's no going back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 10 questions about using dual monitors




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