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Windows 7: No feed to primary monitor when secondary monitor is off.

23 Jun 2014   #1

Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium
No feed to primary monitor when secondary monitor is off.

My computer desk sits next to my entertainment system, and I have it connected to two monitors: the primary 22” Viewsonic LCD (DVI) and my 42” Toshiba TV (HDMI hooked in via my receiver). When I just want to browse the ‘net or email, I use the primary monitor. For gaming and movies, I use the TV. For a couple of years now, I’ve had display options to always display the TV (monitor 1). If the TV was off, it would default to the Viewsonic, per the Windows feature to always default to the current monitor if only one was on. If the TV was on, it would stop feeding the Viewsonic and default to the TV, so that any games or movies would display on the TV and not cause any issues fullscreen. This way the TV being on or off determined whether the PC would feed to it or not, and I’d only turn on the power hungry TV for entertainment.

About a month ago, my monitors started behaving oddly. The PC would power up normally and load Windows to the Viewsonic, and during the load up screen the Viewsonic would power down. The only way to see the screen was to turn on the TV. This is on Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium (up to date).
Things I’ve tried:
  • Set the Viewsonic to be the primary monitor and settings to only display on the Viewsonic. Result: If the TV is off, there’s no video to the Viewsonic. If the TV is on, it is black (as expected since I've set the monitor to receive the feed) and the feed goes to the Viewsonic.
  • Set the monitors to extend across both the Viewsonic and TV. Result: If the TV is off, there’s no video to the Viewsonic (it goes into powersaving mode). If the TV is on, the display correctly extends across both the TV and the monitor.
  • I uninstalled and reinstalled the NVidia graphics driver, currently using WHQL 337.91. Result: If the TV is off, there’s no video to the Viewsonic.
  • On boot up F8 into the Advanced Boot Options and choose option “Enable low-resolution video (640x480).” Result: computer correctly defaults to the Viewsonic if the TV is off. Since this is loading up with a basic VGA driver, it suggests an issue with the advanced NVidia driver or with the dual monitor support?
  • Unplug the HDMI cable from the graphics card to the TV then boot up. Result: computer correctly defaults to the Viewsonic if the TV is unplugged. Of course constantly unplugging the HDMI cable is a hassle and will eventually result in the plug breaking.
  • Unplug the electricity to the TV and receiver from the wall socket and boot up. Result: If the TV is off, there’s no video to the Viewsonic. This is the most interesting one, as I wouldn’t have expected it to recognize that TV with the power cable unplugged.

I’ve seen lots of forum posts by people that want to disable monitor switching, but I like it and want it fixed. It works for my setup. I couldn’t find anyone online after a couple of hours of searching with my problem.
My hardware:
- Motherboard: ASUS Intel Z77 ATX DDR3 2400 LGA 1155 Motherboard P8Z77-V
- Proc: Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 GHz
- Soundcard: Sound Blaster X-Fi
- Graphics card: GIGABYTE NVidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1866 MHz (PC3 15000) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
- SSD: Samsung 830 - Series MZ-7PC064D/AM 64 GB 2.5 Inch SATA III MLC Internal SSD
- Primary boot HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 1TB ST31000528AS
- Secondary HHD: Hitachi Deskstar SATA 750GB HDS721075KLA330
- Lite On DVD-RW
- PC Monitor: Viewsonic 22” 1620x1050
- TV: Toshiba 42” 1920x1080

Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate Retail Box (64-bit installed) + Service Pack 1

Was anything done to this system just before the problem started?

Have you swapped out the cables and/or tried a different connection to the monitors?

This sounds like a failure either at the video card or the viewsonic monitor electronics, so I would try swapping out the video card and monitor if possible to confirm or eliminate them as the culprit, this can include the cabling.

I had something similar happen when one of my monitors went bad.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2014   #3

Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium

I figured out what was going on. On the Screen Resolution dialog box, your monitors are represented as two rectangles at the top. My rectangles originally had my monitor on the left and TV on the right, but physically the TV was on the left. So when I would extend, dragging the cursor off the right side of the monitor, would have it appear all the way on the left side of the TV (also on the left) which was a bit odd. One day I saw a Windows tip that you could just drag the monitors into whichever configuration you wanted, and so I dragged them to match their physical set up. It must have been around then that the issue started.

I was playing around with Windows P today and noticed that Windows kept saying that my TV was my primary monitor and the Viewsonic was the "Projector." That's when I realized that Windows prefers the primary monitor on the left on secondary on the right. When I dragged them back so that the TV was on the right in Screen Resolution and rebooted, the problem was gone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 No feed to primary monitor when secondary monitor is off.

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