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Windows 7: Dual monitor disaster

16 Feb 2015   #1
dellerb1961

windows7
 
 
Dual monitor disaster

Simply trying to get second monitor working. Not repeating, but as a second screen. The Dell I just bought only has one VGA monitor input so I bought a VGA splitter at Staples tech support advice. Computer didn't detect it so I asked computer to find it via VGA option. Found it, applied it, but is still didn't work on second screen. It was simply repeating first screen. Thought I'd troubleshoot by swapping VGA cords/monitors. Turned computer back on and have two black screens. Swapped it back, two black screens. Shut it down, put everything back, two blank screens. Help! How can I even do a reset if I can't get back into computer? Staples guy now says to buy VGA to HDMI but still doesn't resolve how I get back into viewing my computer.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Feb 2015   #2
oscer1

win 7 64 bit
 
 

Hi, welcome to the forum

whats the full model number of the dell desktop computer? do a cmos reset. power off the computer unplug computer from wall hold power button a few seconds then open case and remove coin size battery for 5 minutes then put back in and plug computer back in and start do you get a picture with one screen hooked up?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2015   #3
dellerb1961

windows7
 
 

It's a Dell Inspiron I660. After I get done with dinner, I'll give it a try! Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. I'll let you know if it works...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Feb 2015   #4
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

You cannot use a splitter, it will never work! It will always be a duplicate image on the second monitor. You need to get an actual second display adapter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2015   #5
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dellerb1961 View Post
Simply trying to get second monitor working. Not repeating, but as a second screen.
You mean you want to run "extended desktop", with the Windows desktop spread horizontally across both monitors so that you can drag windows back and forth across both monitors as if they were one wide desktop?

This as opposed to running duplicate output to both monitors, i.e. in "clone mode". This is NOT what you want, right?

Well, in order to do this you need to use TWO video connectors on your computer, to connect to TWO monitors, and configure Windows to support the two monitors in "extended desktop" mode. One of the monitors is "primary" (i.e. this is where the Windows taskbar would go by default) and the other is "secondary". Either monitor can be #1 or #2 as far as the hardware is concerned, and one would be to the left of the other. You simply drag around the two objects (using Windows "screen resolution" dialog) for monitors #1 and #2 until you get them arranged as you would like to think of them. Then you specify which of the two monitors you'd like to be "primary" and which is "secondary". Either #1 or #2 can be either "primary" or "secondary"... you have complete control.

But you need to be using TWO video connectors on your computer (either from the motherboard, or from a discrete graphics card), in order to work like this.


Quote:
The Dell I just bought only has one VGA monitor input
Actually, it's an OUTPUT, not an input.

And if you provide the complete model number of your Inspiron i660 and complete your machine's "specs" (in your forum profile), that would tell us whether your machine has built-in Intel graphics or also has a discrete graphics card. Also, whether you have two video connectors available or not.


Quote:
so I bought a VGA splitter at Staples tech support advice.
What would the purpose of this possibly be, other than to DUPLICATE the single VGA output from your computer's VGA connector, to go to BOTH of the monitors connected to the splitter?

This seems absolutely NOT what you want to accomplish, and is obviously intended to DUPLICATE output onto multiple monitors.

There is no way to send separate and unique output to two monitors arranged in an "extended desktop" setup except by having the two monitors connected to TWO video output connectors on the computer. These two connectors can be VGA, DVI, HDMI, or Displayport, and obviously the monitors connected should have proper corresponding connectors on them. Or, it might be possible to use an "adapter" cable if you don't have an exact match between the output video connector on the computer/graphics card and the monitors you want to use.

But however they're finally cable connected, you need TWO video output connectors from the computer going through two cables to the two monitors. And Windows is set up for "extended desktop" mode. A "splitter" connected to a single VGA connector on the computer will NOT support what you want to achieve, as it is intended to DUPLICATE one VGA output from the computer onto two monitors.


Quote:
still didn't work on second screen. It was simply repeating first screen.
I rest my case.

You need to use two separate video outputs from your computer, if they're available. Otherwise you can't support a 2-monitor extended desktop setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2015   #6
dellerb1961

windows7
 
 

OK thanks for the replies. We are clear that the VGA splitter will not work as we intended. At this point, we would just like to get back to the original single monitor mode. However, when we hook up the one monitor as we still had it, it is still blank. Is there a way to get back to the single monitor display?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2015   #7
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Still would like your "specs", but in particular does your i660 have only a single VGA connector on the back and no other video outputs? Or do you also have a DVI and/or HDMI and/or DisplayPort connector?

And, exactly WHEN is it blank? Is it blank when you boot the machine with just the one monitor connected to the VGA port and remains blank forever?

Or do you see BIOS output on the screen at boot time but goes blank when Windows now starts, and remains blank thereafter?

Have you tried connecting the other monitor instead? Is it still the same story with the other monitor connected instead?

If you have output at boot time but it goes blank when Windows starts, have you tried booting Windows in "safe mode" (press F8 at startup and select "safe mode" from the presented menu)? Still the same story?

Or what?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2015   #8
dellerb1961

windows7
 
 

don't have access to the specs but it only has one VGA connector on back. there is a HDMI connector above that but we have not tried to use (probably should have but got bad advise at Staples).

it is blank even with just one monitor as we had it originally set up.

it says resuming windows when we restart and then goes blank. same story with other monitor. Have not been able to reboot in safe mode using F8.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2015   #9
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dellerb1961 View Post
don't have access to the specs but it only has one VGA connector on back. there is a HDMI connector above that but we have not tried to use (probably should have but got bad advise at Staples).
You are describing TWO VIDEO OUTPUT CONNECTORS. Although you still haven't provided real details, I'm guessing these two video outputs are from the motherboard, rather than from an additional graphics card. So that means you probably only have built-in Intel HD Graphics.

Just because there is only one VGA connector isn't important. You have (1) VGA and (2) HDMI connectors. That means you have TWO VIDEO OUTPUTS. So you can connect these to TWO MONITORS. It's possible the monitor connected to the HDMI output will not be supported until you get to Windows, but at the very least the monitor connected to the VGA connector will be instantly available to the BIOS in VGA mode at machine boot time, and then also when you get to Windows... with or without the Intel HD Graphics driver installed.

Note that even if your second monitor doesn't have an HDMI connector, you can use an adapter cable with HDMI at one end (to connect to the PC), and the other end being whatever your second monitor will accept... DVI or VGA. That will allow your second monitor to be connected to your second (HDMI) output on the PC, and with proper Intel HD Graphics driver installed will let you run in "extended desktop" mode.

And with the Intel HD Graphics driver installed, you now have support for BOTH OF THESE VIDEO OUTPUT SIMULTANEOUSLY, which is exactly what you need to support "extended desktop" across both monitors.

If you don't have the Intel HD Graphics driver installed, when you get to Windows you will actually still be using the MS vanilla generic VGA-only driver which supports multiple monitors but only in clone mode. You must have the true Intel HD Graphics driver installed in order to support two monitors in "extended desktop" mode.


Quote:
it is blank even with just one monitor as we had it originally set up.

it says resuming windows when we restart and then goes blank. same story with other monitor. Have not been able to reboot in safe mode using F8.
You're really not describing this very well, when you say "it is blank".

It is NOT BLANK when you boot the machine and see BIOS output on the screen, and begin the process of starting Windows and still see stuff on the screen. If you can see "resuming Windows" then you are obviously seeing something on the screen! It is not blank!!!

It's only after this point that the your screen finally goes blank, according to your story. This is the question I've been asking repeatedly, and now I think I finally know the timing of when it goes blank... namely after you get to starting Windows from this "resuming" startup process (which is puzzling to me). Can't imagine why it's blank, except that you must not be configured properly and that Windows is actually talking to your other monitor (i.e. a "phantom monitor" on the HDMI connector).

Why haven't you been able to reboot to safe mode?? You must figure out what your problem here is, because I believe if you boot into safe mode you will have output on your screen. It will not be blank once you get to Windows.

Incidentally, if you see "resuming Windows" that means you are not shutting down cleanly, or at least didn't the last time you had the opportunity to shut down. Sounds like you instead went into "hibernation", which when you start the machine again will present this "resuming Windows". That's the only situation I can think of that presents "resuming Windows", i.e. startup after hibernating. Every other situation presents either (a) "starting Windows", or (b) just resume, from "sleep".

Anyway, once you get booted to safe mode, you should then shut down Windows cold, completely. The next time you boot the machine you should see "starting Windows", not "resuming Windows". And now you may or may not have a Windows desktop visible again on the monitor you have connected to the VGA connector on the PC. We need to get to that point in order to then investigate whether or not you actually have the Intel HD Graphics driver installed yet (as you want to).

==> If your second monitor supports HDMI connection, then connect it with an HDMI cable to the HDMI output on your PC. If it doesn't support HDMI connection then I'd go out and buy an HDMI->DVI or HDMI->VGA cable (or adapter plus cable), to connect to your second monitor however it can be connected to the HDMI output on the PC. With both monitors now connected properly to the two video outputs on your PC (one to the VGA connector, and the second to the HDMI connector), I'd like to now see what happens when Windows starts. I'm sure you'll now have output on at least one of the two monitors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2015   #10
dellerb1961

windows7
 
 

Thanks for the analysis. Agree that we are hibernating and not shutting down cleanly and therefore cant reboot in safe mode. Any ideas on how to get around this problem? How can I get the machine to shut completely so I can reboot in safe mode?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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