2006-01-30

Stupid Windows Trick: Dual Monitors


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I finally figured out the dual-monitor thing on my laptop last week, and it's pretty sweet. Plug an external monitor into your laptop and Windows can set it so that your laptop screen and the monitor combine to give you a desktop 2 screens wide. When I drag a folder or window past the left edge of my laptop display it moves onto the right edge of the monitor display. Objects can be dropped anywhere on either monitor.

This is really handy for taking note-taking from online references. You can have the full-size reference document open on one screen and Word maximized on the other. No more having to [alt]+[tab] back and forth, or squish the windows to make them both fit on the screen.

Here's the catch - you must do battle with Windows to make this happen. Like many MS "features" dual monitor is available, but not readily so. In order to set up this configuration you must tell Windows what you want in three different places and three different ways ... two of which are well-documented. The spoiler is buried within a context menu like a needle in a haystack - a drop list where you switch your monitors from cloning to extending each other.

Heaven forbid this should be user-friendly!

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