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Getting Two Monitors to do what I want with Windows XP


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#1
goscience

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Geeks Help! This is frustrating.

I have a 2nd large (plug and play?) monitor that functions as an extension of my main monitor. It identifies as #2

The optimal resolution seems to be 1920 X 1080, true color, 60 Hz and the monitor setting at the screen itself is "fill.

Sometimes, when I start up, the image fills the monitor screen; sometimes not. Often I have to drag the icons and task bar to Monitor 2 each time the computer updates and restarts.

If I go to CONTROL PANEL > SETTINGS, The dialog option "Extend my Windows desktop onto this
monitor is checked. If I uncheck it, monitor #2 is disabled.

There is also a dialog option checkbox "use this device as my primary monitor" but it is disabled and cannot be checked.

My preferred configuration is a plug and play monitor as my primary monitor where the image fills the screen at 1920 X 1080 resolution (true color, 60 Hz) with the original monitor active or inactive.

I know this configuration is possible because it sometimes sets up if I cold kill the computer and restart but it is not consistently reproducible.

Please try and solve this mystery.

Unending thanks.

goscience
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#2
admin

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Hello goscience, and Welcome to Geeks to Go!

Do you know if you're using the default Windows drivers, or if you're running the drivers from a 3rd party (e.g. AMD/ATI, nVidia).

Is your monitor recognized? Does display properties show the model of your display, or generic?
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#3
goscience

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To answer your question:

The monitors show as #2: plug and play (Big preferred monitor--plugged into my laptop with multipin connector
Manufacturer: (Standard Monitor Type)
Location: on ATI Mobility Radeon X1600

Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver date: 6/6/2001
Driver Version: 5.1.2001.0

There's a button to update the driver and another to roll back if the device fails after updating the driver (which is a scarey thought)

Default Monitor #1

Shows same details as above


Also, there are buttons to enable or disable each monitor. I clicked each one separately and nothing happened but it may be that I need to restart my computer to achieve a change.
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#4
admin

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I actually prefer the Microsoft ATI and Nvidia drivers as they are lighter on system resources, and generally more stable. We'll leave the drivers alone for now. I suspect the problem may be in identifying your external monitor, and its supported resolution. Have you checked the manufacturer's site to see if there is a driver available? Or clicked the "identify" button on the display setting screen? What we're trying to display your monitor's model number instead of "Manufacturer: (Standard Monitor Type)".

I also suspect you may be using the VGA (blue) connection. DVI (or display port) connection would be preferred, if available.
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#5
goscience

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I have checked the identify button. The monitor built into my laptop always identifies as #1 and the auxiliary (plug and play) always identifies as #2.

I suspect that the fact that the option to make the plug and play monitor as the preferred monitor (which is visible) but not checkable has something to do with this. It seems that I am able to extend my default monitor onto the additional monitor but not deactivate the first.

But here's the weird thing. Sometimes when I shut down the system and restart I get one of the following.

a) Image fills the screen of my plug and play monitor without distortion or loss of resolution at my 1920 X 1280 (60 hz) truecolor setting and other times,
b) the laptop monitor comes up deactivated and the p&p monitor is just as I would have it--image filled screen (desktop) w/o distortion or loss of resolution.

This situation is stable until my computer updates for various reasons requiring a reboot and I lose the preferred display configs.

Note: When I click on websites, e.g. google chrome, I can get the image to fill the wide screen. This problem obtains primarily at the basic desktop view.

So if my computer sometimes displays at the desired visual config is this a driver problem or something else.

I don't want to mess up what I have which is workable but the random occurence of the preferred display config is tantalizing as is the switch that is visible but in active.
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#6
admin

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So if I understand correctly, you are trying to use the external monitor on your laptop as the primary monitor. There may be a default video option in your BIOS that will help. It should reference options something like PCI, PCI-e, external. etc.
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#7
goscience

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You are beyond my level of competence. Can you provide idiot instructions? Note: There is a slide that lets me hilight default monitor or plug and play monitor and also a dialog option checkbox "use this device as my primary monitor" but it is disabled and cannot be checked. I suspect if I could get to this switch I might be able to select that option.

Thanks
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#8
admin

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BIOS loads your basic hardware config before Windows starts. You press a key as the machine starts to enter the BIOS setup (e.g. F1, F2, Delete). The system should tell you which key to press as it starts (might go by quickly).

For example, I have a Dell Latitude. I press F2 to enter the BIOS. However, this notebook was designed with a docking station, so I only have an option Under Primary Video for Onboard Video, or Dock Video. This allows for an external GPU card. On other systems I've seen an option to boot using an external monitor. This might disable the primary monitor and be of little use to you. The problem is notebooks just aren't designed to use an external monitor as their primary.

Maybe a better place to start is finding a driver for your external monitor. Have you checked the manufacture's website? If you get Windows to recognize your monitor, instead of just the generic "Standard Monitor Type", it may solve the native resolution issue.
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