How to Configure More Than One Monitors  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

From 14-inch to 30-inch, sometimes the size of the desktop is just not enough if you have many applications running simultaneously on your system. The multi-monitor setup allows you to connect two or more monitors to a single system to get all the benefits of a single large monitor. By setting up multiple monitors you can watch videos or images on the huge display. You can also view those never-ending Excel spreadsheets and work efficiently without having to scroll up and down the page. This setup can also be used to give you a more realistic experience while playing flight simulator.

To setup multiple monitors, you require single or multiple graphics cards which have dual-link DVI output. You can also use a graphics card with a single DVI port in hybrid graphics mode with a compatible motherboard. This setup is compatible with a system running any version of Microsoft Windows or Linux. Support for multiple monitors is built into the graphics driver by default, so you don’t have to download any third party utility. The multi-monitor management software is specific to the graphic card you are using—nView which is a component of Nvidia’s Forceware drivers (www.nvidia.com) and HydraVison which is an add-on for the ATI Catalyst Control Center (game.amd.com).

Step 1: Connect the monitors
Connect the monitors to the graphics cards. You don’t need to connect them in any particular sequence or to specific ports. The layout and sequence of the monitors can be configured in the graphics driver’s control panel.

Step 2: Layout and display settings
To change the display settings and to check the order in which the monitors are connected. Right-click on the ‘Desktop’ and click on ‘Properties’. Go to ‘Display Settings’, here you will see the monitors connected to your system. Click on ‘Identify Monitors’ and a number will be displayed on each of the monitors for a brief time. Depending on the type of layout you want, arrange the monitors by dragging and dropping them in the ‘Display Settings’ dialog box. After you click ‘Apply’ or ‘OK’, the monitors will be mapped according to your layout. You should be able to move your mouse pointer across all the connected monitors as if you had a single desktop.

Step 3: HydraVison
HydraVision is a multimonitor management software for ATI graphics card. After you download and install the software, a new tab appears in the Catalyst Control Center. The HydraVision tab consists of three controls—HydraGrid, Desktop Manager and Multi Desktop.

From the HydraGrid control, you can assign grids to your desktop. These grids can be used to manage your workspace efficiently by arranging the windows of running applications in a predefined manner. Click the ‘Show Grid’ button to see the default grids across your desktop, and then click ‘Edit HydraGrid’ to edit the grid layout. The Grid Control Settings has the option to ‘Delete All Grids’ as well as use the ‘Preset Grid Layout’. You can also change the grid layout by dragging the borders of the grids. If you want to assign the location of the application to a gird, just right-click on the title bar and select ‘Attach to Grid’.

In the Desktop Manager control, the options such as ‘Enable Desktop Manger’, ‘Preserve Application Position & Size’ and ‘Allow Spanning Across Display’ can be enabled/disabled. The Multi Desktop controls allow you to enable multiple desktops across all the monitors. HydraVision allows you to create up to nine desktops, with an option to ‘Switch Desktop with Mouse Wheel’ and ‘Preserve Display Setting’. After you ‘Enable Multi Desktop’, a new control ‘Virtual Desktop’ control appears. By using this you can configure the settings for each desktop.

Step 4: DisplayFusion
DisplayFusion is a freeware utility which can be downloaded from "www.binaryfortress.com/ displayfusion/". This software allows you to set desktop wallpaper which will span across all the monitors. It also lets you set individual wallpapers for each monitor. One of the distinct features of DisplayFusion is that it allows you to search and download images from Flickr which can be used as wallpapers. The ‘Size Mode’ drop down list has different settings to set the aspect ratio of the image. Make sure that you use high resolution images as wallpapers or else the resulting display will be pixilated.

Step 5: UltraMon
UltraMon is a freeware utility which assists in the management of your multi-monitor setup. By using this utility, you can add a taskbar to each monitor connected to your system. This is a unique feature because the taskbar does not appear by default on each monitor in a multi-monitor setup. The taskbar can further be configured to show only the tasks running on that monitor or all the tasks running across the entire desktop. It also allows you to move windows across the monitors. This utility adds a ‘Maximize to Desktop’ button to the title bar of every window. On clicking this button, the window will maximize across all the monitors. UltraMon also allows you to add hotkeys, create custom menu commands and enable/disable monitors in case you are not using them. Finally, UltraMon also allows you to modify the Screensaver, Wallpaper, Shortcuts and Windows Display Properties. You simply have to right-click on the UltraMon icon in the system tray to do this.

Step 6: nView
Nview is a multi-monitor management utility specially meant for Nvidia graphics cards and is built into the Forceware drivers. It has three control settings—3D Setting, Display and Video & Television. In the 3D settings control you can modify the 3D settings such as anisotropic and anti-aliasing filtering. The Display controls allow you to modify the resolution, color and setup of multiple displays. If you don’t want a single desktop, you can choose to mirror the desktop on other monitors.

Apart from those mentioned above, there are many other options to play around with in the display driver settings, DisplayFusion and UltraMon. We had a great time playing around with a colossal four-panel setup of 17-inch LCD monitors. Try it out and enjoy the big picture. (story: Chip-india)

This entry was posted on Dec 20, 2008 at 10:15 AM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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