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June 20, 2007

Running a dual-monitor setup with Windows Vista

Earlier this week I received my second Dell UltraSharp 2407FP 24-inch monitor to accompany my already in-use 2407FP monitor. I now have both 2407FP monitors connected to my ATI Radeon X1650 Pro via DVI. I have both monitors running at 1920×1200 screen resolution.

I created a video showing off running Windows Vista with multiple monitors and demonstrate Flip3D when two monitors are in use. I also talk about the ability to choose which monitor Windows Sidebar runs on.  

Video: Flip3D with 2 Monitors in Windows Vista

Windows Vista’s Display Settings allows you to control both your monitors. You can designate any one of the two monitors as your PC’s Primary Display. Using the Identify Monitors button at the top of the Display Settings window you can identify which monitor is 1 and which is monitor 2. When I first connected my second monitor to my PC, it simply mirrored the screen from my first monitor. However, this was not the behavior I wanted.  In Display Settings, I clicked on monitor 2 and checked “Extend the desktop to this monitor” to add the second monitor as usable desktop space. With this checked, I was then able to drag apps and use the second monitor’s desktop as an extension of my desktop on my Primary Display.

Your PC will save the settings of the apps you drag to the second monitor. For example, I dragged Windows Live Mail over to my second monitor. When I exited Windows Live Mail and then opened it back up – it opened back up on my second monitor. Your PC will preserve – or “remember” – the settings of which monitor that app is opened up on even after rebooting.

So what do I use my second monitor for? I read a lot of RSS feeds and email throughout the day. While working on writing blog posts or editing video content, I keep Windows Live Mail opened up on the second monitor where I can watch and monitor new feeds (and email) as they arrive. I occasionally have Windows Media Center opened up and playing a recorded TV show on the second monitor while I work as well.

If you’re running Windows Vista with two monitors, I’d love to hear how you’re using both monitors!

You can also check out Nick’s post from back in March on a PC running with 4 monitors.

The Dell UltraSharp 2407FP Monitors are Certified for Windows Vista.