Far be it for my parents to come for a visit and not bring a gift. In this case it was a 19″ LCD monitor my dad no longer uses. Because of his eyesight he has switched to a 22″ behemoth which he runs at fairly low resolution.
This monitor has been a long time coming. At one point they were thinking of mailing it. They found out that would cost about the same as a new monitor! It flew with them in a shopping bag.
My Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS video card, an older card which is fine as long as I don’t become a gamer, has two outputs. Windows XP supports multiple monitors. It looked like it would be a plug-and-play cakewalk–and it was!
Configuring two monitors on one computer isn’t without some difficulties. A single screen stretched over two LCDs doesn’t quite know what to do when you maximize a browser or other window. Programs which throw a splash screens across the middle of the screen now straddle both!
After a while I reconfigured the video card to operate in Dualview. It’s never explained very well, but one monitor is the primary. It sees most opening programs first. Maximizing fills one monitor, not both. Programs can easily be dragged from one to the other.
I was still unhappy because the clock and task bar only showed on one monitor. I found and installed the free version of MultiMonitor Taskbar. Problem solved!
My only remaining problem is a physical one. The two monitors aren’t at the same height. A piece of wood should fix that or maybe I’ll move the power strip elsewhere.
Does having two monitors make a difference? Oh yeah! That’s especially true with Photoshop where I always had overlapping dialog boxes. Now everything is comfortably spread out. My resolution went from 1280×1024 to 2560×1024.
My friend Bob in Florida has four monitors. That’s a little over the top… right now. However, I seriously understand why he does it.