The one thing that I hate about using my desktop computer is that all of my information is typically stored on my laptop. So I end up having to crawl through the networked folders and transfer files anytime that I want to work on my desktop PC. Eventually I end up just switching back to my laptop but I quickly miss the the productivity that my 24″ LCD monitor brings to me with its whopping 1920 x 1200 resolution. :)
One day I decided to hook my laptop up to my monitor because I was just going to disable the laptop’s screen and use only the monitor. Little did I know that there was a setting in the display properties that lets you use another monitor as an extended desktop. That means I get to use my 24″ monitor in addition to my laptop’s 14.1″ screen!
Once you have the video cable plugged into your laptop just open up your display settings and, click on number “2,” and select “Extend the desktop onto this monitor.” That’s it. You’ll now be able to drag windows over onto the other monitor. I have illustrated above how you can adjust the positioning of the monitor relative to the laptop’s position which is useful depending on which way you want to be able to drag windows off of your laptop and onto the monitor.
You can also choose which screen will be the main one by checking the “This is my main monitor” box. Whichever is considered to be the main monitor will be the one that shows the Windows Taskbar.
There is an alternate solution available that is completely software based and uses your network in order to share monitors. The program is called MaxiVista and the newly released version is even compatible with Windows Vista (as well as 2000 and XP). Once you have the software installed you can extend your desktop on up to four displays totaling a resolution of 7,680 x 1600 pixels! Yikes!
I would be interested to see how it performs when viewing videos or other high-bandwidth activities on another monitor since it is using your network. I could see there being some lag time with the mouse movement which could quickly get annoying, but I haven’t tried it out so I’m not sure how well it works.
As you can see there are a few different alternatives available if you want to get the most desktop space possible using multiple monitors. I haven’t tried the MaxiVista software because it does cost $30 but it does appear to be an easy and cost-effective solution. Luckily I was able to hookup a monitor to my laptop without any additional costs so that proved to be the better solution for me.
Hopefully you’ll find this as useful as I have. :D