Hardware

Slide Show: Running Windows 8 on multiple monitors

Multiple Monitors 1

This gallery was originally published in June 2012.

Up until recently, I have been using Windows 8 on system with a single monitor. In that type of configuration I was constantly confronting the Metro Start Screen and feeling like my familiar desktop was playing second fiddle. However, when I installed Windows 8 on a system with a multiple monitor configuration, I definitely began seeing the operating system in a totally different way. In fact, I found that I can essentially forget about the Metro Start screen as it will only be visible on one monitor and then only when click the Start Screen button or press the [Windows] key on your keyboard. Otherwise all you see is miles and miles of the beloved desktop.

Not only does a multiple monitor configuration give Windows 8 a better feel on a desktop system, but all the new multiple monitor features that Microsoft has endowed the operating system with are really great! For example, you no longer need to have a third-party utility to put a Taskbar on each monitor or have a different wallpaper image on each desktop. Plus, there are a number of other features built into Windows 8 that are designed to boost productivity when using multiple monitors.

For all the details, see my Windows Desktop Report article.

In this gallery, I’ll show you screen shots of Windows 8 running on my multiple monitor set up, which consists of a 23-inch LG E2350 wide screen monitor flanked by two 21-inch ViewSonic VP211b monitors, as I described in the article.

Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic, all rights reserved.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

12 comments
Jiggy Gaton
Jiggy Gaton

sure wish mountain lion would adapt something like this - i am thinking of switching OS's as I have a 3 screen setup that just does not work in Appleland

RuntyMuz
RuntyMuz

We can read. The slideshow doesn't render nicely/hard to use on some platforms. Nice article BTW.

inertman
inertman

i've been doing this since the first consumer previews and found that one of the issues w/ running 8 this way is that while it is nice to get the metro start on a seperate screen, when you use it, pretty much everything defaults to that screen, even after you move it to another. i haven't figured out how to get the items started in metro onto the last screen they operated. 7 does this. pretty much every time i start rdp or media center i use them on my largedr screen to my left. when i restart them, they always start on that screen. so far, not so w/ 8.

Jim.Britain
Jim.Britain

All well and good for lounging, or entertainment. But what about work? Cut and paste across database forms, schedules and publishing a patient schedule letter for cancer treatment, or monitoring instructions, plus stock reports, plus order entries and acceptances can become daunting tasks -- these data intensive operations still do not seem to fit on Windows 8 with it's "full screen" pretty graphics. Looks like business is being left behind -- Microsofts most solid, and least fickle income stream. I think there really needs to be a split between business apps and entertainment, with bridges between the two, rather than integration across everything.

kentg
kentg

I've seen lots of articles on running multiple monitors but that's only useful once you have them up and running. Finding information on the hardware is not so easy. I've now tried Matrox. Yucky. Wintars. Unsuccessfully. USB docking stations from Toshiba (with some success) and Asus (less so). I now have 3 Samsung USB 3 monitors which work well although they are at times a little flakey and take a few minutes of turning on and off to get the whole lot working. The info on the Samsungs was short on specifics but I gather they use DisplayPort internally. So how about a decent article on the hardware to extend a Laptop's desktop?

clarnT
clarnT

Thank you for demonstrating the abilities of Windows 8 in using multiple monitors! I'm glad to hear that Microsoft finally gets the desire of folks wanting to be able to have each monitor with individual settings. However, the thrust of the article is another dig at the Metro interface and a longing desire to remain in the antiquated paradigm known as the "Desktop." It's time people realize that the Desktop experience is holding you back and that the new way to do things will not require you to keep an unruly clutter of files and icons on a virtual flat space that is just a landing place for junk mail and pocket change. By creating content that is closely related to the application which created it allows less user action to actually use the content. Transferring parts, or bits of the content to other applications for more processing will be easier and less confusing. I know, I know, it's hard to let go of a way of life, but if I can get it after thirty years of poking and popping and peeking bits I think anyone can.

TG2
TG2

I don't blame the author ... I blame the subject. Multi monitor wow.. as if that wasn't in place from XP onward. ... oh .. I see they "tweaked" a few things.. like people couldn't add most or *all* of those features with add-on applications, some fully free .. some not.. The biggest detractor .. having to put up with Metro .. no thanks. Will stick with XP on my old machine, and 7 on my new till or if microsoft eventually stops treating any group like the unwanted step child ... which is what metro is doing to desktop computing... we don't have 5000 dollar table touch screens, and I'm not sitting closer to my screen so I can reach up and touch it .. Great Going Microsoft .. again finding a way to "stick-it" to people and force them into what you want to do ... I guess the people that own stock are happy, because microsoft doesn't "waste money" on two project threads at once ... just one.. lets go tablet ... even when your installed base doesn't have them, and even when they sit down to use it professionally with a keyboard ... it doesn't adjust to keyboard and mouse centric use..

wyattharris
wyattharris

Confining Metro looks like a good way to go, thanks.

jacklstallings
jacklstallings

Now, if only there were an easy way to use two external monitors and the Dell E6520 laptop monitor simultaneously without resolution incompatibilities on Windows 7!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

To go to the Single Page Entry with the same thing. TR provides both formats as well as having links to each format with each entry on the first page and you can chose to view what is best for your needs. However if the Slide Show doesn't render well on some platforms I fail to see just how viewing it on 1 page is going to make things any better. ;) OH and the link to the single page entry is http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/gain-a-productivity-advantage-with-windows-8-and-multiple-monitors/6285?tag=content;siu-container Col

dennywayne
dennywayne

With multiple task bars, you are able to "Pin" the programs of your choice to any monitor of your liking and not clutter up a single task bar.

inertman
inertman

while i have yet tot ry this, but will, it doesnt address the issue of the start menu opening progams where it resides and not on the last screen they were used. seems like this is simple enough for 7, why not 8? edit. I did try this and the short cuts on the task bar show on both screens and cannot be removed from 1 or the other, only show on both or removed from both. further, they don't assign a start up screen for the app either. some apps will start on the last screen, mostly only windows apps like media center, but not all.