This step-by-step article describes how to configure and use multiple monitors in Windows XP.
Windows XP makes it possible for you to increase your productivity by using multiple monitors to expand the size of your desktop. With the use of up to ten individual monitors connected to a single computer, you can create a desktop that is large enough to hold numerous programs or windows. You can easily work on more than one task at a time by moving items from one monitor to another or by stretching them across numerous monitors. You can edit images or text on one monitor while you view Web activity on another monitor. Or you could open multiple pages of a single, long document, and then drag them across several monitors to easily view the layout of text and graphics. You could also stretch a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet across two monitors so you can view numerous columns without scrolling.
Arrange Multiple Monitors
One monitor serves as the primary monitor, and this monitor displays the Logon dialog box when you start your computer. In addition, most programs will display windows on the primary monitor when you initially open them. You can select different screen resolutions and different color quality settings for each monitor. Multiple monitors can be connected to individual video adapters or to a single video adapter that supports multiple outputs. To configure the arrangement of multiple monitors:
- Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
- Click Appearance and Themes, and then click Display.
- On the Settings tab, click Identify to display a large number on each of your monitors. This shows which monitor corresponds with each icon.
- Click the monitor icons and drag them to positions that represent how you want to move items from one monitor to another, and then click OK or Apply to view changes.
: The icon positions determine how you move items from one monitor to another. For example, if you are using two monitors and you want to move items from one monitor to the other by dragging left and right, place the icons side by side. To move items between monitors by dragging up and down, place the icons one above the other. The icon positions do not have to correspond to the physical positions of the monitors. You can place the icons one above the other even though your monitors are side by side.
Change Primary Monitor
- On the Settings tab of the Display Properties dialog box, click the monitor icon that represents the monitor you want to designate as the primary monitor.
- Click to select the Use this device as the primary monitor check box. Note that this check box is unavailable when you select the monitor icon that is currently set as your primary monitor.
View Same Desktop in Multiple Monitors
- On the Settings tab of the Display Properties dialog box, click the monitor icon that represents the monitor you want to use in addition to your primary monitor.
- Click to select the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor check box. After you enable this feature, you can drag items across your screen onto alternate monitors. Or, you can resize a window to stretch it across more than one monitor.
Move Items Between Monitors
- On the Settings tab of the Display Properties dialog box, click Identify to display a large number on each of your monitors. This shows which monitor corresponds with each icon.
- Click the monitor icons and drag them to positions that represent how you want to move items from one monitor to another, and then click OK or Apply.
- Drag an item on your desktop across your screen until it appears on the alternate monitor. Or, you can resize a window to stretch it across more than one monitor.
On many portable computers and some desktop computers (those with two video ports on one video card), you can expand your display to a second monitor by using Dualview. Dualview is very similar to the multiple monitor feature, with the exception that you cannot select the primary display. On a portable computer, the primary monitor is always the LCD display screen. On a desktop computer, it is the monitor that is attached to the first video out port. Once you attach the second monitor and turn on your computer, use the Display tool in Control Panel to configure your settings, just as you do with multiple monitors. You can use Dualview with docked or undocked portable computers.