How to Add Dual Monitor Support

Adding a second monitor is really easy. All you need is a spare monitor and a spare graphics card.

Add the graphics card to a spare slot and start your computer. All being well, following some possible plug-n-play shenanigans, you'll see an extra card in the list of devices:

Plug your monitor in to this new card and Windows will probably detect it and configure your PC to use it. Now, right click your desktop and open Display Properties. You'll see an extra screen appears:

You can now tell Windows which to use as the primary screen and where to position the other. It's really as easy as that.

Well, it's easy to setup. Using a PC in this mode takes a little getting used to. Not all programs support it that well (I can think of one in particular, but I won't name names). Once you get used to the nuances though you'll love it. I promise.

Not only is it easy, it's cheap. When I bought the Sony 14" TFT (Mike and I had gone shopping on the Tottenham Court Rd) 3½ years ago it cost me a massive £450. It seems you can't even buy a new 14" TFT monitor now, but you can get a decent 17" one for less than £200. The graphics card doesn't need to be anything fancy and would probably cost about £20.

If you want to mimic my setup - with a 14" screen to simulate low-end users with laptops and 1024px or 800px displays - I bet you could get both bits of kit on eBay for less than £100.


  1. Interesting Jake. I always thought that you needed two graphics cards of exactly the same model to do what you have done... hmmm. I have an old 14" CRT monitor and I'm sure there is also a graphics card somewhere...

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Fri 2 Sep 2005 05:41 AM

    I'd always thought it would be tricky too. The spare card I used is a really low spec one that I literally had in the bottom of a box of junk.

    • avatar
    • Mark
    • Fri 2 Sep 2005 07:33 AM

    As an alternative if you have a fairly new Graphics card the chances are you will have both a DVI input and VGA Input which allows you to connect 2 monitors (1 DVI & 1 VGA) to 1 card.

    On my Nvidia card I can even stretch 1 window across 2 screens which gives a resolution of 2308. Good for large pictures not much else ;-)

    • avatar
    • PaulG
    • Fri 2 Sep 2005 07:36 AM

    Have you seen/Do you use Ultramon?


    I find that it helps with the start bar and keeping applications in place...

  2. Hi Jake,

    I'm thinking that I might know what program will remain nameless, and thought I might offer this. Open whatever item you want in the program. Go to the desktop, and right click on the tab for the specific item you want to open in the other monitor. From the menu select "Open new window". When the tab opens in a new window, click on the header bar and drag it to the other monitor. I've done this with someone in our office, and it worked well. You should be able to do this with any tab that you have open in the workspace.

  3. We were issued Dell Latitude|D600 laptops this year and they support dual monitors out of the box.

    It is really nice to have your developer client in the main window (in my case an hp 1730 TFT) and the website/application in the secondary window ( the laptop screen).

    Dell makes a nice stand that lets me have the two screens side by side.

    Very nice to just drag and drop between the windows.

  4. When I am working in Lotus Designer I have problems with my properties box. If I have Designer on my secondary screen (the one without the Windows Start button) everytime I bring up the properties box it appears on the primary screen (with start button). No matter how hard I try I cannot drag the box of to my development screen.

    Anybody have any ideas about fixing this?



    • avatar
    • Rich
    • Fri 2 Sep 2005 08:29 AM

    @jason - yes have the same problem, no, no fix that I can see. Photoshop isn't a saint either..

    However, another gotcha - if you use a dual setup for designer in one window and client in another, beware if you return to a single monitor setup. Notes will still try to open whichever one you had in the 2nd screen, resulting in it apparently not working....it took me hours to work this one out - not even a reinstall of notes worked. The trick - have a look at the Notes.ini. You'll see some variables that are (iirc) minus co-ordinates - set those to something sensible and all will be well.

    NB - the notes reinstall didn't work because I'd not obliterated the existing notes.ini....


    • avatar
    • Kim
    • Sat 3 Sep 2005 04:50 AM

    @Jake / @Mark

    Do you know if it is possible to have more than 2 monitors on a single computer? I have run this setup (2 monitors that is) for a couple of years now) but sometimes needs even more space :-D


    The only thing you can do about the properties box is to drag it by the left-most pixel or right-most pixel into the far left or right of the screen. Then it will show up on the other screen (besides the single pixels you drag by of course). This works for me. However,.... there seems to always be a "but" in Notes :-( .... When you select a drop-down (fx. the Database|Form|Text) it will show up on the other monitor... that is the monitor with only one row of pixels of the properties box.

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Sat 3 Sep 2005 07:31 AM

    Kim. I've been wondering that recently too. If you look at the site PaulG linked to there's evidence that you can. It says it supports up to 10! This page shows support for 3: {Link}

    • avatar
    • Kim
    • Sun 4 Sep 2005 12:38 PM


    I read all comments but did not walk through the link from PaulG. If I had I would have found out that XP supports 10 screen! And with the UltraMon there is even support for even more screens... Just look here: 18 screens {Link}

    • avatar
    • Ross
    • Sun 4 Sep 2005 09:47 PM

    @Kim, yes you can - a guy I work with currently runs 3 monitors, and it seems to work fairly well. All you'd need is 2 cards with DVI/VGA and you could easily run 4 monitors, and so on and so on.

    ...or just buy yourself a 1920*1200 monitor ftw ^^

    • avatar
    • Carl
    • Sun 4 Sep 2005 10:35 PM

    Now that you have it running, load up Microsoft Flight Simulator, put the instrument panel, maps, gps etc. on one screen and have the front view on the other.

    Now if you do add other screens, you can add side views to the extra screens, looks amazing!

    • avatar
    • robin
    • Tue 20 Sep 2005 06:45 PM

    is there anyway i can do this with my onboard card?

  5. I have the two monitors set up - I don't know the commands in MS Flight Simulator 04 to move various panels from one monitor to the other. I try to "drag" them and it doesn't work. This is my first entry into a blog - if you can help, PLEASE send help to rbs23@bellsouth.net.

    Thank you, r.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Sat 29 Oct 2005 06:54 AM

    just found this. Very nice {Link}

  6. Is there a way to have a program to open automatically in the second display?

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