Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

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Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:00 pm

Hi guys,

I just scored a secondary 22" 16:10 1680x1050 monitor (TN) to go with my 24" 16:10 1920x1200 monitor (MVA). I currently have it set up as a secondary monitor in portrait mode for coding/scripting, word processing and/or browsing. I would also like to use it as a secondary display while gaming to browse, chat, and for the wife to look up alchemical ingredients while playing skyrim. I am using a Zotac Geforce GTX 660 2 GB and Windows 7 Home 64-bit.

Things I would like to do:

1. Extend and/or clone start menu and taskbar on the second display.

2. Be able to mouse over from the primary monitor while gaming so I can browse/chat/research etc. Some fullscreen games (Skyrim) don't like alt-tabbing out.

For #1, I'm aware of MultiMon but the free version hasnt't been updated in a while. Are there any good (preferably free) alternatives?

For #2, I'm thinking I can either run games in windowed fullscreen mode (natively supported in Valve games, controllable with an application in many other games) or use a program like Actual Multiple Monitor ($25). AMM does some taskbar extending as well.

To be honest, I'm pretty disappointed in the out of box multi monitor configuration from windows and nvidia. Any gerbils over here got any suggestions I should look at?
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:05 pm

Voldenuit wrote: 2. Be able to mouse over from the primary monitor while gaming so I can browse/chat/research etc. Some fullscreen games (Skyrim) don't like alt-tabbing out.
Instead of "Fullscreen" mode, set your game to run in "Windowed Fullscreen". This is exactly the behavior that you're looking for.

viewtopic.php?f=37&t=76540&p=1073255&hilit=#p1096129
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:54 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote: Instead of "Fullscreen" mode, set your game to run in "Windowed Fullscreen". This is exactly the behavior that you're looking for.

viewtopic.php?f=37&t=76540&p=1073255&hilit=#p1096129


Hm... Skyrim in windowed fullscreen doesn't let the mouse cursor move off the skyrim window onto another app. Alt-tabbing minimizes skyrim, which is not what I'm after, but I've also encountered a bug where both skyrim and the browser window stay up, but then I end up with two mouse cursors, one in skyrim and one on the second monitor, both of which track with the mouse and can lead to unintended clicks.

Boo. :(

EDIT: Someone on IRC suggested I try Shift-Tabbing into Steam overlay and mousing out then. Will give it a try, but Windowed Fullscreen seems to exact a noticeable performance toll in games.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:37 am

It's entirely dependent on the application to not lock your mouse into the window.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:31 am

ChronoReverse wrote:It's entirely dependent on the application to not lock your mouse into the window.


Yeah, and fullscreen windowed doesn't play well with all games either. For instance, Dishonored won't do 1920x1200, but will do 1920x1080, leaving a strip of taskbar and desktop exposed.

Also, Skyrim doesn't seem to accept shift-tab for me, so shift-tabbing doesn't free the mouse from the confines of the window.

Never realized that multi-monitor gaming/windows was still so unpolished in win 7. I've been using it at work for a couple years now, but obviously don't game at work.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:41 am

Thing is, it works fine in Windows7/8. The problem is entirely in the application.

For example, Diablo 3 runs slightly _better_ in fullscreen windowed on my system and will let the mouse unlock.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:27 pm

Sooo... anybody got any suggestions for item no. 1. (multimon alternatives)?

I've just realized that nview does not install with the nvidia drivers on Win7 x64. I might try manually extracting and installing the executable from the .cab file. Anyone on Win7 x64 used it? Anyone suggest any other alternatives?

I've pretty much given up on item 2 (gaming on primary monitor with quick access to secondary monitor) as windowed fullscreen has turned out to be buggy and problematic with the few games I've tried it out on.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:24 pm

Windowed Fullscreen mode works great with Guild Wars 2 and Borderlands 2.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:21 am

OK, looks like I got a workable solution with nview and windowed fullscreen.

nview lets me span the taskbar across displays* and provides an alternative task-switcher that seems a bit more windowed-fullscreen friendly than the windows task switcher. I am using game companion to automatically launch some games (like skyrim) in windowed fullscreen mode.

Still something of a kludge, and nview still feels like an XP app, and it doesn't work with all games. Feels weird to have so many caveats for something that I expected to be a painless out-of-box experience.

* EDIT: Apparently the option to span the taskbar only works on my quadro work laptop and doesn't show up on my home GTX 660 setup. Boo.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:38 am

ChronoReverse wrote:It's entirely dependent on the application to not lock your mouse into the window.


I second this... My home setup is a 3 monitor. I've played some games without screen lock and Full Screened (Batman Arkham Asylum I seem to remember) and the experience was near seemless other than the occaisional time my mousing took the pointer to the other monitors.
The issue is the window locking many games feel they need. Other games like to pause or blank screen when the window loses focus... which is incredibly annoying.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:37 pm

Arvald wrote:The issue is the window locking many games feel they need. Other games like to pause or blank screen when the window loses focus... which is incredibly annoying.


Yeah, I remember reading the TR triple-monitor gaming article 6 months ago and thinking the landscape back then was less than seamless (no pun intended).

I foolishly thought that if I wasn't using the second monitor for gaming, it would be relatively painless, but multi-monitor setups are less polished than I would like still. For non-gaming uses, I use a dual monitor setup at work and I just got a dock and external monitor for my wife's thinkpad, and I think they're a great boost to productivity. But for gaming (especially mixn'match gaming, when you're using the secondary monitor for something else), I don't think we're where we should be yet.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:45 pm

better than Vista when I played WoW and only had 2 monitors... fullscreen would blank the second screen.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:54 pm

Over the holidays, I picked up 3 23" monitors and a Sapphire 7950 Flex video card, which lets me run three displays without having to resort to display port connectors.

I've found glitches with nearly all games. The only game I have that isn't borking all over the place with locked cursors, screwed up menus (Hi there Borderlands 2) and nasty FoV that leave the sides really stretched out is EVE Online. That game loves multiple monitors.

If it weren't for my love of EVE Online (and having mutliple accounts) I would have returned the monitors and spent the cash on a single large screen with a high resolution instead.

PC Video games, as a general rule, do not like multiple monitors.

AMD's Eyefinity fixes the Start menu/task bar, but it will flip from across all three to just the center monitor now and then. Very annoying.

I don't see it getting any better though, with so many game developers creaming their pants over developing for consoles, and MS with their wonderfully borked Metro/Modern/we-don't-know-what-we're-doing Windows 8.

Sorry I have no solutions, other than save your cash and get a nice large monitor with high resolution. Multi screen only seems to work well in the business world.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:34 pm

someuid wrote:AMD's Eyefinity fixes the Start menu/task bar, but it will flip from across all three to just the center monitor now and then. Very annoying.


It's pretty sad that nvidia doesn't do this out of the box (taskbar spanning). nview is quadro-specific, and to use it on consumer GPUs you have to run some hacks.

Win8 is supposed to have "better" multi-monitor support, but I haven't set up the dock for the Thinkpad (which is our only Win8 machine) to see how it does yet.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:08 am

Voldenuit wrote:Win8 is supposed to have "better" multi-monitor support, but I haven't set up the dock for the Thinkpad (which is our only Win8 machine) to see how it does yet.

Win8 "duplicates" the taskbar across all screens (except the tray and the "hot corners" I believe). It is actually quite usable IMO.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:22 am

Flying Fox wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:Win8 is supposed to have "better" multi-monitor support, but I haven't set up the dock for the Thinkpad (which is our only Win8 machine) to see how it does yet.

Win8 "duplicates" the taskbar across all screens (except the tray and the "hot corners" I believe). It is actually quite usable IMO.


I recently found DualMonitor Taskbar whish spans the taskbar on the secondary display. I can choose to have programs associate with the taskbar on the monitor they're on, or to clone all apps across both taskbars. There's also a beta feature to duplicate the start button on the secondary display, which can be handy if you're fullscreen gaming on the primary monitor and want to launch new programs. The start button feature is a little buggy still, hopefully they'll fix it in future releases.
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Re: Multi Monitor and Windows 7 - Apps and options

Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:47 am

Flying Fox wrote:Win8 "duplicates" the taskbar across all screens (except the tray and the "hot corners" I believe). It is actually quite usable IMO.
Win8 duplicates the hot corners to every screen but the systray is only available on your "primary" screen.

The nice thing about Win8 is that it also lets you configure how you want your icons to display. on the taskbar. Under taskbar properties, you can configure it to show taskbar buttons on "All taskbars" (default, I think), "Taskbar where window is open", and "Main taskbar where window is open".

Might also be worth mentioning that the start screen also appears on the last screen you opened it with if you hit the Windows key. By default, it is on your primary display, but if you open it using the left hot corner and close it, it will continue to open there.
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