This is a collection of cool things to do with dual monitors that will increase your efficiency and creativity.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned through the years while working with multiple monitor setups. Feel free to add additional recommendations in the comments below
Use Secondary Monitor for Remote Desktop Session
Enable the option to Allow Users to Connect Remotely in My Computer > Properties > Remote. Be sure your account on the PC you want to be able to remote into has this setup correctly and also be sure that the account has a password associated with the user.
By using this technique, you can have the functionality of two PCs minus the other computer!
Obviously, you need to be sure to have the PCs on a network. Then just open up the remote desktop client by going to Start Menu > Programs > Accessories > Communications > Remote Desktop Connection.
Now, as long as all of your computers are on the same workgroup/network, you can just type in the name of the PC you wish to control. This can be found by clicking My Computer > Properties > Computer Name.
You can change many things in the advanced menu of the Remote Desktop Connection such as allowing access to hard drives or printers. You can even send the sound from the remote computer to your PC which is easier than shoutcasting!
Show Off Cool Winamp Visualizations
My favorite thing to show off my multiple monitors is through Winamp visualizations. Make sure you have the AVS visualization installed with winamp. This also requires that your video card able to display overlays.
- Move winamp and the visualization window to the secondary monitor.
- Go into the AVS settings by right-clicking and chosing AVS Editor.
- The AVS Editor box will popup, go to Settings > Display.
- On the right side, check Overlay Mode.
This is fantastic for parties where you can be running sound from your primary monitor with trippy winamp effects kicking on the crowd-facing secondary monitor.
Most chronic photoshop users use multiple monitors. The most common setup is move all the toolbars and menus to the secondary monitor while keeping the main image workspace active on the primary monitor. This makes Photoshop workflow very natural.
Ultramon is an amazing program for managing windows and taskbars with multiple monitor configurations. For example, the Smart Taskbar function is awesome as it gives each monitor its own taskbar. Also, ultramon will save your icon positions as icons have a tendency to change positions after rebooting in dual boot configurations. Setting up hotkeys to send windows to your secondary monitor is also a key feature. The Ultramon screensaver lets you run separate screen savers on each monitor. I have the matrix code on one and a movie of a campfire on the other.
Switching to Clone Mode
Once you have your multiple monitor setup configured and working so you have two separate desktops. You may need to go back to one desktop but have that desktop mirrored onto two monitors. For example, I frequently use this mode while friends are watching me a play a game.
Typically, there are multiple ways to do this, and the first place to look is for any ATI or Nvidia application that is running in the System Tray. If it is not found there, go to the Display select of the Control Panel and select to Duplicate the Displays.
Everything does not clone perfectly. Movies are notorious for not playing correctly. Look into adjusting the specifics in the your video card control application if you have issues.
General Windows and Office Tips
Most people are not aware, but you can drag and drop files and documents into applications. Frequently, on one monitor I will have Windows Explorer opened to my Documents folder. On the other monitor I will have Photoshop opened. I can just drag my images over to Photoshop and it will open them instantly. Keeping your file system open in one monitor, and your working applications open in another is a very common method for utilizing a dual monitor configuration.