Dual Displays Double Your Desktop

If you have two PCI or AGP video adapters and a spare monitor, MultiMon will let you expand your Desktop horizons. -- Sidebar to The Essential Guide to Installing Win98
Wouldn't you love to have just a little more space to spread out your apps? Sure that hulking 21-inch monitor expanded your display area, but resizing and shuffling windows around just to see three more lines of another application can be a real pane, if you'll pardon the pun. What you really need is a second monitor.

Win98's MultiMon feature lets you extend your Desktop across two monitors, giving you access to two maximized documents at a time. The monitors display two parts of a shared Desktop, and you can move your mouse pointer between them, dragging program windows, Desktop icons and folders. That way, you can keep your e-mail app, frequently used spreadsheet, scheduler or terminal emulation program on one screen, and your real work on the other.

All you need are two PCI or AGP video adapters, the right drivers and a spare monitor. Your primary adapter need not support MultiMon, but your secondary adapter must. At press time, Microsoft's list of supported video hardware included most cards based on ATI's mach64, RAGE and RAGE PRO video chips; those based on S3's Trio64V2 and ViRGE chips; Cirrus Logic's CL-GD5436- and CL-GD5446-based adapters; Tseng Labs' ET6000 engine; and many flavors of the Trident chips. We tested with ATI's All-in-Wonder Pro and Graphics 3D Xpression+. Both cards use variations on ATI's 3D RAGE chip, which is a variation on the mach64.

To set everything up properly, turn off your PC, install your second adapter and connect your second monitor. When you reboot, Windows should initialize both cards and boot to the primary adapter and monitor. If everything is working correctly, the monitor you wanted as your primary will boot Windows normally, and the other will display a DOS screen with the message: "If you can read this message, Windows has successfully initial ized this display adapter."

Because your PC's BIOS determines which is the primary video card, Windows may boot to your secondary display. If it does, swap the order of the cards in their slots. If only one monitor displays anything, you may have a slot conflict; try moving one of the cards to a third slot. Another possibility is one of your cards doesn't support MultiMon or may need to have a jumper reset. Contact the manufacturer to find out.

Once both cards and displays are initialized, go to Control Panel/Display to configure your secondary video and monitor drivers. On the Settings tab, you'll see one monitor with the number 1 on it (your primary monitor) and another with the number 2 on it (your secondary monitor). Right-click on monitor number 2 and place a check mark beside Enabled to turn on MultiMon. Next, right-click on monitor number 2 to see its properties. (If you run into trouble, check the Adapter properties for monitor number 1.) Select the Monitor tab, click on Change and install the driver for your secondary monitor. As soon as you've configured and enabled both sets of video hardware properly, your secondary monitor will display your Desktop background color.

Microsoft warns some applications (it wouldn't say which) don't function perfectly in MultiMon yet. For instance, some program windows you drag to your secondary display may open on your primary display. Of the apps we tried, Word and Excel worked well; Eudora had a few minor problems. We'll have to wait and see if those problems are resolved in the shipping version.

Return to: The Essential Guide to Installing Win98

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