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Multiple Monitors, Start Screen, and Desktop

    General discussion

  • Thanks to this post from Bruce Adams:

    http://social.Msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/eecfc8dc-a15f-48ce-abe2-9af6ef1c62cf#fa1d6ba6-062f-41fd-8e00-14594d59bc64

    I decided to play around with multiple monitors with Windows 8 using a
    VMware 8 virtual machine, and WOW! Thanks Bruce for posting this!

    I configured my virtual machine to have 2 monitors, started the virtual
    machine, set the view to the Desktop after logging in, set the virtual
    machine to run full screen, then toggled multiple monitors on. Initially
    both monitors were displaying the Desktop view and I noticed that only the
    main monitor had a Start button, the secondary monitor still had the
    Taskbar but the button on the far left looked different than the Start
    button. Initially I thought that perhaps I was in mirrored mode but then I
    noticed the mouse cursor was only on the primary monitor and that I could
    move it between the two.
    I moved the mouse to the secondary monitor and held it over the button on
    the task bar where the Start button should have been (I thought that
    perhaps there was just a graphics glitch). The tool tip read Move the
    Start screen here
    so I clicked it, and sure enough, the Start button moved
    to the secondary monitor. I then clicked the Start button and voila, Start
    screen and Metro apps on one monitor, and Desktop on the other!

    Thanks again for your post Bruce!


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    You depend too much on computers for information.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:44 PM

All replies

  • Hm, does that say that those of us who have two monitors now and would like them to have the Aero desktop on full time could get a 3rd monitor (e.g. with touch-screen capacity) to augment our existing systems, and have the best of both worlds.

     

    If so, this is the most encouraging thing I've learned since the Windows 8 Developer Preview was released!

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:47 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 14:47:29 +0000, Noel Carboni wrote:

    Hm, does that say that those of us who have two monitors now and would like them to have the Aero desktop on full time could get a 3rd monitor (e.g. with touch-screen capacity) to augment our existing systems, and have the best of both worlds.

    I'm not sure, and after playing around with this for a little while now,
    I'm not sure if the feature is as useful as I thought it was going to be.

    It would appear that if I have the Desktop on one monitor and the Start
    screen on the second, as soon as I click anywhere on the monitor displaying
    the Desktop that the monitor displaying the Start screen switches to
    display the Desktop as well. However, if I have a Metro app open on the
    second monitor, I can do what I like on the monitor that is displaying the
    Desktop without causing the other monitor to switch to the Desktop view.

    Also Noel, having read your other posts, I'm not sure how enthused you're
    going to be over this, as there's still no traditional Start menu on the
    Desktop screen.

    It does seem to me to be a step in a direction that will please a lot of
    people who have been complaining, and I'm hoping that given the fact that
    if I have a Metro app open, it doesn't switch to the Desktop that the issue
    with the Start screen is simply a bug.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Real time:  Here and now, as opposed to fake time, which only occurs there
    and then.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:10 PM
  • So there is NO start button of any kind on the Desktop screen?

     

    What happens when you put the cursor in the bottom left corner of the Desktop screen? 

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:10 PM
  • I'm confident that this developers preview is more Metro locked than it will be at release.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:14 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 15:10:51 +0000, CraigLaurin wrote:

    So there is NO start button of any kind on the Desktop?screen?

    If you've moved the Start screen to another monitor, then that is correct.

    What happens when you put the cursor in the bottom left corner of the Desktop screen?

    Not entirely sure what you'd expect to have happen but the answer is
    nothing.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Any program that runs right is obsolete.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:20 PM
  • Also Noel, having read your other posts, I'm not sure how enthused you're
    going to be over this, as there's still no traditional Start menu on the
    Desktop screen.


    I certainly wouldn't be opposed to learning to use touch on the Metro monitor to run some things ASSUMING Microsoft will separate the Aero Desktop from Metro cleanly.  Seems pretty obvious to me:  Make one monitor the Metro "Start and Metro Apps" screen, and additional monitors full-time desktop displays for legacy apps.

     

    Alternatively, you can be SURE there will be 3rd party development - e.g., continuation of the SourceForge ClassicShell project - that will put a reasonable Start button back over on the Aero Desktop.

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:30 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 15:10:48 +0000, Paul Adare wrote:

    I'm not sure, and after playing around with this for a little while now,
    I'm not sure if the feature is as useful as I thought it was going to be.

    It would appear that if I have the Desktop on one monitor and the Start
    screen on the second, as soon as I click anywhere on the monitor displaying
    the Desktop that the monitor displaying the Start screen switches to
    display the Desktop as well. However, if I have a Metro app open on the
    second monitor, I can do what I like on the monitor that is displaying the
    Desktop without causing the other monitor to switch to the Desktop view.

    After a little more playing around, it would appear that I need to play
    around this feature some more to understand exactly what happens when I
    click on the Desktop monitor. For example, I opened a Metro app on the
    second display and the still on the second display, I switched back to the
    Start screen. I then clicked on the Desktop on the first display and the
    second display switched from the Start screen back to the Metro app that I
    had opened.

    I'm going to see if I can get Bruce Adam's attention to help us out in this
    thread.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    People who deal with bits should expect to get bitten.  -- Jon Bentley

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:35 PM
  • Paul, are you using the default Microsoft display driver in your VM?  I couldn't get the VMware Tools SVGA driver to go in.

     

    I think I'll start testing dual monitors as you are...

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:40 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 15:40:11 +0000, Noel Carboni wrote:

    Paul, are you using the default?Microsoft display driver in your VM?? I couldn't get the VMware Tools SVGA driver to go in.

    Noel, no, I had no problems getting all of the VMware tools installed, so
    I'm using the VMware SVGA 3D (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM) driver. This is
    in VMware Workstation 8.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    /Earth is 98% full...  please delete anyone you can.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:45 PM
  • Yes, I have VMware Workstation 8 as well.

    Three times I tried installing VMware tools unsuccessfully, until I did Custom and left out the SVGA driver.  Thus I am currently running the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter.

    Perhaps I'll try again installing the driver...

    -Noel

    • Edited by Noel Carboni Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:53 PM
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:53 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 15:53:03 +0000, Noel Carboni wrote:

    Yes, I have VMware Workstation 8 as well.

    The RTM version?


    Three times I tried installing VMware tools unsuccessfully, until I did Custom and left out the SVGA driver.? Thus I am currently running the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter.

    I think you'll find that that driver won't drive more than one monitor. I
    started with VirtualBox and its video driver wouldn't install either and I
    couldn't get a second monitor working in the virtual machine.

    I seem to recall another post of yours that you'd done something with UAC?
    Perhaps that's the issue?

    I'll gather up and post all of the settings I have for this virtual
    machine, maybe it has something to do with the VM settings themselves. What
    error message do you get when it tries to install the video driver?


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Conversational mode: Describes the typical office the day after a major
    sporting event.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:06 PM
  • No, the attempt to install VMware Tools was one of the first things I tried after the fresh install of Win8.

     

    Is yours a 64 bit VM? Did you have 3D acceleration selected in the VM properties when installing?

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:10 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 16:06:05 +0000, Paul Adare wrote:

    I'll gather up and post all of the settings I have for this virtual
    machine,

    Memory - 2 GB
    Processors - 2, Virtualization engine - Automatic, other 2 check boxes
    unchecked
    Hard Disk (SCSI) - 60 GB, not preallocated, single file.
    CD - Use ISO image file
    Floppy - Autodetect
    Network Adapter - Bridged
    Display - 2 monitors, Accelerate 3D Graphics selected, Specify monitor
    settings select with 2 and a max resolution of 2560x1600

    I installed using the 64 bit ISO with the apps but not the dev tools and I
    selected a typical install and selected Windows 7 x64 while running the
    wizard to create the VM.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Congratulations!  You are the one-millionth user to log into our system.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:14 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 16:10:22 +0000, Noel Carboni wrote:

    Is yours a 64 bit VM? Did you have 3D acceleration selected in the VM properties when installing?

    Yes, and yes. I've posted all of my settings.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    Unprecedented performance:  Nothing ever ran this slow before.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:15 PM
  • Woohoo!  Got the VMware SVGA driver installed.  Thanks, Paul, for confirming it was possible so that I would try again.

     

    Wow, is it better to have it be smooth and quick!

     

    -Noel

    • Edited by Noel Carboni Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:22 PM
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:17 PM
  • The RTM version?

    Yes, I bought the upgrade a few days ago.  Seems pretty solid overall.

    I had to go through some black screens during the VMware Tools install in W8 (maybe the specific video card I have, an ATI 5670, was a factor) but after a forced reboot and installation of some Windows 8 Updates it's working, so I'm happy.

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:23 PM
  • I really hope so, because this whole "click the start menu on the desktop and you're back at the Metro start screen" thing is driving me TOTALLY INSANE!
    Steve Ives
    • Edited by Steve Ives Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:35 PM
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:34 PM
  • FYI, Paul, I've had to back down from using the SVGA driver...  It crashes, and while it works right after the install Windows 8 won't boot up with it in there.

    It may well be a problem with my ATI Catalyst 11.7 driver on my host, I don't know.  I say that because I saw things fail on the host desktop after trying the SVGA driver inside the VM.   I tried their 11.8 release and that caused other problems.

    So for now I wait for VMware to release a more compatible set of tools to run Windows 8.

    -Noel

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 4:28 PM
  • The start screen dismisses when it loses foreground. After it dismisses, you'll see whatever was on the screen prior to opening the start screen.

    As far as the desktop is concerned on the metro monitor, if a desktop window gets foreground on that monitor it switches to the desktop. If it didn't then the desktop window would take keyboard input but the user wouldn't be able to see it.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:37 PM
  • On Sun, 18 Sep 2011 22:37:03 +0000, Bret Anderson - MSFT wrote:

    The start screen dismisses when it loses foreground. After it dismisses, you'll see whatever was on the screen prior to opening the start screen.

    As far as the desktop is concerned on the metro monitor, if a desktop window gets foreground on that monitor it switches to the desktop. If it didn't then the desktop window would take keyboard input but the user wouldn't be able to see it.

    Thanks Bret!


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    You have junk mail.

    Monday, September 19, 2011 11:19 AM
  • Hi Paul (or anyone who knows the answer),
    I have a desktop with two monitors. The monitor on the left (primary) shows the Metro start screen, while the monitor on the left shows the "classic" desktop. Is there a way to make the Metro start screen span across both monitors? I can't seem to find it.
    Thanks,
    Gordon
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 1:13 AM
  • On Wed, 21 Sep 2011 01:13:43 +0000, Gordon_W wrote:

    I have a desktop with two monitors. The monitor on the left (primary) shows the Metro start screen, while the monitor on the left shows the "classic" desktop. Is there a way to make the Metro start screen span across both monitors? I can't seem to find it.

    Sounds like you're looking for horizontal spanning and leaving aside
    whether or not the Metro UI supports this, it would appear that since the
    introduction of the WDDM this is no longer possible. Here's a lengthy but
    interesting discussion of the topic:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itproperf/thread/0dec6e06-180a-4597-b48e-8076fa51b27a/


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    I am a computer -- dumber than any human and smarter than an administrator.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:02 AM
  • The short answer is that ATI and nVidia both have solutions to make multiple monitors appear as one. ATI's solution (Eyefinity) is more flexible though.

     

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:11 AM
  • Sounds like you're looking for horizontal spanning and leaving aside
    whether or not the Metro UI supports this, it would appear that since the
    introduction of the WDDM this is no longer possible.


    In the //build/ keynote, Steven Sinofsky specifically said something like "we've brought back spanning".  I don't know what he meant by that.  I don't think it was technically accurate per what "spanning" means to gamers etc.

     

    But beyond that, we note that with a dual monitor arrangement there now can be separate Taskbars for each monitor on the Aero desktop.  That's something Windows never did before, and it's pretty clear the rules are changing about the way multiple monitors are expected to be used.

     

     

    -Noel

    • Edited by Noel Carboni Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:07 PM
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:03 PM
  • I have extended monitors.

    I'm running the Metro Remote Desktop app and it runs on monitor 1.

    In a 'classic' desktop app I can put it in a window and drag it over to monitor 2, then maximize it and it runs on monitor 2, full screen.

    I can't see how to do this with a Metro app: it seems that Metro is only running on Monitor 1 and the Desktop is running across both screens 'underneath'.

    Snapping the Metro RD app just puts it in a smaller window on monitor 1.

    Any ideas?

    Rick

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 7:58 AM
  • I have extended monitors.
     
    I'm running the Metro Remote Desktop app and it runs on monitor 1.
     
    In a 'classic' desktop app I can put it in a window and drag it over to monitor 2, then maximize it and it runs on monitor 2, full screen.
     
    I can't see how to do this with a Metro app: it seems that Metro is only running on Monitor 1 and the Desktop is running across both screens 'underneath'.
     
    Snapping the Metro RD app just puts it in a smaller window on monitor 1.
     
    Any ideas?
    I just use the desktop version of remote desktop.
     
    If you spend your life in Metro, then I think the Metro RD would be great, but if you spend most of your time on the Windows 8 desktop then having RD as a Metro app is very disruptive.
     
    [I was only using a single screen when I was using Metro RD.]
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:20 PM
  • Well yes, that's what I've had to do! I had a play with moving the whole Metro Start button to Monitor 2 but that's not what I want.

    I do spend most of my life in the classic desktop but as with all new Microsoft things I want to give the new stuff a go: e.g. clicking a URL in Outlook opens the Metro IE so I'm seeing what it's like. (Rather limited and not very exciting IMO)

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:30 PM
  • Same sentiment, different day... 

     

    Metro and [a machine designed to run] the Desktop - e.g., a machine with multiple monitors - are simply not compatible.  Attempts to integrate them can't succeed, any more than a dog and a cat can make pupkits. 

    Metro has its merits - one being a "whole new application development paradigm", but let's call it what it is:  A complete fantasy to think there could be an evolution from a more powerful user interface to a toy!  Anyone with two monitors can see this clearly. 

     

    Hope springs eternal that Microsoft is going to cordon Metro off from desktop machines in its final release, but by golly they want to sell into every one of the billion Windows systems via their new app store, so you can imagine the utter futility of this hope.  Sigh.

     

    -Noel

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 6:43 PM