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This may be a general problem for all Windows XP portables, I don't know, I don't have a dedicated Windows portable.

I'm running a MacBookPro Unibody (so it's using the Nvidia 9600M chip under Windows XP SP2).

Is there any way to get my external monitor to be the "main"?

Even when I use the Nvidia Control Panel to move the task bar to my external monitor, games still refuse to run on anything other than the internal monitor. (In full screen mode, of course, if it's in a window, I can drag it to the other screen, no problem)

I know I'm missing something elementary here.

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Have you tried installing the latest drivers from NVIDIA ? My unibody MBP had a few issues with games until I did that - the driver supplied by the Boot Camp disc didn't seem to be up to scratch.

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You may be on to something here. I have noticed that setting the external monitor as main works fine in Windows 7, but that could be due to more recent drivers. – mmc Aug 16 '09 at 15:28

I haven't tried with my new 13" unibody, because I don't have the adapter.

However, I remembered trying with my old 15" 1st generation MBP, and could not do this for a few reasons:

  1. The OSX driver didn't have the facility for it.
  2. I could not install the official driver from ATI, since the card was not recognized by the installer.

It works under OSX, so there's no hardware reason why it shouldn't work. However, as I found out with a recent friend who attempted to switch (and failed) that the computing experience under Windows just isn't as great as it is under OSX.

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I don't know if you can, but have you tried dragging the game to the other screen and then making it go full-screen as a workaround? I know that doesn't really answer your question, but at least a workaround is better than nothing.

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My recommendation would be to not use the nVidia control panel for this and instead use the Display Properties control panel. On the last tab of the Display Properties window, there's an option near the bottom to select which monitor is your primary one.

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Neither that one nor Nvidia's, under Windows XP, will allow you to make any monitor other than the laptop's internal monitor the primary. – mmc Aug 30 '09 at 13:59

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