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I have an old PC in the den without Video Card (I have to remove it after it start failing). I access it through Remote Desktop.
I don't want to invest in a new video card since the PC is old.

If I buy a USB monitor I can use it as a secondary monitor in the main pc, and plug to the old PC when need.

The question is:
Does the USB monitor work during booting before the OS was loaded?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I very much doubt that a USB monitor will display anything during OS boot, and I'm certain it will not during earlier parts of the boot process (when the BIOS is in control).

From the prices I have seen the price difference between a USB monitor and a DVI or VGA monitor is much larger than a cheap graphics card would cost (larger still if you consider 2nd hand cards) so unless you need a USB monitor specifically for other reasons (yur main PC has no more unused VGA/DVI outputs, or you specificity want one of the small monitors not a full size one) you would be better of getting a DVI/VGA monitor and a cheap graphics card for the currently headless server.

Also, if the old machine is very old and so only has USB 1.1 ports you may have trouble as all the USB run monitors I've seen specify requiring USB 2.

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You are right. I found a new PCI card for $8 + $5.45 shipping. Hard to beat. I guess I was looking for a excuse to buy the cute little monitor :) – Eduardo Molteni Feb 24 '10 at 16:11
There is nothing wrong with trying to justify new toys. Well, that is what I keep telling myself! – David Spillett Feb 24 '10 at 17:28

As David said, I also doubt that info will be shown on a USB monitor...

But, on Mimo's FAQ, here what it's written:

Can I use my Mimo monitor as my primary (and only) display? Generally Mimo monitors only function as additional displays, not primary displays. However, preliminary testing has been successful using the Mimo as the only display for Intel-based Mac Mini computers (once the display driver has been installed).

So it's possible but needs some config.

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Thanks for your input. – Eduardo Molteni Feb 24 '10 at 16:12
this may work because the mac is EFI-based, not BIOS-based; i believe EFI can take "drivers" or plugins to extend its base functionality. a BIOS-based PC won't have this capability. – quack quixote Apr 19 '10 at 19:25
  • First you have to install it as secondary, you can do that from Remote Desktop.
  • Reboot the machine. It won't display anything until Windows starts and loads USB monitor's drivers. After the start-up sequence completes Windows will display the primary desktop.
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