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When I am home or on a business trip, or on a meeting, I use my laptop in the usual way. When I get to work, I put it on the docking station and boot it with the lid closed. The image appears on the two displays connected to the docking station. On the left, there is an old monitor connected over VGA, on the right, a big widescreen connected over DVI.

Obviously, the videocard seems to think that the DVI is the primary output, and the VGA the secondary one. Thus Windows always displays the widescreen on the left and the old FSC monitor on the right. So when I want to move the mouse pointer from the (physically) left display to the (physically) right display, I have to move it from right to left, which is a usability nightmare.

Of course, I can just drag one display over the other one in the display properties, and then everything is as it should be. The catch: Windows remembers this only as long as it has the two displays. Every time it runs on the laptop display, it forgets the setting.

Physically switching the monitors isn't an option, for ergonomical reasons. I prefer to run the more important applications on the bigger screen with the better colourspace, and the shape of my desk forces me to sit off-center, so the more important applications should be shown on the right display.

Just switching the video ports doesn't help either. When I connect the big monitor over VGA, image quality deteriorates visibly.

So what I do now is: every time I bring the laptop to my desk, I boot it. I wait the whole 7 minutes of XP booting, syncing network drives, etc. Then I fire up the display properties, switch to the last tab, drag the widescreen display to the right, and close. Only then can I start working. Does someone have a better idea?

The laptop is a Dell Latitude 630 with Windows XP SP 3. It has an nVidia graphics card (not an onboard chip).

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ultramon is an application specifically designed to aid multi monitor usage and it supports setting up profiles of your monitors which can be easily switched from your systray.

Display profiles make it easy to switch between different desktop configurations. A profile stores the display mode, position and state (enabled/disabled) of each monitor, as well as which monitor is primary.

If your computer is used by more than one person, you can use display profiles to set up custom display configurations for each user. Whenever a user logs in, his or her display settings will be applied.

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It also has many more features such as adding a task bar to each display which shows the apps running per display, window buttons to quickly swap displays or stretch across all displays and more

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Ultramon is wonderful. I've used it for years. –  Sam Mar 26 '10 at 16:14
    
Me too, I bought my licence in 2006. –  Shevek Mar 26 '10 at 17:21
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try out the dual monitor software and you will have to press only one keyboard key to change or enable or disable monitors.

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