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I have a new docking station and monitor for my Windows XP work laptop. I've set it up so my monitor is the primary display and the laptop display is secondary.

However I have an irritating problem: every time I open a new application it opens on the laptop's screen even though it's secondary. Can I fix it somehow to always open on the primary monitor? Even an explanation why this is happening would be helpful even if it cannot be fixed!

The display adapter is an NVIDIA Quatro FX 880M. The laptop is a Lenovo W510.

EDIT: I messed around with my KVM switch. Now all of a sudden the icons moved to the secondary display in the desktop but now ALL the programs open in the right window. Ridiculous but now it works.

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Windows uses a simple algorithm for window placement: it offsets each new window down, and to the right of the last one, offset by the height of the titlebar. After a certain point, it loops back and starts from near the top-left corner again. I suspect that a multi-monitor layout somehow interferes with this. – Synetech Aug 15 '11 at 7:10

Are you sure you don't have any manufacturer-specific drivers affecting that? I have used static two-display configuration on Windows XP and Windows 7 for long time, and windows by default always open to the primary screen, except some better programs remember their last position and open there.

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Well there probably are manufacturer specific drivers, it's a laptop and thus far all of my laptops have had many manufacturer specific programs with it. After using the new configuration I've noticed that most of my programs open in the right window now that I've moved to the right window. There's still some programs that just wont open in the right window but maybe it's an oversight on the developers part. – palto Aug 18 '11 at 10:55
In that case it would help if the model and maker of the laptop was revealed. And it boils down to "ask the helpdesk of the manufacturer". The behavior described is not Windows standard for what I can tell. – Zds Aug 18 '11 at 11:06

if it's an Intel adapter they have their own settings tab under Display Properties\advanced adapter settings. Those usually override whatever you set under the windows display properties.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Okay, seems like you can configure all kinds of thins from the Nvidia Control panel. I got everything now working perfectly. I used the Nvidia Display wizard to set support for multiple screens. I also found from there how to set different color settings for different screens.

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