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I am looking at moving onto a dual display for my Windows 7 Professional system. I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W500 and currently connect an external monitor via the VGA port. The Thinkpad also has a port for a DisplayPort ouput.

So - before I go buy a new monitor and a DisplayPort convertor (Monitors compatible with DisplayPort are not easy to come by where I am right now) - I just wanted to check that I have everything correct.

This will be my first time using a dual display setup, so please assume little knowledge here. I would like to have each monitor display different sections of the desktop i.e. not just show the same display but reproduced identically on the 2 monitors.

I was asking a guy in a hardware shop about this the other day, and he seemed to think that I would only be able to get the 2 monitors showing the same content. I'm 99.99% certain that the guys is wrong, but just wanted to double check that point. Also - much cheaper than DisplayPort-DVI adaptors are 2-1 VGA adapters i.e. connect two monitors to the one VGA output from my laptop. In this case I presume I would just get the same display reproduced twice, correct?

So - in summary, I would like dual display, with one monitor connected to my VGA output, and the other monitor connected (via an adaptor ... DisplayPort-DVI or DisplayPort-VGA) to the DisplayPort output from my Thinkpad W500.

All responses and comments are much appreciated!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I wouldn't recommend the 2-1 VGA approach since as you correctly pointed it will simply duplicate the content on both monitors. So, the VGA and DisplayPort-VGA approach is the most efficient way to go.

It's up to you how to configure the output - there is an option in Windows 7 in Screen Resolution window called Multiple displays that allows to extend the content or simply duplicate output. For even better experience (extended taskbar, different wallpapers, hot keys, etc.) you could also install some application to improve the productivity, i.e. DispalyFusion, UltraMon.

Also, keep in mind that in case of ThinkPad when you connect 2 external monitors the built-in screen will be off as only two may be active at one time.

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