Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a Wndows XP machine with an Intel Core i5-2400 processor with integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 2000) and two monitors hooked up to it.

I would like to have the Windows desktop span these two monitors like they were one giant monitor, meaning the task bar would go along the full bottom of both screens instead of just the primary monitor's.

Furthermore, it bothers me that whenever I lock Windows and then unlock it, windows that were going across both screens (like Visual Studio) have been resized to fit on the first screen.

My old Matrox graphics card had otions for both of these things (essentially lying to the OS that there was OS there was one giant instead of two monitors). However, I haven't been able to find any corresponding settings in Intel's graphics otions. Does Intel support them too? Maybe via some non-obvious registry setting?

Or maybe there is a third-party tool to enable this functionality? I have seen some that look like they could solve the taskbar issue, but nothing I have seen so far seems to be able to make the force-windows-on-one-screen stop.

share|improve this question
    
There are plenty of applications (DisplayFusion being the best that comes to mind) that will give you duplicate taskbars, which is way better than doing this old-fashioned spanning because windows behave properly - you can still maximize to just one monitor, etc. There are better ways to accomplish multi-monitor workflow than spanning these days, thank goodness! –  Shinrai Feb 7 '12 at 16:23
    
@Shinrai Thanks for suggesting DisplayFusion, that seems to solve my task bar problem nicely. Even though it doesn't make the force-windows-on-one-screen stop. Why don't you post your comment as an answer so I can accept it? –  PersonalNexus Feb 8 '12 at 17:51
    
Yeah, that second behavior is not something I've seen - I'm guessing it's a consequence of that particular graphics driver and/or chipset disabling the secondary output while the machine is locked (at which point Windows will shuffle everything back onto the primary). Most systems don't do this, but I've not tried these exact graphics, so I'm just conjecturing. If that's the case there's probably no good workaround. –  Shinrai Feb 8 '12 at 17:54
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

(Posting comment as answer, per OP's request)

There are plenty of applications (DisplayFusion being the best that comes to mind) that will give you duplicate taskbars, which is way better than doing this old-fashioned spanning because windows behave properly - you can still maximize to just one monitor, etc. There are better ways to accomplish multi-monitor workflow than spanning these days, thank goodness!

That second behavior is not something I've seen - I'm guessing it's a consequence of that particular graphics driver and/or chipset disabling the secondary output while the machine is locked (at which point Windows will shuffle everything back onto the primary). Most systems don't do this, but I've not tried these exact graphics, so I'm just conjecturing. If that's the case there's probably no good workaround.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 do not support the task bar across multiple monitors. There might be some 3rd party software that "might" be able to offer that, but I think their success rate was somewhat spotty.

The forth coming Windows 8 will support that.

After years of offering only the bare minimum dual monitor support with its operating systems, Microsoft has finally decided to change things for the better. The recently released Developer’s Preview of Windows 8 has added better dual-monitor support natively to the OS, letting you extend your wallpaper across multiple monitors as well as extending your taskbar across them automatically, without the need for any third-party apps.

In the previous versions of Windows like Vista and 7, dual-monitor support was there but at the very barebones level. Windows extended neither the wallpaper nor the taskbar to the secondary monitor, so users were left with duplicate wallpapers and no operating system control on one of the screens. Many users installed third-party apps to add this functionality and while it worked for some, it didn’t standardize things in any way. With Windows 8, all that has changed.

share|improve this answer
1  
Well, I guess then my old graphics card driver "lied" to the operating system by telling it there was one giant monitor instead of two separate ones, to enable this functionality. –  PersonalNexus Feb 7 '12 at 16:14
1  
@PersonalNexus - That's exactly what it did. –  Shinrai Feb 7 '12 at 16:31
add comment

This tool: http://www.mediachance.com/free/multimon.htm will help with the taskbar issue. In addition, this tool: http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/ will make your experience with dual monitors in Windows much more enjoyable as a whole.

share|improve this answer
    
You realize Ultramon already does taskbar extension, right (albeit poorly)? These tools are a bit redundant. –  Shinrai Feb 8 '12 at 17:56
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.