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I'm searching for a solution to split one physical monitor into two( or more?) virtual monitors.

Let's say I've a monitor (monitor_a) with the resolution of 1920*1080.
Now I want this monitor_a to be divided into (monitor_a(1)[960*1080]) and (monitor_a(2)[960*1080]).

Both virtual monitors (monitor_a(1) & monitor_a(2)) must be shown at any time. They must be handled just like physical monitors.

If I run an application in full screen on monitor_a(1), monitor_a(2) must not be affected, just as it would be another physical monitor.

Extended Difficulty:
I'm using several physical monitors of which not all are controlled by the same video controller (3 physical monitors @ Nvidia GTX 780, 1 physical monitor @ Intel HD 4600). The monitors use different ports (DP, DVI, HDMI)

EDIT / Additional info:
The machine is running Windows 7 64Bit Professional.
If no solution on Win7 is present, moving to Win10 is an option.

NOTE:
I do NOT want to expand the desktop behind the physical limits of the monitor (Virtual Desktop).
Instead I want to divide the physical monitor into two ( or more) virtual monitors.
If the difference is unclear, please state in the comments, so I can describe further.

I need this for productivity. Using virtual machines would be too bulky and disturbing against the workflow.

EDIT #2:
Best I could find so far is https://www.displayfusion.com/ Seems pretty powerful, can create virtual monitors with some fancy features. However, it cannot limit a full screen application to run on a virtual monitor ("yet" according to their forum)

enter image description here

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    It has been over 3 years since you asked this question, and none of the answers provide exactly what you were (and now I am) looking for. Any insights?
    – Lockszmith
    Jun 21, 2019 at 16:47
  • There's only ONE true way to make a virtual monitor. And that is to buy a dummy display emulator adaptor: amazon.com/dp/B074FT1P8M/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_HdTEEbXET5JYY
    – samjco-com
    Mar 25, 2020 at 3:34
  • @samjco can you explain how that will work? I have one hdmi port which is connected to my wide monitor. Mar 5, 2021 at 17:41
  • Any solution for this? The dummy adaptor wont work, because it treated as a different display. Not splitting the existing one into two.
    – jona
    Sep 17, 2022 at 8:32
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    It works, I tested this out with the display adapter amazon.com/gp/product/B07FB8GJ1Z 2 physical and 2 virtual monitors the 2nd physical is used to display both 3 + 4 (totals 3 visible monitors)
    – AntonB
    Sep 22, 2022 at 0:55

6 Answers 6

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I use DisplayFusion and while the screen splitting functionality works well, it can't overcome applications (games, browser videos that you make "full screen", etc) that tell Windows they want to go full screen. So it works well enough for workaday needs, anything that wants raw access to a display for full-screen stuff will just ignore the splits you've setup with DisplayFusion.

There is a whole thread about this on their support forum -- https://www.displayfusion.com/Discussions/View/fullscreen-video-in-split-window/?ID=58d293bf-a1fe-4b2a-be82-c770407005d5.

I'm actually surprised in an era of 4k, 5k and maybe soon 8k monitors that video card vendors haven't come up with a way to implement splitting at the display card level. The card would know what your actual monitor is, but would present the OS with info that suggested the "monitors" connected were however you sliced up that display space.

The OS could then use/manage these as if they were physical monitors and things like full-screen modes would be constrained to the defined region of the larger monitor.

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    Thanks. I downloaded trial version of DisplayFusion and it works. Not completely as I would like to (you described some of the shortcomings in your answer) but not bad. Worth a try.
    – nightcoder
    May 12, 2017 at 15:50
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    It is indeed amazing that neither nVidia nor AMD have implemented this in their drivers. Would be quite a major selling point for many.
    – RomanSt
    Aug 5, 2018 at 22:39
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    At least one of them did. There's a tool from nVidia called nView Desktop Manager which is actually the only free tool I found that more or less solves OP's question. I'll add an answer explaining what it does.
    – T_D
    Jun 18, 2020 at 13:37
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    Having used nView over the years with various nVidia displays, I'm not sure that their gridline feature actually does any more than what DisplayFusion does now (minus all of DisplayFusion's existing features). It doesn't do the magical thing, which is present Windows with the defined regions with virtual physical displays. I looked at the existing nView documentation and it doesn't lead me to believe its gotten any smarter. Or it could be it's not possible at all (eg mandatory Windows APIs that can't be tricked into not revealing actual physical monitor info).
    – Mobocracy
    Jun 19, 2020 at 14:41
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    nView desktop manager only works for nVidia Quadro cards.
    – Danita
    May 3, 2021 at 14:18
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Ive seen and had few needs like this and I know exactly what your after.

I had the same problem and even more so with "Program" type ones to make the multi-monitor. I ended up using a multi monitor switch for mine so I could have different systems running on each of the monitors (3 CPUs on one and 2 CPUs on another) and "Physically" switched them. However this is not what youre after by what im seeing (or maybe im wrong).

My solution for this one is just splitting the screen by "Windows key + arrow" OR using the quick desktops("cntrl + Windows key + D") and organizing this way. Ended up a slight learning curve but now I have all of my development environments contained in each "Desktop" and "cntrl + windows key + arrow" to quick switch. Even have multiple browsers open and duplicated programs open on each one so when I hot switch its ready to go or is saved so I can pickup where I left off.

I still have 4 monitors but two are for Uptimes or communication and really aren't on my desk. When I hot switch I have those open on all so a switch doesn't stop someone from glancing over to see if the servers are up. So I only have 2 monitors on my desk but as of right now have 9 "Hot" desks going.

If im way off base just let me know and I'll remove this answer but from my situation which I think is kinda like yours this helped me a lot.

Note I run multiple OSes in different areas but this one im talking about is on a Windows 10 OS

Side note Also have heard from others this program helped:

Virtual Display Manager

but I have not used it since my fix was better for my need also one of the Ops girls I knew switched from this program to my way but again this is the other advice I'd give for the problem

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You can split a physical monitor into multiple displays by using dummy hdmi / dp adapters (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FB8GJ1Z).

Once the virtual adapters are plugged in, you can open OBS and get a feed from the virtual displays to a physical display.

The advantage here is that windows will treat these as 4 physical displays allowing you to run full screen apps on any of them.

enter image description here

To view the feed of the "virtual" displays you need OBS to view the output, and a physical display to actually see anything. I was surprised at how well it works, apps can run in full screen mode or however you want to set them up to run.

This does not use any screen splitting software, it runs natively on your GPU and I was able to run any app in full screen mode on display 3,4.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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Display Fusion Pro starting with version 5.1 has this capability.

Alas it is not in the free version as far as I know, however if you are looking to have this feature for your personal computers then you can find a cheaper version on steam, I bought a copy during a sale myself.

If you need it at work, I doubt that the price is too steep so see if your employer is willing to buy a license.

Here is a link to the comparison chart for the different versions.

All in all I can't help but endorse this software enough, it has helped me in many ways. Worth every penny.

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    Display Fusion is very nice tool, but it does not create "real virtual" monitors. This means that applications like Teams and PowerPoint are not bound to these virtual screens when they go full screen. Jan 20, 2021 at 7:07
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Maybe you could connect a second video cable to the monitor from the same PC, trick it into thinking there's 3 monitors. You would have to switch though.

I have a monitor I use with 2 PCs, so one or the other gets dual monitor. When I used a (cheap $10 with remote) HDMI switch, Windows 7 would detect the change and switch all my apps around. So I reconnected using HDMI from one PC and DVI from the other. Now the desktops are safe, but I have to hit the button on the monitor, which would be fine except it's flaky and requires special attention every time, but that's another issue.

Actual Window Manage has a Desktop Divider feature. You can tell AWM very specifically what programs should open where based on class, caption, and file path/name. http://www.actualtools.com/windowmanager/help/features/windowmenu.php#putintodividertile The full package is 49.95. I'm a fan, but benefit in no way by promoting it.

I'm here today because AWM doesn't do something I need, but probably no program does. I may need a magic wand.

AWM is the only one I've used for dividing the screen, but there are plenty others. https://www.nvidia.com/object/nview-display-us.html

Here: http://displaylink.com/downloads/multi-monitor-tools#download you'll find... Millions of satisfied users are already using Actual Multiple Monitors today. However if you find a problem on your PC, or if you have an idea for a great new feature, please contact Actual Tools, the authors of Actual Multiple Monitors.

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  • Here displaylink.com/downloads/multi-monitor-tools#download you'll find... Millions of satisfied users are already using Actual Multiple Monitors today. However if you find a problem on your PC, or if you have an idea for a great new feature, please contact Actual Tools, the authors of Actual Multiple Monitors. --> Oops. I had not got that far in looking at DisplayLink, just saw that it would do dividers.
    – Suresurep
    May 25, 2016 at 4:20
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After struggling with splitting one physical monitor into two or more virtual monitors myself, I feel I can summarize the answer into two "tools" that can both be be used to create the configuration that works best for a particular workflow.

There are two-main methods - software-based virtual monitors and hardware-based picture-by-picture (BPB). PBP is only available via the monitor so I recommend folks purchase monitors with BPB functionality and appropriate # of ports, so they have this option.

  1. Virtual monitors. Recommended use: Gaming, video editing, software development, etc. but light office work. With this solution, a monitor can be split into any combination of virtual monitors.

However, this solution does not work well with desktop sharing via business communication software/videotelephony (e.g. Zoom, MS Teams, Webex, Google Meet, etc.) To enable desktop sharing with virtual monitors a user must mirror their virtual monitor to a window. The window is then shared via the communications software, rather than a real desktop. This mirroring is done in software so users should have a really good cpu/gpu or otherwise they’ll have performance issues. The mirroring is done via a polling interval. This is usually configurable. This polling interval can cause image lags if it can’t be adjusted. Shorter interval affects CPU/GPU. If a user also wants to record desktops with software such as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) they will also require this method which is not ideal.

Examples of virtual monitor software are: DisplayFusion, Matrox PowerDesk, MaxTo (formerly WinSplit Revolution), UltraMon, Microsoft PowerTools FancyZones (free) and Actual Multiple Monitors.

  1. Picture-by-Picture (PBP). Recommended use: Heavy office work - multiple meetings, screen sharing, recording of meeting sessions, etc. It allows a user to display two video sources; in effect, two displays in one physical display.

PBP is a feature of the monitor - so the user needs a monitor that supports it. PBP splits the monitor equally into two and requires a physical cable from the PC to the monitor for each “display” - so it requires two cables (This also means the monitor must support two cables).

This is especially ideal for office work with ultrawide monitors. An ultrawide monitor split into two virtual monitors can save space on the desk versus two physical monitors. For example, two 16:9 displays can be replaced by a single 43:18 display split into two displays of 25:21 (roughly an office aspect ratio of 5:4 or 4:3) which saves about 1 foot of physical desktop space (width).

Other advantages: 1. enables users to take ergonomic advantage of curved displays. 2. Saves power. 3. For an IT department, would reduce the number of assets to manage.

Note: PBP implementations may suffer from "Input Auto Switch" features which creates a mirroring situation. Workarounds include disabling this feature and/or manually switching the primary input source.

There are also video splitters/wall contollers which allow a display to be mirrored to another monitor(s) - I didn't find this useful in my use-case. There are also dummy plugs which fool the graphics card into thinking there is another monitor. But the display doesn’t know about it, so the only way to view that source, without manually switching (which you could do if you plugged into a second port in the monitor), is by using something like OBS to view that image source in a window. This might be useful if a user has static windows that they leave up, like security cameras. Dummy plugs are typically used by hosts with no displays to enable RDP or other remote program to remote connect to it without needing a physical monitor.

A good reference site which discusses the two tools: https://www.orei.com/blogs/news/can-you-split-an-ultrawide-monitor-into-two-screens

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