I'm having an issue where my Windows 7 machine at work likes to move all of my opened applications to the primary monitor.

This happens whenever bringing the monitors back from "power save" mode. My guess is that at some point, the secondary monitor goes into power-save mode, and the other one hasn't done so yet. Then the OS tries to help me by moving everything on to the primary, so that when I come back from lunch or from a meeting, all of my windows have to be moved back to their proper monitor.

A few notes about the setup:

  • The monitors are different sizes / brands (our company changed suppliers from Dell to HP)
  • the primary (Dell 2408WFP) is connected by DVI, and the secondary is connected by VGA (HP L1950).
  • The OS is Windows 7 Professional
  • When I walk away from the machine, I am required to lock it. This results in a pure black screen on the secondary monitor, which could be why it goes into power save mode early.
  • One time (out of about 30 times), the reverse seemed to happen. my taskbar and all of my applications were moved to the secondary monitor, and I had to change the configuration to make the other monitor the primary again.
  • Display adapter is listed as Intel Q45/Q43 Express Chipset in Device Manager
  • I don't have admin rights on the machine

Does anyone know what I can do to prevent this issue?


In display driver settings there's often a setting that says "do not automatically scan for displays". Checking it means when display configuration changes, you need to manually tell the driver the changes, which is turn means the secondary monitor will stay visible to Windows even if the signal is lost.

Another trick to try is to go through the settings of the monitors and adjust their power-saving settings.


We also sometimes have the problem that Notebooks with Intel chip sets forget the correct display settings. Mostly this happens when undocking (all fine), connecting to a beamer (all fine) and returning to the docking station (settings sometimes incorrect). This happens to from time to time to about 5-10% of all notebooks.

As a fix, we create a profile with the Intel Notification Area (Tray) Application with the correct settings. When the bug appears, the user clicks on the Intel icon inside the notification area and clicks on the profile we have created. This fixes the problem in all cases.

If you want to skip clicking on the icon and prefer the use a desktop shortcut to activate the profile, here's a description of how to create a profile and activate it using a shortcut.

However, I don't know if this fixes the problems with the taskbar appearing on the wrong display.

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