Is there a way to emulate a monitor on Windows 7?

I have one physical monitor, and I want Windows to think I have two. I actually don't care whether the second monitor is visible anywhere, or if I can see it - everything rendered there may as well go to the equivalent of /dev/null - but I need Windows to think there is one there.

The reason is that I want to run a virtual machine with two monitors with VirtualBox in seamless mode, and it doesn't let me go to seamless mode if there are more virtual monitors than physical ones. I don't need to see the second virtual monitor, but VirtualBox won't just stop displaying it like it did in earlier versions.

I need a software solution to this - a device driver that acts like a monitor to Windows without having a monitor plugged in. This is because I have no more physical plugs available in my video card.


The free product ZoneScreen may work for you:

ZoneScreen is a tool for extending your desktop workspace using displays of network connected computers or portable devices like Pocket PC.

ZoneScreen consists of two parts: kernel-mode ZoneScreen Virtual Display Driver which is visible to Windows just as normal video card with monitor attached to it, and user-mode ZoneScreen Wizard which is responsible for capturing image (running at server side), transmitting it over the network, and drawing it at another computer (running at client side).

There is also a similar but commercial product: MaxiVista (US$39.95, trial available).

  • basically. how did the bounty get automatically assigned? it didnt go to the highest-voted question it seems – Claudiu Mar 7 '11 at 23:05
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    Highest-voted and answered during the bounty period gets 50% of bounty. Other 50% is wasted. – harrymc Mar 8 '11 at 5:52

You can create a dummy plug (in just 30 seconds) and Windows will think it is a monitor.

This is not applicable with digital only cards (no VGA or DVI-I)

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    hehe cute, but the problem is that i'm out of plugs. i want a monitor without any hardware required – Claudiu Feb 25 '11 at 15:52
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    @Claudiu a new plug is only like a dollar on eBay. This is the standard way of faking a monitor in Windows for virtual machines. – ubiquibacon Feb 28 '11 at 19:10
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    @typoknig: er sorry, i meant that i'm out of plug space on the video card. otherwise i could hook up a random monitor as i have a bunch lying around... – Claudiu Feb 28 '11 at 19:59
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    Yes, that’s what I was going to say, it only works if there is an output available to plug it into. Claudiu is looking for a software solution. – Synetech Mar 5 '11 at 23:35

There are programs to create a 2nd monitor on other devices, such as another computer, or an iPad:


If you have an iPad, fine. Or, you should be able to connect to the VNC server from the local host via a VNC client. (connect to localhost:5902) Now the "second monitor" would be in a window on the local machine you can close or display as needed.

  • hmm intriguing... i will have to look into this, thank you. – Claudiu Mar 1 '11 at 2:46
  • This does not create a second video device. It only works if you actually have a graphics card rendering video on that second device. – Brad Nov 14 '12 at 4:50

For Windows only, there also Extramon. There's a trial available but you need to purchase a license after trial.

Extramon lets you use a second computer as a second monitor, giving you a dual-monitor computer. In fact, both of your computers become dual-monitor computers. And you can operate them both from a single keyboard and mouse.

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    "...everything rendered there may as well go to the equivalent of /dev/null..." Sorry, but the OP wanted a virtual monitor. The OP wanted the computer to think there was another monitor attached. – BenjiWiebe Jan 5 '13 at 23:04

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