My primary monitor is attached to my onboard video card. My secondary monitor is attached to my PCI-E card. When I first start my computer, only the primary monitor is on, and it is the only monitor that is recognized.

While I'm in Windows 7, if I turn on my secondary monitor, Windows 7 automatically detects it, and expands my desktop to stretch across both monitors.

But if I turn off the secondary monitor, Windows 7 doesn't automatically disable it. Is there a way I can get it to automatically disable when I turn it off, or is there a utility that makes it easier to disable it instead of having to go to screen resolution?

  • I have a similar problem with Windows Vista: my laptop is usually connected via HDMI to my TV and results in the same behavior. I never thought much of it before, but now that this question exists, I'm curious whether there's a similar solution. – Pops Dec 5 '09 at 21:07

In Windows 7, you can also hold down the Windows key and press "p" to cycle through the various monitor enabling/disabling options. I've found this to be the simplest way to do it by far.

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    My #2 monitor is my bigger monitor and at night I will watch movies on it. Windows+P is good for going back down to the #1 monitor, but I just found that "Projector Only" is the #2 monitor. Hope this helps someone! – BillyNair Feb 25 '13 at 19:12

I'm not sure if there is a way to auto disable it when you turn it off, but there is a great utility called UltraMon

Once you have that you can setup a hotkey to enable/disable the secondary monitor. I use Ctrl + Alt + D, but you can map it whatever key combo you want:

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    This is somewhat helpful. It doesn't automatically disable the monitor when turned off, but it does allow the second monitor to be turned off with a mouse click. Another problem with this is that it's not free. – Phenom Jan 30 '10 at 3:57

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