A handy tip for Vista dual monitor users

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.12.2007 at 12:48

You like Windows Vista gadgets, but you feel that it clutters up your desktop, leaving lesser space for your desktop icons. You like to have the sidebar always on top, but at the same time you don’t want to reduce the screen area of your applications.

If you’re using dual monitors on Windows Vista, here’s a handy tip: You can use your secondary screen for the gadgets!

Why did I do this?

Well, this leaves more room on my primary (read: more important) monitor. My applications are free to roam the entire canvas and I always get the bigger picture. On my second monitor all the gadgets, the clock, the to-do notes, and everything is within easy view at anytime. If you’re an administrator, you can use the secondary monitor for Remote Desktop connections to servers. You can even use the Remote Desktop gadget to save time.

How did I do this?

  • Go to Control PanelAppearance and PersonalizationPersonalization. Open Display Settings.
  • Click on your second monitor and check the box “Extend the desktop onto this monitor“.

  • Go to Control PanelAppearance and Personalization. Open Windows Sidebar properties.
  • Under “Display Sidebar on monitor“, choose the second monitor.

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8 Responses to A handy tip for Vista dual monitor users

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks for the tip.

    Another tip, that might interest readers is the frustrating way Vista deals with dual monitor settings if you use a laptop and connect and disconnect a monitor frequently. Symptoms are: Changing resolution, switching from secondary to primary monitor, switching monitor location, not able to log in, because the secondary screen is inactive. etc etc. If you like to fix this problem, go to this blog:


  2. Shijaz Abdulla says:

    Hi matt,

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice post! Thanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tip!! Worked like a charm

    Auburn, CA 95603

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you both – very good tips – I am frustrated with mu dual monitor cursor, screen res, and primary secondary functions, so I’m so glad you guys passed this info along!


  6. Mark P says:

    Thanks Guys, I find dual monitors helpful. However, I have found a “feature” that I do not like and was wondering if you knew of a way to fix it.

    If I open application ABC on the main monitor and move it over to the secondary monitor, how do I start a second instance of application ABC on my main monitor? When I initiate the second instance of ABC, it simply add a Tab to the instance on my secondary monitor. I want to run 2, 3, 4 instances of an application with each in a different window so I can see different parts of the application in each of the different windows.

  7. Anonymous says:


    have a look into the documentation for the system you are running.

    I have seen a similar issue (easily solved) where clicking on the icon to start a "new" window of the same application has just re-opened the original.

    You'll need to check the command line arguments and adjust the launcher icon as required, or often you can start in a new window by right clicking on the icon.

    I wouldn't know if you can specify that the new window always opens in a certain location, again you will need to check the options for the launcher)

    hope that helps.

  8. Roch says:

    My SyncMaster 2253 Monitor from Samsung doesnt seem to be working this morning I have it set up as my main screen in my dual screen set up. Everything is plugged in properly… any ideas on what may be the problem would be greatly appreciated

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