Tips for Dual Monitor on Windows XP?
April 21, 2009 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Hi All, I just got a second monitor at work. Yay me! My second monitor is a widescreen (my main one isn't). I'm still getting used to it, at the moment I have put email on the right hand screen, and everything else still in the main one. I'm only really struggling with Citrix applications - they seem to like to pop up in the middle, splitting across screens. But I'm after any dual monitor on Windows tips in general. I've already installed the free MultiMonitor Taskbar which I really like. Thanks!
posted by Admira to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I have a similar situation here at the house one wide and one regular monitor, and whichever screen is "bigger" overall (as in resolution) should be your main monitor is what I've found. So in my setup, I have a 22" 1680x1050 monitor as my main directly-in-front monitor, and the 19" 1280x1024 beside it on the right. This seems to work well. Do a lot of the apps want to pop right in the middle, or is it only Citrix? If they're all doing it, you might want to see if there are tools for your video card. I have an nVidia card and their little nView desktop manager helps set things right. You can choose where windows pop, etc through it. Other than that, I'd say enjoy! You won't want to go back to one, that's for certain. I had to swipe another monitor at the office because I use my dual at home so much that when I was at the office I was feeling like there was a part of me missing.
posted by barc0001 at 10:24 PM on April 21, 2009

Some great tips in this Lifehacker article.

I am especially addicted to the little AutoHotKey script that moves windows around using WindowsKey + number pad shortcuts. I think it will solve your Citrix problem. It's linked in the Lifehacker article above. Word search for "WindowPad"--or click this direct link to the .exe file (I just dump the .exe file in my startup folder and it works like a charm).
posted by mullacc at 10:59 PM on April 21, 2009

I have a multi-monitor setup with Citrix apps at work as well. The plain & simple truth is that Citrix apps simply do not work well with Multi-monitor setups.

Apart from split-screen funkiness, you can also expect "disappearing" windows - i.e, you launch an app and after the login it just "vanishes" (tip: minimize all & then try) and also weirdly resizing windows.

This all happens because the actual application is running on a server with a different resolution and a single "monitor". Citrix strips away all the desktop cruft and pipes just the video output for the application to your desktop.

Typical server resolutions run at 1024x768. Now imagine that the App is centered in a 1024x768 window across your combined two-monitor resolution and you will get an idea of why all this weirdness occurs.

mullacc's suggestion of the Autohotkey script might make the job of Window management a little easier, but I don't think there's a permanent solution.. (unless you switch to some form of Remote Desktop)
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 3:06 AM on April 22, 2009

Not too much help, but I have Citrix applications at work, and I don't get the popup in the middle. This may be because of something our techs have done (we are pretty locked down here, so I wouldn't be able to install anything to fix this myself) or it might be because I have four monitors, though ymoag's answer would seem to indicate that four wouldn't make a difference (mine are setup up in a square).
posted by Grither at 5:06 AM on April 22, 2009

If you have the ability to do some light installing, and don't mind paying a bit, UltraMon is a godsend for this. I can't speak to the Citrix apps, but UltraMon is chock full of useful features, including (IMHO) a better dual-taskbar setup than MMTaskbar, which I also tried, and dedicated buttons at the top of windows that can either stretch a window between two monitors, or move a maximized window from one monitor to the other, adjusting the size on the fly.

There's a 30 day trial. Give it a shot.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:43 AM on April 22, 2009

Personally, I like DisplayFusion better than UltraMon. It has the multi-monitor taskbar and also has keyboard shortcuts for snapping windows to the top, bottom, left or right halves of a screen. It also does the multi-monitor wallpaper stuff pretty well, though I don't use that.

I also have my smaller monitor turned sideways and set up in portrait mode. It's especially nice for surfing the web as there's much less scrolling involved.
posted by hootch at 7:01 AM on April 22, 2009

Seconding SpiffyRob & hootch's suggestion of Ultramon - I have it as well and it definitely makes Window management a lot easier,but...

... the extra dedicated buttons that SpiffyRob talks about don't seem to appear on my citrix apps, though that could be a quirk from the version of Citrix/Ultramon that I'm using.
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 6:44 PM on April 22, 2009

Nthing UltraMon being vital and also superior to MMTaskbar.
posted by turkeyphant at 5:53 AM on April 23, 2009

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