Multiple Monitors, Remote Desktop
December 14, 2005 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I use two monitors at work, and remote desktop in at home. Some applications, which persistently remember the window location will be hidden on startup because they're off the screen. Is there a utility out there to move all windows on the screen?
posted by anomie to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not exactly clear on your situation... but I wonder if the various task bar options in Ultramon might be helpful. If you turn off the Smart Task Bar feature, you might be able to use the "Move To Monitor" feature to force an app to the primary screen (which I assume is what you're seeing with your RD connection).

posted by friezer at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2005

I haven't found a solution. The best thing I've come up with is to disable the second display when I'm remoted in and then re-enable it when I get in to the office. It's not many clicks -- show desktop, right-click, properties, display, screen two, uncheck "extend desktop", OK.
posted by ewagoner at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2005

If you don't have the 3rd party ATI / nVidia drivers installed, it may help to install them. I seem to remember they are more intelligent about switching between setups automatically, or may have options to aid.
posted by kcm at 3:08 PM on December 14, 2005

If you are using Win XP, you can <control>-left click on more than one taskbar button, then right click on one of the selected taskbar buttons to cascade, tile, etc.
posted by ajbattrick at 3:15 PM on December 14, 2005

I just select the app in the taskbar, alt-space, "m" (for move) and then hold down the right arrow until the desired window appears in my vnc window. Ugly, but it works.
posted by bonecrusher at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2005

When I VNC to my Mac, which has two monitors, I just activate mirroring on the built-in video when I need to use a window on the second monitor. This forces all the windows onto the first monitor. Perhaps something similar will work under Windows.
posted by kindall at 4:13 PM on December 14, 2005

You might try this utility and see if it does what you want:

MultiMon is a little rough around the edges and didn't work with everything here when its loaded. But for all standard Windows applications, I was able to Alt-Tab activate, and then hot-key flip the active application window back and forth from one monitor to another, even with one monitor turned off.

No idea how well, or if, it plays with remote access though. Also says you have to have same resolution on each monitor, but you don't, although the moved app will overlap each monitor a bit when the resolutions are different.
posted by mdevore at 6:06 PM on December 14, 2005

I'm travelling right now, but I have this problem on my dekstop computer. The solution lies with ultramon, but I forget the exact steps.
posted by tiamat at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the effort, guys and gals, but I think I may need to write an app to do it. The problem is that not all windows have taskbar icons, such as dialog boxes.
posted by anomie at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2005

Do you have a choice as to what remote desktop software you use? The most recent version of VNC has multimonitor support -- if the remote desktop is two screens wide it scales it down so you see all of it, or gives you a scroll bar that spans both screens.
posted by randomstriker at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2005

Actually, I tested this scruffy MultiMon utility a bit more and it was able to pop over to the primary monitor from the secondary two modal dialog boxes from under IE and FireFox - and only that dialog box. For the second sticking point, MultiMon was also able to successfully switch over a running non-taskbar application (Atomic Clock Sync). But 'tis true, pitfalls and limitations that continue to make it a nonsolution could easily exist.

Following my first post, and in agreement with your own thoughts, I speculated that a one-off micro-utility written in your_favorite_language_which_has_a_Win32_API_interface prolly shouldn't be unduly burdensome to create. Just enumerate the monitors and windows, grab the desired target handle(s), and move it/them into visible desktop acreage. Of course, that's painless hand-waving on my part, real life implementation for you would involve all the coding effort I simply glossed over.
posted by mdevore at 9:06 PM on December 14, 2005

Best answer: I think DeskLite may do what you need. You can download it from that page -- just search for "DeskLite" :).
posted by Handcoding at 10:03 PM on December 14, 2005

Response by poster: Perfect, Alex!!! That is exactly what I was looking for.

I <3 AskMe... Thanks for the help everyone!
posted by anomie at 6:06 AM on December 15, 2005

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