Dual monitors and remote access. Not what you think.
September 14, 2007 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Dual monitor/remote access/I'm a moronFILTER: Accessing a desktop machine that used to have a dual monitor setup but now has none.

My desktop machine (Win XP sp2) has a NVIDIA graphics card with dual monitor support. I had it running for a few years with two monitors and it worked wonderfully. Now I have the desktop sitting by itself, with no mouse, keyboard, or monitors hooked up and am only accessing it remotely via logmein.com pro.

Here's my problem: I didn't disable the dual monitor setup while they were still attached. I assumed that it would still output in a dual monitor display (remotely) even with the displays removed. I was incorrect. It defaulted to a single monitor display. But now, when I open certain programs that used to run exclusively on the 2nd monitor, they are 'off-screen'. I can force some of them onto my default display by right clicking the item on the task bar and hitting maximize. But if the program has a sub-window pop up, its gone forever. I have tried every option (I think) in the nView desktop manager that comes with the NVIDIA video card. I've even attempted to disable the nView controls. I cannot get it to work.

I know the obvious answer is to hook up the two monitors for a minute and properly switch over to a single monitor setup, but as I am lacking the monitors at the moment thats not the best solution right now.


If anybody knows how I can force my desktop machine to think its still outputting to two monitors, that would be awesome. I would love to get the added real estate on my remote connection without having to use a virtual desktop.

If I have confused anybody, please ask and I will attempt to make my situation more understandable.

posted by wile e to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
umm, where the <>><>> are, it was supposed to say BONUS. Not sure how I screwed that up...
posted by wile e at 8:40 PM on September 14, 2007

Can you uninstall the NView program?
posted by odinsdream at 8:46 PM on September 14, 2007

You can't go to the Multiple Displays part of NView and set it to a single one? That's weird, always works great on mine.

I'd try uninstalling nView if that's an option. Otherwise, I'm not sure what to tell you.
posted by DMan at 8:52 PM on September 14, 2007


I've tried that, and it works with almost all programs. But where it doesn't, is when a certain program has a secondary window that pops up that originally was on the 2nd display.

I would uninstall the nView program, but I want to wait to see if somebody has another solution before I do that.

posted by wile e at 9:02 PM on September 14, 2007

What about just downgrading the video driver to something generic? That should make it snap back to a single-monitor display. You wouldn't be uninstalling anything - just selecting a default video driver.
posted by junesix at 9:14 PM on September 14, 2007

I think at this point I'd just uninstall the offending programs and reinstall them, assuming it isn't too many.
posted by DMan at 9:35 PM on September 14, 2007

I'm pretty sure there's a way to gather windows to a single monitor -- googling for that brought up (some ancient versions of) the manual so maybe searching in the manual will help you. Looks like you might have to set a hotkey...
posted by advil at 9:42 PM on September 14, 2007

The keystroke(s) to move a window with the cursor keys is Alt-Space, then M. This works on the active window, so you'll first need to be sure you've Alt-tabbed to the off-screen program.
posted by pmbuko at 9:54 PM on September 14, 2007

Is it possible to just go to your display properties (desktop context-menu > properties > "Settings" tab), disable the second monitor (deselect the "Extend my Windows...") and restart the apps?
posted by kajj at 10:51 PM on September 14, 2007

Try to change the resolution of the screen in the control panel (high resolution = big screen, low resolution = small screen) to find the window that is now 'off screen.'
posted by acro at 10:53 PM on September 14, 2007

It has a clunky ui, but force windows visible works very well for this.
posted by aubilenon at 10:56 PM on September 14, 2007

You can move all of your monitors onto a single window by downloading a tool called AutoHotKey and then using the script from this website (once you install AutoHotKey, just paste the code from the first poster into a text file, save it with a .ahk extension, and double-click on it). It also does some nice things for controlling your window layout. Win+NumpadDiv moves ALL windows to monitor 2. Win+NumpadMult moves ALL windows to monitor 1.

I use this script daily for my multimonitor setup, but also to connect remotely to that setup and move monitors from the secondary to the primary machine, just the situation you describe.
posted by phoenixy at 6:52 AM on September 15, 2007

Seconding kajj. I had a problem where my second monitor died on me, and after much noodling, changed my display properties to use the primary monitor only. Presto, everything was then displayed on the primary monitor.

As they say in the home country, cheap and best!
posted by rasputin98 at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2007

Have you tried plugging your main monitor into the second monitor's plugin? I'd do it after XP has started up and after you start one of those programs that only shows up on the second monitor. Then simply move the window to the left (or right, depending on the orientation of the two monitors) so that it's on the primary monitor and mostly off the secondary monitor. Then, plug the monitor into the main connection and put the window wherever you want.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2007

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