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Configure a Dual Monitor Setup in Windows 8

With the announcement of the official release date of Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system has been all the buzz in the last few days. It provides many innovations. One of which is improved support for a Dual Monitor set up.

dual monitor setup windows 8 features metro desktop new

How To Enable The Second Monitor

First, begin by plugging in your second monitor. Make sure it’s turned on and that the cable you are using is completely functional.

If everything is correctly configured, a dialog appears on the left side of your screen. If you don’t see it, hit the keyboard combination Win Key + P (Projection Mode) to bring it up.

This brings up the same options that are available in Windows 7. In order to use both monitors, choose the Extend option from the list.
windows 8 keyboard shortcut connect new display dialog pc screen duplicate extend second screen onlywindows 8 keyboard shortcut connect new display dialog pc screen duplicate extend second screen only extend extend extend

After choosing to extend your desktop, both the external screen and primary screen on your computer might flash for a few seconds until the configuration is complete. If you experience problems, such as having one of the displays function at the wrong resolution, right click an empty area on the desktop and select Screen Resolution. From there, you can configure various options such as monitor position, resolution and more.

screen resolution windows 7 windows 8 features size resolution position

New Features

A big annoyance in Windows 7 was that it forces you to have the same wallpaper on each monitor. While this is not a huge deal, sometimes it’s nice to have separate wallpapers on each monitor..

windows 7 extended desktop

Windows 8 takes care of the problem by assigning a different wallpapers to each display you have. As long as you have more than one image in your theme, you can be assured that you won’t ever see two displays with the same wallpaper on them.

windows 8 extended desktop

The grooviest feature is the ability to have metro on one screen and your desktop on the other.

windows 8 extended desktop with metro and desktop

This is useful since you can quickly jump between Metro and the classic desktop. It’s important to mention that while testing this out I did encounter some strange behavior sometimes, but I chalk that up to it being a preview version of the OS.

Here’s a couple of pictures showing how the dual monitor set up looks with Windows 8.

windows 8 dual monitor setup metro desktop combination setting multitask picture

windows 8 dual monitor setup metro desktop combination setting multitask picture

Windows 8 has some great new features for power users with a dual monitor or mufti-monitor set up. If you want to learn how to create effects like the one in the last image, check out our Photoshop articles and tutorials and stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials for Photoshop CS6.

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7 Responses to Configure a Dual Monitor Setup in Windows 8

  1. Bo Derickson July 27, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    What exactly is a “mufti-monitor” setup? Is that a simple type-o or what? I only ask because my spell checker just told me “multi-screen” was wrong but “mufti-screen” was acceptable.

    • Steve Krause July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Bo,

      Nope, not a typo. 🙂

      A multi-mon setup is when you have multiple monitors setup or plugged into 1 computer. You will need a video card with two outputs for the monitors or two video cards.

      It’s really nice. I couldn’t have a computer any longer with just 1 monitor.

  2. neronix17 January 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Any chance you know how to set the same background for both monitors like it was with Windows 7? I like having the same image on both screens, but having it cycle through more than one image.

    • Jim August 22, 2014 at 6:14 am #

      Ha yeah, unfortunately it seems that this is now an impossibility and Microsoft is doing little about it… I just want the same slideshow on both monitors 🙁 Why they add functionality to remove other functionality?

  3. Tony July 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Hello. When I first installed Windows 8, I noticed the separate wallpaper shuffling on each monitor by default. It was great.

    I don’t know when…but the feature is gone. When I right click on an image during the Personalization – Desktop Background options I simply get “Set as Background”. This occurs on all three of my computers running Windows 8 now.

    Was the feature removed during an update? If not, does anyone know how to set it back to default?

    Any help is appreciated.

  4. Mariko March 20, 2015 at 5:57 am #

    Thanks for this post! I’m able to extend my PC screen to a second monitor, no problem, but after a minute or two, the screens automatically duplicate, then revert back to a single PC display only. Is this a problem with the cord, the PC, display settings, or something else?

  5. julesdawg January 1, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    hey how did you setup your black dual monitor display with the widgets like in the black and black wallpaper example?

    very slick, i like it

    any clues?

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