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Nice Multi-Monitor Enhancements in Windows 8.1

Nice Multi-Monitor Enhancements in Windows 8.1

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JoshCondie1_3x3_2013

Josh Condie – I am sure this is a feature that a lot of us are interested in knowing about.  Most of the partners that I visit (on their site), have offices full of multi-monitor setups, and not just the developers!   It is truly a productivity enhancement, and Window 8 brought some nice new capabilities such as the ability to have both the Modern and Classic UI’s open on separate screens.  Here is another blog that is a great review of everything that went into the multi-monitor enhancements in Windows 8:  Enhancing Windows 8 for Multi-Monitors

Here’s even more of what Windows 8 brought to multi-screen setups:

  • Start. You can bring up Start on any monitor by moving your mouse to the bottom-left corner, or via the Start charm that you can invoke from the top and bottom-right corners of any monitor. Pressing the Windows key launches Start on the last monitor where Start or a Metro style app appeared.
  • Switch back to an app from any monitor. You can switch back to an app on any monitor by moving your mouse to the top-left corner. Clicking the app thumbnail switches you back to the app on that monitor.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. We are introducing new keyboard shortcuts that build on the shortcuts from Windows 7. Win+Pg Up or Win+Pg Dn moves Metro style apps across monitors. Win+Arrow and Win+Shift+Arrow continue to work on desktop apps as they did in Windows 7, by snapping and moving desktop windows across monitors.
  • Drag and drop. Using the mouse, you can now drag and drop Metro Style apps across monitors. Drag and drop works for both full screen and snapped apps.
  • Further you had the ability to extend the taskbar across all screens, customize desktop backgrounds and slideshows for all screens, and much more.

Also, here is video that was created to highlight the changes, last Fall:

 

EnhancingWin8forMultipleMonitors.mp4

 

*Note - You can have the Start screen and apps from the Windows Store on only one monitor at a time. When you open the Start screen, charms, or your recent apps on a different monitor, apps from the Windows Store also move to that monitor.

 

Windows 8.1 is going to take this to another level, as well as prepare us for the future of onscreen viewing (think 4K!!!).

Multi-tasking with Modern and desktop apps:

 

My favorite function in the multi-monitor support in Windows 8.1 is the ability to use numerous Modern-UI apps on all screens. That’s right, you can now open and combine Modern-UI and Classic-UI apps on any screen in your monitor configuration. Basically, there is no limitation as to what goes where and how much screen real estate you can configure for it (it’s just a quick slide/drag of the finger/mouse to resize).

 

Here’s an example image of 2 monitors sharing space for many different apps, snapped into place and resizable to any width:

How Windows 8.1 has improved the multi-monitor support with snap?

This combination of Classic Desktop and Modern-UI apps in snap and multi-monitor allows you to be more productive, irrespective of whether you type, click, touch or all the above.

Lastly, Microsoft has also disclosed that Windows 8.1 brings improvements to deal with high-DPI scaling issues on high-resolution displays, such as in 4K monitors, high-DPI tablets, notebooks, multi-monitor setups, and to help developers to optimize Windows 8 apps to scale automatically based on the screen DPI (dots per inch).

In conclusion, Windows 8.1 really improves the end-user perception and experience for setups with multiple monitors.  From opening Classic desktop and Modern apps on any screen and with any sizing, to booting to the classic desktop, to disabling the hot corners, many things are a lot more useable with any method of input – mouse, keyboard, touch, voice, and maybe soon… gesture (think Kinect for PC).

 

Download 8.1 and give it try!

 

Josh C.

Comments
  • There needs to be support for apps to use more than one monitor at once, like editing apps or Google chrome, this would make my metro experience complete as currently I can only run Chrome in desktop mode as I like to multitask on multiple screens

  • I just discovered that you actually *can* use WinRT apps on more than one monitor at once.

    The key is that the app launches on whatever monitor the Start screen launches on.  The way to do that is to click the Start button, rather than pressing the Start key on the keyboard.

    An alternative method is to start up all apps on the main monitor, and then move them to a different monitor.

  • Just upgraded to 8.1 and cannot optimize my 4 screen display resolution. Everything is messed up and all attempts to get it back to the way it was are not working. Worst thing is not that text is small or browser res looks blurry but that when I try to use screengrab software snagit, the image gets magnified as if snagit is looking at a very different sized image! Frustrated.

  • I'm having the same problem, Doron. Hopefully Microsoft fixes this soon because it's extremely irritating.

  • I had a similar issue and was able to resolve it by turning on the:

    "Let me choose one scaling level for all of my displays" feature under the display settings.

  • The Win + Pg Up/Dn keyboard shortcut to move the Start screen and Metro apps from one monitor to another seems to have been removed in Windows 8.1. This article even mentions the shortcut, but it no longer work for me after upgrading from 8 to 8.1. HATE having to reach for the mouse to control Metro apps now.

  • I agree that is is a pity that the handy shortcuts for moving an app between monitors, Win+Pg Up/Dn have been removed in 8.1. Has anyone discovered an alternative yet?

    I mean, as said, it is just to avoid having to use the mouse in that case: the movement from one monitor to another can rather be big and not anyone has or wants to have their mouse set to 5600 dpi or such.

  • Quick as possible update on this: It is Win+Shift+Left/Right. :) Wonderful!

  • Quick as possible update on this: It is Win+Shift+Left/Right. :) Wonderful! LOL stupid they changed it for win 8 then changed it back stupid microsoft (same shortcut works in xp~win 7)

  • Unfortunately, this article is a lie. There is currently no way to launch Metro Apps onto a secondary monitor by default. You can launch say the Netflix Full Screen Metro App onto the Primary monitor and then drag it to your TV if you want. However, it will not launch onto your secondary monitor, you must drag it to the desired location. I have been trying to do this for months and have not found anyway to accomplish this.

  • Yes I just installed the Windows 8.1 when the upgrade was offered to me for free last night.. Now my two extended monitors magnify everything.. you can grab a window and drag it from my primary screen on my laptop and as you move it onto one of the other screens, it's the same size as the primary screen till it gets about half way on to the extended desktop on the display.. then BAM!! it becomes almost twice as large like it's been magnified.. so text is huge and chunky and it screws up the layout in my trading software as it tries to jam all the stuff in as it's laid out when it's on the primary display.. I checked the resolutions on those screens and it's fine.. I ensured the current drivers for my video were installed and reinstalled them.. Besides.. it's the right size as it comes into that screen but magnifies once it's half way onto that desktop.. OK so if I just clone my primary display onto the other displays, the scaling etc is perfect.. So WTF is going on here??

  • OK So I think I figured it out.. on my desktop.. right click.. drop down.. at the bottom, personalize.. then select display.. the page title is "Change the size of all items" Mine was set to the mid scale, set it for small, and all is well.. awesome!!

  • Hi guys, how come my windows 8.1 won't even work when I set it up for dual monitors. It is a very simple instruction and I have done it with my laptop which is a vista and instantly worked. Would appreciate you help. Thank you!

  • Bring back dreamscenes and make it multi-monitored. I would love to have two video loops going on two different monitors at once. Just this time it needs to be more intuned to keep cpu usage down. I can't understand why this was left out of the so called multi-monitor experience, especially now that people are using large HD televisions as an extension to their desktop space or use televisions for advertising or presentations. Also, I feel, in the future most major programs will start to come over to the multi-monitor idea, as it has been shown it increases productivity.

  • Since 8.1 my mouse sticks between monitors (even in the middle of the screen) unless I'm moving quickly. Numerous other people also have this issue. I hope this is a bug and not a feature because it's ridiculous. There is a registry key you can change (MouseMonitorEscapeSpeed) but it just randomly reverts back to the bad behavior. Changing screens to 'duplicate' and then back to 'extend' also temporarily fixes it.

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