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How do I set up a 2nd monitor so it doesn't "mirror" my primary???

Posted on 2007-12-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have an HP monitor as my primary monitor, and purchased a 2nd 'Wise Wing" brand monitor to serve a secondary.  I purchased a VGA splitter and hooked up both monitors, but the the new 2nd monitor is a mirror image of the the primary.  I have set up one of these at work and in that instance the 2nd monitor only had an image of the wallpaper until I moved a window over to that area so that was I had an expanded desktop.  In this case, I did the same thing.  I right click on my desktop, selected "Properties", Display Settings", where I clicked on the "2" square representing the monitor and chose "enable" and extend desktop but no matter what I do it's still just a mirror of whatever I'm doing on monitor 1 so it's useless to have the 2nd monitor.  One last note:  unlike other times when I have done this as soon as I plugged in this 2nd monitor it came up mirroring the 1st monitor.  The other time I installed (at work) the 2nd monitor was blank until I enabled it and when I did it was "extended" and not a mirror.  I want to have a 2nd monitor that will let me move windows over to the 2nd monitor for reference while my working monitors are on the primary.  How do I resolve this?  Thanks.
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Question by:brent9696
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by:mhs85
ID: 20390488
Hey brent9696,

My initial reaction to your question is to ask you if the setup is exactly the same at work as you have created it at home.  At work, did you use a VGA splitter? Or did you plug the 2 monitors into separate ports on the back of the computer (into the video card)?  If you used a VGA splitter at work, I am kind of confused how that could have worked.  If my suspicion is correct, and you did plug the 2 monitors into separate ports on the back of the computer, then you will need to go out and purchase a video card that is capable of dual VGA output, not just a VGA splitter.

Hope this helps, have a great night!
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by:brent9696
ID: 20390513
No, at work I used a VGA splitter also and not a 2nd vga port.

I was not aware that the video card would need to support a 2nd monitor.  Is this the case and if so, how would I verify that my card can (or cannot) support 2 monitors.
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by:mhs85
ID: 20390542
For example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=14-150-230-02.jpg&Image=14-150-230-08.jpg%2c14-150-230-02.jpg%2c14-150-230-03.jpg%2c14-150-230-04.jpg%2c14-150-230-05.jpg%2c14-150-230-06.jpg%2c14-150-230-07.jpg&S7ImageFlag=0&Depa=1&Description=XFX+GeForce+8600GT+PVT84JUDF3+Video+Card

That video card has 2 DVI output ports.  So it can display 2 separate outputs on 2 monitors.  It will give you the option to either show the same on both displays, or to show an extended desktop as you described earlier.
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by:mhs85
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by:brent9696
ID: 20390575
I see the cards you displayed...at work it looks just like the 2nd example with only one VGA connection.  Why is this, is there another card that has one vga port that supports 2 monitors.  I am with you now that it's probably my card is inadquate to do this, so I guess now I would want to verify (for sure) that this is the case with my machine.  I went to Device Manager and I see my HP monitor under display, but I don't see etiher ATI or NVidia or any category similar to verify or find out what card I do have.  How do I do this, and if I go back to Fry's what do I tell them I need to purchase to do what I want?  Thanks for your patience....
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mhs85 earned 500 total points
ID: 20390585
I have never personally heard of that before, unless your card at work is very very expensive or specially designed.  Anyway, as far as buying a new one, you'll have to do some research on your computer.  You need to see what card you have now, so that you'll know what kind of slot it is in in your computer.  The card type should be in Device Manager under Display Adapters.  If not, as you can see in this picture http://www.mysuperpc.com/vcu/windows_xp_display_properties.gif the Display properties in XP should show you the name of the card.  If not, you'll have to look inside.

Also, we need to know what kind of slots are available in your PC.  Generally, assuming you bought the computer new, the manufacturer can tell you this on their website by looking up the model #.  We are looking for the number of free PCI or PCI express slots.

You need a free one of these to get a video card.  Once you determine this, you need to find a PCI or PCI-e card that supports Dual Monitor Output.  A lot of cards do.  Once you find out about PCI/PCIe, you can let me know, and I'll recommend an appropriate card if you'd like.
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by:brent9696
ID: 20390606
In Device manager it says I have a Radeon x300 series monitor.  When I goole that, this website http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonx300/radeonx300series/index.html says I should have dual output with independent displays.  I am off track here?  I look on the back of the card and it has one VGA connnection, another that says S video, and a 3rd connection for Composite video.  These other two connections are smaller and round.
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by:mhs85
ID: 20390652
You shouldn't be looking at monitors in Device Manager, try looking at Display Adapters.If that is the card that you actually have, you should have 1 VGA and 1 DVI  input.  If you use both of those inputs, dual display should work.
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by:brent9696
ID: 20390727
Yes!  In Display Adapters in Properties (as in your screen shot) and under Display adaptors on Device manager.  Both say Radeon X300...so, I know what VGA connector looks like, but the other round ones I described look more like large headphone connections.
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by:brent9696
ID: 20390797
I will look up more information then on the pci slots also and get back to you...thanks, I'll be back and hopefully I can fix this.  Thanks and I'll let you know.
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by:mhs85
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No problem :-)
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by:brent9696
ID: 20392292
Hi mhs85,

I accept your answer and can figure out the final resoltion from here after I find out more about more about my particular card.  I thought all computers could support multiple monitors so I learned something today.  Also, I found this link (www.microsoft.com/athome/moredone/twomonitors.mspx) on Microsoft's site that explains it pretty well for others reference. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!  brent9696
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