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HP NW8440 laptop - Desktop icons scramble when connected to external monitor

Hi there experts,

I have searched the archives and related posts, and have not found a definitive solution, so I would like to toss this one at you......

In my workplace, I recently switched laptops from a IBM T43P to a HP NW8440.  Having done such, I have encountered a problem which ranks rather high on the annoying list.....

Background - I use my desktop as a filing system, and have 15-20 folders on it such as "HR", "Admin", "Customers" and the like. Additionally, I also have shortcuts to network folders for quick access to folders I access frequently. I  have done this for many years, and have developed a system that I am familiar with and works for me.  

Further background.. I started this with a HP N610C, migrated to a HP NC6000, and followed suite on the IBM T43P.  I would lay the icons out carefully where I wanted them  and again have become familiar with where everything is.

Now the problem, every time I plug the NW8440 into an external monitor, the desktop icons "scramble" all over the place in no rational order that I can detect.  I use an external LCD as my primary display when in the office, but am now scared to plug it into anything else in fear I will be re-arranging things for the 27th time!  

I have checked the obvious - turned off arrange icons to grid, and auto arrange.  Any suggestions on how to stop this from happening?  It was very embarrasing last week when I had to give a presentation to senior management and my desktop looked like a  4 year old had a field day!

The NW 8440 is a wide screen unit.  However, I have someone on staff that has the SAME exact laptop and doesnt have this problem.  I havent gone as far to put the units side by side and compare what is different.  Again, this is the first laptop I have ever had this issue with.  However, oddly enough, shortly before the T43P was put out to pasture, it was doing the same thing.  I am not sure if this is coincidence or not.

Basically, I want to set my desktop up to my liking, and have it stay that way regardless of display resolution.

Hoping to find an answer.  I would prefer not to use a third party app if at all possible.

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1 Solution
XP will maintain your desktop icons position if the resolution doesn't change.

That said, by plugging in another monitor, and XP with plug and play, will detect the capacity of the monitor and try to adjust to the last used resolution settings.

You can get into the desktop settings and adjust the available resolutions displayable by that display. ensure that the setting you prefer is available.

Also, the video card will most likely have some desktop manager which will also allow a resolution be set to a fixed size, this should be maintained across monitors if possible.

So what is the monitor your plugging in?
What is the resolution you prefer?
Can you verify that it came with a ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 graphics controller?
goto desktop properties and there should be a tab called settings and then a button called advanced. Here the ATI control should give you your options.

skacinesAuthor Commented:
I am not currently on the machine (on my old trusty NC6000!)..  but...

I think you are at the root of the problem, XP via plug and play re-adjusts things and I get scrambled eggs (icons),....  I havent figured out how to stop this.

1) My desktop monitor is some no name LCD unit, 19 inchs.  I have been able to tame this beast be arranging the icons with the LCD plugged in.  

2) I prefer no particular resolution, in fact I have been experimenting with different settings in the attempt to stop this - obviously, higher is better, but anything above 1028 x 768 is fine with this old school person - note I also use this for CAD (pro engineer) so higher IS better. Unfortunately, with every failed experiment, I spend 10 minutes getting everything back in order.

3) Yes, it is a ATI V5200 - this is a hot video card and why I am so surprised at this behavior.
4) Been through the ATI control settings.  Nothing seems to effect the behavior.

Other misc fact - when I look at both the windows and the ATI settings, the secondary monitor defaults to 640 x 480 at 8 bit, and although I try to change it to match the primary display, it reverts back to 640 x 480.  I have not tried fiddling with this with an external monitor attached.

unfortunately, the external monitor will only be able to be changed when plugged in.

If you are changing resolutions, that will surely rearrange everything.

If you are not confortable with modifying the compatibility table, or cant find an appropriate driver for that monitor on the web, I'd be looking at this software, remove it after getting the system to your liking.

powerstrip or refresh lock might provide you with the flexibility to set it the way you like and counter the problems of cheap monitors..
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skacinesAuthor Commented:
Update - this morning I booted the laptop with out the desktop LCD plugged in.  I then plugged it in, luckily the desktop didnt scramble.  I had some strange results - the LCD on the laptop had a higher screen size so display on the desktop "rolled" or moved around.  The desktop LCD defaulted to a lower resolution which made the LCD in the laptop "bigger".  Make sense?

I then went (right click on the desktop) and changed the secondary display to the same size as the laptop LCD and all was well.  I now have the internal LCD and external LCD set at about 1268 x 1024, which is more than fine for me.

So, I would guess that the root of all this evil is the plug and play / auto detect feature.  

Tell me about the compatibility table  - how do I force an external display to default to  1268 x 1024 irrespective of what plug and play detects?

Am I going down the correct path?

Keep in mind that more than just the desktop LCD may end up plugged into the laptop - we have big screen DSP/ plasma's for presentations as well as the traditional "beamers".


skacinesAuthor Commented:
Well, so much for progress.  I plugged it into my Samsung DLP a few minutes ago - poof.  Scrambled desktop, even though monitor #2 was set to 1280 x 1024 before I plugged in the DLP.

Any ideas folks?  This is annoying enough I am considering switching back to an NC6000 or heaven forbid, an IBM T43!
each device will have different defaults, if you deselect the available modes in that display, they will got get tried.
However I suspect your samsung DLP wont go to 1268x1024 either...
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