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How To Configure And Use Multiple Monitors In Windows 8

You may have seen people using more than one monitor and you wonder how that works? One of the many distinguishing features of Windows 8 is the ability to use multiple monitors. This feature allows you to run the once so called ‘Metro’, which is now called ‘Modern UI’, on one monitor, and the other monitor showing the desktop. You might be asking yourself, well, that was in Windows 7 too, but the thing is, Microsoft drastically improved this feature, thus making it easier, so many casual users can use this feature without hassle. Windows 7 users using multiple monitors were hassled because there the taskbar was not efficient.  In Windows 8, Microsoft improved the taskbar efficiency and added several extra options for wallpaper customization. Using dual monitor is good for gamers, since it has a wider gaming experience, or it can be used for business, or just basic multitasking. Now, that’s not all it can be used for, game developers for example can have Visual Studio running in the desktop view and testing their game in the Modern UI view. You have over a thousand reasons why to use multiple monitors.

It’s fairly simple and does not require that much effort. All you need is a PC with two display ports, be it HDMI, VGA, or DVI, and the cables that fit in your display ports. Also, for your second monitor, you can use an HDTV, a PC monitor, or a projector. You had also use a DVI-HDMI adapter if you have a DVI monitor since DVI cables are pretty hard to find these days. If you are planning on using the adapter, you can buy it from online stores like eBay or Amazon. For the adapter, you need an HDMI cable, which can be bought from any retail store around you.

Here are the steps on how to do it.

Get your PC ready and plug in the cables with the first and second screen. Once connected, head over to the charms bar.

Click on ‘Devices’ and then press ‘Second Screen’.

Press ‘Extend’ and just wait for the screen to send the signal.

There you have it, you now have Modern UI on one monitor and desktop view on the other monitor. If you would like to have more fun, you can experiment with the options under ‘Second Screen’. For example, the ‘PC Screen Only’ really explains itself, the ‘Duplicate’ option is either having Modern UI or desktop view and ‘Second Screen Only’ allows you to control the computer with your first input and output the screen to the second display.

If you would like to change the resolution or magnification, simply go to the Display settings. You can either search ‘display’ from the Charms bar, or you right-click anywhere on the desktop, choose Personalize and then click ‘Display’ from the bottom-left corner of the Personalization window.

You will get a variety options that can be experimented with.

Now, to have even more fun, we can also have multiple desktop backgrounds, or we can have one stretched out background, or one that is duplicated among the two screens.

Desktop view with different backgrounds.
Dual screen set up (One is landscape, the other is portrait)
Desktop background spanned/stretched

To customize your own desktop background, again right-click anywhere on your desktop and select Personalize. You will see a window like the one below.

Click on ‘Desktop Background’ which is one of the options at the bottom of the window.

Now, you will be directed to the desktop background window, where you can set different backgrounds for different screens.

Note: If you have more than two screens, just connect your PC to the second and third screen and repeat the tutorial.

You can now impress your friends or family by showing off Windows 8 on more than one monitor.


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