How Does Dual Screening Work?


Computer monitor dual screening works by connecting two monitors to a single computer that has the capability to display on more than one screen at the same time. In order for dual-screening to work, the computer's graphics card needs to have multiple display output ports and support dual monitor display. Dual-screen configurations can also be setup by installing two of the same graphics card in the same computer.

Cloned Screen

  • A cloned screen dual-screen configuration means that both monitors connected to the computer are displaying exactly the same thing. Cloned screen configurations are the easiest for a computer handling because it only has to create a single monitor image and output it to both screens. Cloned screen configurations are commonly used to display what's on a computer two different sized screens to allow more people to see what's on the screen.

Second Screen and Extended Desktop

  • Second-screen dual-monitor configurations are the most practical and let a computer user take advantage of the screen real estate available on both monitors through a single computer. The second screen configuration is also called an extended desktop configuration in Windows: it lets the Windows desktop span both monitors, but treats each screen as an individual monitor in several ways. For example, a window that's positioned in the space between both screens on the extended desktop will display partially on both screens. However, programs that run in full-screen mode and maximized windows will only occupy a single screen. Second screens are useful from a productivity standpoint because the setup decreases the amount of time a user has to manage windows between tasks.

Extended Screen

  • Extended screen dual-screen setups treat both monitors as a giant, single display. Dual screening in extended mode will have full-screen programs open across both screens and will maximize windows to spread across both screens. Nvidia's Mosaic and AMD's Eyefinity multi-monitor configurations use the extended screen concept over three or more monitors to have a more practical setup. The extended screen setup may not be practical for a lot of applications because it places the center of the display in the bezel between the two monitors.

Hardware Setup

  • Dual-screen monitors setups require the correct hardware and connection configuration to work. In a dual-screen setup, both monitors are connected to individual video output ports on the computer. In Windows 8, open the Charms bar, select "Devices," choose the "Second Screen" option and select either "Duplicate" or "Extend" to configure the second monitor. Older computers may need a driver update to run in dual-monitor mode. You can update your computer's video drivers through Windows Update or by downloading and installing them from the graphics card manufacturer's website.

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