Log in ....Tribune


Dot.ComLatest in ITFree DownloadsOn hardware

Monday, July 23, 2001
On Hardware

Win í98 can recognise 9 monitors
Chiranjeev Pal Singh

CONFIGURE more than one video output for your Windows 98 PC Windows 98ís built-in support for multiple monitors allows you to connect more than one monitor to your system and stretch your desktop from one monitor to another. In fact, Windows í98 can recognise as many as nine monitors at one time though most of you who choose to venture into the multiple monitor realm probably will probably be using just two monitors.

Primary video

The most important piece in setting up a multiple monitor configuration is the choice of video cards. You can use any monitor you want to. Once you have the right video cards in the proper configuration using the right drivers, everything else just falls into place.

Itís important to keep in mind that not all video cards will work in a multiple monitor configuration, as youíll find out in a moment. Windows í98 lets you use multiple monitors by supporting both a primary and a secondary video card. Typically, the primary video card will be the card currently on your system and the secondary card will be the additional card that youíll add to your system.

The primary and secondary video cards must either be PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) or AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) video cards. While the Windows í98 documentation states that setting up a multiple monitor configuration requires two PCI video cards, Windows í98 multiple monitor feature actually works with any combination of PCI and AGP cards. For example, we can successfully set up a multiple monitor configuration with an AGP card and a PCI card.

Before you can add a secondary video card to your system, you need to know the type of video card currently in your system and determine whether that video card can be used in a multiple monitor configuration. Again, keep in mind that not all video cards support multiple monitor configurations. To find out the type of video card in your system, right-click on the My Computer icon and select Properties from the shortcut menu. When the System Properties sheet appears, select the Device Manager tab and then double-click the Display Adapters icon. When you do, youíll see the video card installed on your system.

 


Drivers

While analysing the current video card, youíll also need to find out which driver version it uses. To do so, double-click the video card icon to bring up the Properties sheet for the video card. Next, click on the Driver tab, and then click the Driver File Details button. When you do, youíll see what drivers your video card uses and the version number assigned to those drivers. If you want to see if thereís a more recent driver for your video card, you can click the Update Driver button to launch the Update Device Driver Wizard, which will walk you through the entire procedure. You can also find detailed information about your systemís video card by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Properties command from the shortcut menu. When you see the Display Properties sheet, select the Settings tab. Then click the Advanced button. When you do, youíll see another properties sheet for your video card; here, select the Adapter tab.

Does your video card support a multiple monitor configuration? Once you know the type

of video card you have in your system, youíll need to find out. To do so, youíll investigate the list of officially supported video cards in the article ĎHardware requirements for multiple display support in Windows 98í on the Microsoft Support

Online Web site

Even if you donít see your video card listed here, you should check with your video card manufacturer to find out whether it has an updated driver for your video card that will work in a multiple monitor configuration.

If you donít see your video card listed and there isnít an updated driver for it, youíll need to purchase two new video cards to set up your multiple monitor configurations. Be sure you purchase video cards that are on Microsoftís list of supported cards. Alternatively, you might want to investigate a dual graphic card such as the Appian Duet.

Once youíve identified your primary video card and know that it will work in a multiple monitor configuration, you can investigate your options for a secondary video card. You can choose video cards that are identical to the one currently in your system or you can choose another brand. However, while choosing a secondary video card, itís important that you choose a card from Microsoftís list of supported video cards and drivers.

Selecting secondary video

There are important things to consider when you select the type (AGP or PCI) for your additional video card. The choice you make depends on the type of video card currently in your system. Whether you end up configuring it as the primary or the secondary card will depend on how your systemís BIOS handles video configuration. Letís take a closer look at this aspect.

AGP v PCI

Most new systems on the market today come with a single AGP slot and several PCI slots. If your system has an AGP video card, youíll need to purchase a PCI video card. However, as we mentioned, how you configure that card will depend on how your systemís BIOS controls the video. This control factor is important in getting everything to work correctly, because when you install two video cards in a system and then turn it on, most systems will find and configure a PCI video card before configuring an AGP video card. Of course, itís preferable to have AGP video card serve as the primary video card because of its superior performance enhancements.

However, in order to make this happen, your systemís BIOS must allow you to specify which slot, either AGP or PCI, you want to configure as your primary video card.

AGP as Primary: If your system has an AGP video card and your systemís BIOS allows you to specify which slot is your primary video, the AGP slot will already be configured as the primary video. Then you simply add the PCI card to your system, connect it to your other monitor, and restart your system.

When you do, the PCI card will automatically be configured as the secondary video card. However, you should make sure that you add the video card to the PCI slot designated as number one on your motherboard. Check your system documentation or contact your systemís manufacturer to find out which PCI slot is designated as number one.

AGP as secondary: If your system has an AGP video card but your systemís BIOS doesnít allow you to specify a slot as your primary video, youíll need to take out your AGP video card, install the PCI video card, and set it up as your primary video card. To do so, open Device Manager and locate your video card.

Once you do, click the Remove button, close Device Manager, and shut down your system. You can then open the case, remove the AGP card, and insert the PCI card. Make sure that you add the video card to the first PCI slot on your motherboard. Check your system documentation or contact your systemís manufacturer to find out which PCI slot is designated number one.

When you finish, restart your system and Windows í98 will automatically configure the new PCI card as the primary video card. You can then shut down the system, add the AGP video card, and connect it to your other monitor. When you finish, restart your system and Windows 98 will automatically configure the new AGP card as the secondary video card.

No AGP adapter: If your system doesnít have an AGP adapter, youíll of course use two PCI cards. Your decision on which video card will be the primary and which will be the secondary depends on the particular PCI slots the video cards are in. The video card thatís in the first PCI slot will be the primary video and the secondary video will be the one thatís in the second PCI slot.

Setting up secondary video card

Once youíve selected and installed an appropriate secondary video card and connected to your other monitor, youíre ready to set up the card in Windows í98. When you turn on your system, Windows í98 will recognise the new video card and the attached monitor and install drivers for both. Youíll then be prompted to restart your system.

Youíll see both your video cards in the Device Manager tree once the drivers are installed. To verify this configuration after your system restarts, access Device Manager and double-click the Display Adapters icon. Once the drivers are installed for the secondary video card and the system is restarted, your Device Manager tree should include both video cards. If your secondary video card has a yellow exclamation icon on the top, chances are youíll need to update the video driver. To do so, follow the instructions we mentioned earlier for launching the Update Device Driver Wizard. If everything is functioning correctly, as Windows í98 is loading, youíll see an "If you can read this..." message appear on your second monitor. It will remain on the monitor for a few seconds and then disappear once Windows í98 is up and running.

As soon as Windows í98 loads, right-click on the desktop and select Properties from the shortcut menu. When the Display Properties sheet appears, click on the Settings tab. Youíll now see two monitors in the middle of the page. At this point, click on the second monitor icon. When you do, youíll see a message box that prompts you to enable the second monitor. To continue, click Yes.

At this point, the Display drop-down list box will show the secondary video card and monitor. The Colours and Screen Area panels will then show the settings for the secondary video card. When you first set up the secondary video card, it will probably be set to 256 colours at 640 by 480 resolution.

You can now set the colours and resolution to the desired settings. When you adjust the resolution of the second monitor, its icon will change size accordingly.

Youíll now want to make sure that the monitor icons correctly represent your actual monitorís physical positions. The monitor iconsí positions control how you drag icons and windows from one monitor to the other.

To investigate, right-click on the first monitor icon and select the Identify command from the shortcut menu. If the monitor icons are in the wrong positions, simply click on one of them and drag it to the correct position. After youíre finished, click Apply. As soon as you do, your second monitor will come to life. However, when it does, chances are good that your wallpaper will be out of whack. To remedy this problem, simply click the Background tab and reset your wallpaper. You can now drag windows and icons between your two desktops. Let the multi-display fun begin!


Home

Top