Multi-monitor support on different devices is the best friend of people who love multi-tasking and professional workers also prefer to use multi-monitor feature on their PC’s to get advantage of multiple screens at once.
Windows 8 with its Modern-UI apps also supported multi-monitor feature but, there were some interesting limitations in it. You couldn’t run more than one Modern-UI apps on different screens and you were left with the option to use multiple desktop apps on different screens but, only one Modern-UI on one particular screen.
With the release of Windows 8.1 Preview on June 26, Microsoft has made many improvements in the latest update for Windows 8 and some new features has also been added. The multi-monitor support of Windows 8.1 has also been improved and you can now use multiple Modern and desktop apps on different screens and the limit of one only Modern-UI app has been removed. You can also use the snap feature on different screens and different snap positions are available depending on the app and screen resolutions of monitors.
So, let’s start from steps of settings up a multi-monitor which have changed.
The ‘Devices’ Charm has the same settings as Windows 8 where you have to select ‘Project‘ and then the method in which the screen would be projected. I choose the ‘Extend’ since it lets me extend my screen resolutions and lets me use multiple apps at a time. But, you can choose other options like duplicate, second screen or other options
Once the multi-monitor has been enabled, you can adjust the screen resolutions, the behavior of different apps and the primary and secondary monitors by going to ‘PC Settings’ > ‘PC & devices’ > ‘Display’ where the options of both screens can be customized.
My Screen resolutions:
I decided to connect by work Sony notebook with 16-inch screen to 15-inch LCD which was lying free as a spare. My Sony notebook has a screen resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels and it has a VGA port which I used to connect my LCD to get multi-monitor features.
The resolution I got on my second monitor was 1024 x 768 pixels since it is 2 year old and don’t support high resolutions. But, still it worked for me.
Finishing the multi-monitor setup with taskbar settings:
I like my taskbar to be showed on all screens and this also brings the Start Sutton of Windows 8.1 Preview on left corner of all taskbars. But, you can always use the ‘hide taskbars from other screens’ and/or ‘view taskbar where programs are open’ options.
The Start Screen on multiple screens:
Just like Windows 8, Windows 8.1 don’t let you open the Start Screen on all the screens instead, the Start Screen can only be accessed on one screen at a time and on opening it on another, the first screen with Start open would switch to desktop. This limit seems to be legit since, you won’t need to open Start Screen on all your monitors.
Multi-tasking with Modern and desktop apps:
The best feature in the multi-monitor support of Windows 8.1 is the ability to use uncountable Modern-UI apps on all screens. Yes, you can now open different Modern-UI apps on different screens or you may choose to open desktop apps or desktop and Modern-UI app combination on different screens. In short, there is no limitation on how you use the Modern and desktop apps on your screens.
Snap on different screens:
If you are a real multi-tasker and takes full advantage of the snap mode of Windows 8.1 then, multi-monitor support makes this feature more awesome. You can now snap apps on different screens according to different sizes and multiple apps can be snapped on big resolution displays.
I had snapped 5 different apps on my screen including desktop, Windows Store, Calculator (Modern-UI), Twitter and the Videos (Xbox Videos) app on two of my screens which helped me a lot in my multi-tasking capabilities.
The combination of desktop and Modern-UI apps in snap and multi-monitor increases the productivity of Windows 8.1 by many folds.
Here is a quick video showing the multi-monitor support of Windows 8.1 with app snaps and usage of both desktop and Modern-UI apps.
Microsoft has really done a good job in the multi-monitor support of Windows 8.1. With the ability of using different apps with different sizes on multi-monitor using snap, Windows 8.1 has become a real multi-tasking OS after Windows 7.