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The Dual Screen Suggestion

Recently I have set up a second monitor for my computer. Having used it for a few days I found it to be quite useful as there is twice as much space to keep everything organized. Also I don’t need to switch back and forth between windows when I’m copying stuff down, reading an article, doing research or organizing ideas. Right now as I write this article I am writing it in one window while I talk to Geoff about the site and look at my brain-storm in the other. The only thing you have to watch out for with two screens is you have to make sure you stay focused, having all that bright light can be distracting.

Whether you are an everyday housewife or an important CEO having two screens is useful on many different levels. Often while checking emails and working on other projects, you wish you just had more space then the tiny monitor you are stuck on. If you decide to get a bigger monitor it doesn’t really help the situation, because all that happens is the same stuff gets bigger. Having a bigger monitor only helps of you drastically change the resolution. So the most logical conclusion would be to set up an additional monitor. Although two monitors sounds nice it isn’t exactly for everyone. Take a look at some pros and cons:


  • More space for advanced applications (Photoshop, Visual Studio.. 3ds Max..)
  • Multitasking (keep email on one screen while you surf the web with the other)
  • Less switching back and for the between applications (write on one while you have notes on the other,)


  • Distracting
  • Takes up desk real-estate
  • More expensive
  • Slows down processor and GPU
  • Easier to leave more stuff open slowing down RAM

Some of the things you will need to set up two screens are:

  1. A second monitor
  2. A second video card / video card that has multi monitor support
  3. A OS that supports multiple monitors (Win 2000/XP/Vista most linux distributions..)


If you are missing the second video card be careful when installing it, If you don’t know where it would go or what it would look like please for the safety of you and computer do not try installing it yourself, get a technician or bring it in to a computer shop to install the card and help set up your monitors.

“So should I get a multi-monitor setup?”

Ultimately the answer depends on how you use the computer. A multi-monitor setup can drastically increase your productivity, allowing you to multi-task like never before. If you are the type of person who has a one-track mind, or likes to focus on one thing at a time, this is not for you. For example If you tend to focus on a single task in your web editor, the extra screen would probably be a waste of money and just another distraction. On the other hand, If you would also like to check your email or find references online while doing a task, using an extra screen could save you a ton of effort.


Windows 2000 and XP both have dual screen support but do not extend their task bars onto those screens to stay more organized and efficient I recommend getting Oscar’s Multi-Monitor taskbar, A Free application that will easily resolve the issue.

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2 Responses to “The Dual Screen Suggestion”

  1. Roostabunny says:

    Long overdue for the first comment on this post, but here goes…

    I’m running an auxiliary monitor off my ThinkPad T42, and I’ll never go back. No additional software or hardware was required. But the thing that makes it really fun is the wooden stand I built to prop the laptop up to the same height as the arm-mounted 17″ external LCD.

    With this setup, the effect of the difference in screen size is negligible because my mouse pointer tracks straight across from one screen to the other. The wooden stand is very stable, and is designed for the lappie to be open almost 180°, so it has a very small footprint. Typing on the ThinkPad is out of the question when it’s in the stand, but I designed it for use with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

    That Multi-Monitor task-bar is a great idea, though I’m sure the ThinkPad integrated graphics aren’t up to the task. Still, my productivity (and my ability to think straight at the computer) got a big boost from this combination of extra screen and desk real estate.

  2. Roostabunny says:

    Sure thing.

    From Laptop Stand

    It’s dirt simple, and, unfortunately for the photo, an ugly prototype made from wood found in my father-in-law’s scrap bin. Actually, the first prototype was made from a folded piece of triple-wall corrugated cardboard (and I used it for months), so this one’s fairly durable by comparison. There’s room between the lappie and the back plate to stick a usb hub and the wireless keyboard mouse receiver if I wanted, and the air flow is pretty good. Best feature aside from the height – this design could easily be mounted to a wall (or monitor arm, if I had a spare) and made to fold flat. The next version will integrate the ThinkPad dock into a high-angle stand for some quick-connect goodness.

    Please pardon my re-purposed CRT wall-mount arm. I convinced the suits to spring for an LCD, but not a wall mount. Luckily, this 60lb capacity beast was waiting for me next to a neighborhood dumpster. Call it trash picking or recycling, free is free.

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