Microsoft improves multi-monitor support in Windows 8 Release Preview

By on May 16, 2012, 1:30 PM

Microsoft plans to make several improvements on how Windows manages multi-monitor setups starting with the next major release of its popular operating system. In a post at the Building Windows 8 Blog — which oddly enough has been taken down — Mark Yalovsky, a lead program manager on the User Experience team, went into detail explaining some features already available in the Consumer Preview, like taskbar options for multiple displays, and some that will change like the ability to launch Metro apps on any display.

Multiple monitor setups were once reserved for diehard enthusiasts and IT professionals but that appears to be changing at a quickening pace. Data collected through the Windows Feedback Program indicates that approximately 14% of desktop PCs and approximately 5% of laptop PCs have run with multiple monitors. The most obvious rationale for adding additional monitors is that it boosts productivity.

With that in mind, Microsoft says it set out to achieve a few goals for those using multiple monitors with Windows 8: make the desktop a more personal experience, improve the efficiency of accessing apps across monitors, improve the efficiency of accessing system UI, and allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps.

Unfortunately, Metro felt a little awkward on multiple monitors in the Consumer Preview but Microsoft says it is making some tweaks to address customer feedback, which "has been vocal and clear."

Starting with the upcoming Release Preview, they are making all the corners and edges alive on all monitors, rather than just on the main screen. This means you will be able to bring up the Metro Start screen, the charms, and app switching on any monitor simply by invoking them from each monitor’s corners.

To launch or move an app to a specific monitor there are also plenty of options. Users can bring up Start on a specific monitor and launch an app, drag and drop it across monitors, use new keyboard shortcuts (Win + Pg Up and Win + Pg Dn) to move them between monitors, and more.

Microsoft says it has improved mouse targeting along the shared edge so you won’t glide onto the second screen and miss the UI controls. The improvements are demonstrated in the video above.

User Comments: 18

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You know, I'm rather wary of how Windows8 will turn out at the end of it all... But the fact that MS has finally taken on one of my biggest pet peeves with the handling of multiple screens is definitely a positive move in the right direction. Now, whether they actually handle the situation effectively, that's a whole other matter.

Recycle said:

I thoroughly enjoyed Windows 8 CP, and multi monitor support was definitely a concern of mine. I'm pretty psyched that Microsoft is really listening to all the comments people are bringing up, and this looks awesome from the video.

Can't wait to try RP.

MrAnderson said:

Always good to have improvements like this; it was one of my biggest issues.. the multimonitor and the sensativity of corner activation of charms and running apps...

Overall it has been a good experience.

Guest said:

Will MS charge extra for each monitor that the OS will support, liek a built in DRM that says "Ohh sorry goto the metro store and buy the key to allow you access to the 2nd or 3rd monitor"..

I mean they are already planning on doing so with DVD's who knows what else is next, regardless of hw many ppl who chat on this site use DVD's there is still a vast userbase who do so and the Metro UI is nothing but a cashcow to enforce MS's marketshare as for ease of use it has already been showen on numerous vids it does nothing of the sort.

ikesmasher said:

id rather they update windows 7 to add this.

Guest said:

This has been around for years... their's third party software that does this.

Guest said:

OMG plz...

Microsoft, if you are listening... (I hope), Metro UI is nice, but why market it @ 38 & 71 year olds the same/alike?

40yrold keyboard jockies ... ~who grew up on graphical file system (commodore/amiga, apple, spark/indy, & Windows 1.0 ~ Win XP, etc) as their monitor simulated a graphical workbench are not the same consumers who don't want to be overwhelmed and need a "framework" to overlay their OS (metro UI) so that keeping track of "thinkgs" is easier 4 THEM.

I don't have a twitter account, I don't have a face book account... I am not that needy. I resent an OS "geared" towards that flavor, yet utterly dismissing then oldschool demographic that grew up with the desktop gui OS.

Try this...

Create a folder on ur desktop, drop two icon of anything (websites) in it. Now drag one icon anwhere in that window and release...

Now atempt to drag the other icon and place it anywhere you'd like within that window and release...

If that^ aint funny.. (& no matter what ur rebuttal/going to "explain" 2 me.... is even if you do get those icons to stay...

Just close the window and re-open it and constinue banging ur head forver... & ever... & ever..

Coincidentally, when I put a Micrometer on the bench, or specifically within a drawer.... I expect it to remain in that exact place when I open it up. No matter what!

When I place my car in my garage, I want it exactly there when I open it up. Same with the rake in the shed, or a pair of pliers in a drawer. Windows XP is functionally superior to Windows 6~8.

I've rezerected My amiga bcuz MS is so indept!


MarkHughes said:


I couldn't agree more with that last part, I thought it was just me who got fed up of files not being where I left them Its one of the many things I miss about the Amiga. I knew where everything was on that.

bugejakurt said:


I agree and do not with the last part because I too missed that feature when migrating to Windows 7. However I used to have a cluttered window because of that feature. Maybe they should do some other type of intelligent sorting or maybe sections in the window which have freely placing of files/folders

tonylukac said:

Seems pretty broad that an os catering to tablets is so worried about multiple monitors. Besides, I live in a condo and have no room.

Guest said:

Windows 8 needs to provide choice by allowing users to use the classic interface instead of forcing the Metro interface on everyone. Apple decides what's best for users, now Microsoft is going down that road, it may be time to move to Linux.

sapo joe said:

So, what about Metro? Can we disable it yet? This is a deal breaker for me... I'll end up waiting for a server version of windows 8, so I can have a metro-free interface! (at least I hope so)

sapo joe said:

Another thing is that MS should give back us the audio hardware acceleration. Harder to happen, but I miss playing games with Directsound 3d and EAX.

treeski treeski said:

I still don't get what everyone's beef is with metro. As a standard desktop user, there is no need to use any metro applications. The metro screen simply serves as a glorified start menu, that in many ways is superior. If you ignore metro apps, your daily workflow will not change.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

All they need to do is add choice - the choice to have win7 or XP interface. Not so hard. But they want to force people to fit their mould. Fools.

Guest said:

Dear Mr.particleZ0069,

Right click on the window.

Select 'Arrange Icons By'

Uncheck 'Auto Arrange'

Now the icons will stay in the same position as you left it.

Hope that solves your problem.


Kishore Kumar A

sapo joe said:

I still don't get what everyone's beef is with metro. As a standard desktop user, there is no need to use any metro applications. The metro screen simply serves as a glorified start menu, that in many ways is superior. If you ignore metro apps, your daily workflow will not change.

It's not that simple. And, besides that, it's intrusive and of course that thing is eating system resources all the time.

treeski treeski said:

It's not that simple. And, besides that, it's intrusive and of course that thing is eating system resources all the time.

How is it not that simple? I won't argue about the resources claim, because, I suppose you're right... it will take up resources. Whether it uses enough resources to make any noticable impact is another question. I suspect that it will probably take a nibble or two here and there... I highly doubt it will eat 'em up.

Seriously though, load up the metro page. Remove all of the metro apps, and organize your regular desktop, start-menu apps however you like. The steps you take to get to those applications will be the same or fewer. I don't buy into your obtrusive claim. You're only focusing on one thing at a time anyway. It's not like it's some irritating notification that distracts you from whatever you're working on.

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