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Windows 8 Arrives with Enhanced Support for Multiple Monitors


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One of the great features that Windows 8 will arrive with is the improved support for multiple monitors, meant to provide users with an enhanced experience when it comes to multitasking.

Through using a multi-monitor setup, people can become more productive than before by having their Windows spread across multiple screens.

Windows 8 will offer support for multiple monitors on all kind of devices, including tablet PCs, which will easily offer support for large screen and high resolution monitors connected through HDMI cables.

Multi-monitors setups are enjoying increased adoption these days, and Microsoft wants to make sure that they offer all the necessary features to provide users with the best in this area.

In a post on the Building Windows 8 blog – which, unfortunately, is not live anymore - Mark Yalovsky, a lead program manager on Microsoft’s User Experience team, explains that the use of multiple monitors resides in the wish to benefit from increased multitasking capabilities.

Many developers and IT professionals have more than one monitor connected to their PCs. Overall, around 14 percent of PC users have used multiple monitors, while the percentage drops to 5 points when laptop users are involved.

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For that, Microsoft set a series of goals for the use of more screens with Windows 8:

- Make the desktop a more personal experience. Perhaps the most personalized feature on the desktop is the ability to customize the desktop background. We set out to make this a great experience on multiple monitors too.

- Improve the efficiency of accessing apps across monitors. In Windows 7, the top request from people using multiple monitors was to improve the taskbar efficiency.

- Improve the efficiency of accessing system UI. In Windows 7, you could only access the Start menu on one monitor. With the introduction in Windows 8 of new UI that puts controls at the edges of the screen, we wanted to make sure that it’s still easy to access Start, the charms, the clock, and your recently used apps from every monitor.

- Allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps. You can launch or move a Metro style app to any monitor, side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen.

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When it comes to the personalization options available for those using more than one monitor, Windows 8 has in store features such as the possibility to set different backgrounds for each desktop, slide shows for multiple monitors, or the option to expand a background image to cover all screens.

Additionally, the taskbar has been improved to offer increased support for use on more than a single desktop. Thus, users can choose to have the taskbar buttons shown on the taskbar where the window is open, or can have them shown on the main taskbar and on the taskbar where the window is open.

Windows 8 will also come with the default setting of having taskbar buttons shown on all taskbars, which means that the user can activate any windows on any of the active monitors.

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The upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview will arrive with a series of enhancements in the multi-monitor support area, through removing broken corners and edges and through allowing for the start menu to be launched on any monitor.

Users will also be able to switch between open apps from any monitor, while having access to the charms bar on all screens. Moreover, they will be able to launch and move Metro apps to any monitor.

For that, they can bring up the start menu and launch the app, switch back from it on any monitor, use keyboard shortcuts to launch it, or drag and drop the app to the desired monitor. Windows 8 Release Preview will also come with improved mouse targeting on the shared edge.


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