The dual monitor approach allows me to either put all my menus on one monitor or to have two programs open, one on each monitor. While I knew that for a minimum of $500.00 I could purchase a special video card that had ports for two monitors and use it with either win95 or NT4, I did not know about the other characteristics of these cards and did not want to take the chance. Instead I decided to put NT 4.0 on one machine and set it up with dual monitors. I searched on the web and at bookstores and libraries on how to configure this but came up with no more information than it could be done and it could be done with Matrox Millenium cards. I, then, searched the Matrox forum on CompuServe and found enough information to start. Since then, I have sent questions to the Matrox forum and have received excellent replies from their technical support team.
Basically, to set up dual monitors, one must have identical cards. According to Matrox tech support, this will work with either 2 Millenium ll cards or two Mystique 220 cards. While they do not have to have the same amount of memory on them, the setup will default to the card that has the least amount of memory so that using cards with different amounts of memory would be a waste.
Once known, the procedure was simple. All I did was setup two monitors side by side plug them both in, and install the drivers and MGA software. See figure 1. I, then, chose the dual screens and since they work as a unit, I chose the 1600 x 600 resolution setting.
If I want to use just one screen, all I have to do, is click on the one screen setting, and without having to reboot my system, it changes the setting back to one monitor with a resolution of 600 x 800.
One problem exists though with dual screens. When a menu or splash screen is centered on one screen, it is in the center. When it is centered on two monitors it is what is called "in the gutter."That is it straddles both monitors and is hard to access. There is a program put out by a company called Axiom that takes care of this problem. It is reasonably priced and has a version for win 95 (one card dual monitor display) and for win NT 4. It is called Dual-screen NT Window Manager.
Axiom International is located at 1805 Drew Street, Clearwater, Florida 33765. Their phone number is: (813) 442-7774, and their fax number is: (813) 442-8344. Their URL is: www.axiomint.com. They can also be reached through e-mail at: email@example.com.
The program gives the user the option of specifying where a "normally centered screen" will go. The settings are automatic, right, left, or ignore. Also, if the user does not want all of these "gutter" screens to go to the right or left, he or she can specify them as an exception. Figure 2 will show the main screen for Dual-screen NT Window Manager.
In order for the program to work, it must remain open while working with other programs. It, however, can be minimized. It also can be installed to start every time the computer is turned on. Since I will not always be using both screens, I decided to put a shortcut on my desktop and activate it as I needed it.
Axiom technical support is very easy to access and very helpful. I find the combination of dual monitors and the Dual-screen NT Window Manager a wonderful addition to my computer setup.
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