Windows 8 Multiple Monitors Enhancements Explained

Microsoft have improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8. A post briefly appeared on the Building Windows 8 blog outlines some of the new multiple monitor features that will be coming in Windows 8. Particularly the implementation of simulated corners that prevent the cursor from overshooting the mark and going off into another screen! Microsoft has […]

Windows 8 Release Preview Enchances Multi-Monitor Support

Microsoft have improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8. A post briefly appeared on the Building Windows 8 blog outlines some of the new multiple monitor features that will be coming in Windows 8. Particularly the implementation of simulated corners that prevent the cursor from overshooting the mark and going off into another screen!

Microsoft has implemented a new way of using Metro on multiple displays by designing an improved method to identify shared edges. Windows 8 Release Preview will include "real corners" along shared edges to bump up against and target controls like the charms bar or app switcher. There will be a larger area that you can mouse to activate the Metro elements, and these will not interfere with moving between monitors.

Microsoft is adding a few new features to improve desktop wallpaper support: Firstly, multi-monitor users will be able to select different desktop backgrounds for each of their monitors, and where needed and configured (for example with different monitor sizes/resolutions or even orientation) Windows will shuffle through images that it thinks are most suited to the monitor set-up. Also, you'll be able to set a specific option that spans wallpapers across multiple monitors for cool effects.

Windows 8 Release Preview: Multi-monitor Desktop Settings

Windows 8 Release Preview: Multi-monitor desktop wallpaper settings

Another improvement is the new "multi-monitor taskbar," that users can show on secondary monitors, with options to choose how the application icons are shown on these taskbars. By default the app buttons will be shown on both taskbars, but can also be set to show app buttons only on the taskbar belonging to the monitor where the application is open.

Windows 8 Release Preview: Multi-monitor taskbar settings

Microsoft also improving the way Start Screen and metro apps are displayed on multi-monitor set up in Release Preview. Microsoft says that while previously the Start screen and charms were only available on a single monitor, improvements will be made to activate the gesture corners on all monitors to let you show the Start screen and WinRT apps on whichever monitor you choose depending on what monitor you mouse to the bottom-left in. You'll also be able to bring up charms and the app switcher on any of your monitors, again depending on where you activate the gesture corners.

Windows 8 Release Preview: Multi-monitor Start Screen display

Windows 8 Release Preview: Multi-monitor Metro Style App display

Windows 8 Release Preview: Metro Style App on Multi-monitor setup

  • "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," Microsoft said.

Although these improvements will certainly help multiple-monitor users, Microsoft conclueds by saying how they have "lots of ideas for how [they] could do even more with Metro style apps on multiple monitors", including the possibility of multi-monitor APIs.

Watch the Windows 8 Mutliple monitors in the video below: