And not even for the reasons you might think. This one is something specific.
Windows XP Display Properties. Suck. Hard.
Ever try to control multiple displays or extended desktop with Windows? It is absolutely awful. Really is torturous. Funny part is that it LOOKS like it should be easy and consistent. Of course we all know looks can be are deceiving.
So if you have two displays connected to a Windows system, you can go to the Display Properties and set one of them up to be extended. That usually works… usually. Even that can be a bit painful at times. Occasionally it just won’t output to the second monitor. I don’t know why or how… but it decides.
There’s also the um… transition direction between the two monitors. I’m not sure what it is actually called, but it is the direction the mouse goes to get to the other screen. You should be able to just drag and drop the monitors around in the Properties to get it to work. This is usually consistent enough… but it is returning to this state that is the problem – especially with a laptop. Good luck undocking a laptop and coming back to the dock and having everything work the way you originally set it.
Thankfully people like Intel have developed their own utilities to work with their hardware that make these things easier to control. Intel in particular makes a few nice features like this – specifically their Schemes. They work. Every time. Nvidia’s control panel is close… but not as user friendly. Looks pretty confusing – even on the Standard Settings option. Advanced actually doesn’t seem to change much of anything though.
So yes… Microsoft’s monitor management in XP is terrible. Even though I’ve used Vista and Windows 7, I haven’t tried anything with multiple monitors or extended desktop with either one yet.
Here’s to hoping they suck less.