My Vista Ultimate Upgrade Experience Series – Multiple Monitors and MaxVista

Series Theme

After going to many Microsoft shows and meetings and seeing all the cool new features in Vista, I finally decide to take the plunge. This plunge started around December 15th, and with all new technologies, the transition has been bumpy for me. My friend Richard Hundhausen who blogs at http://blog.hundhausen.com/ suggested I blog my experience for everyone’s benefit so here we go.

Feedback Welcome

All this Vista stuff is very new to me and I expect I’ll get things wrong in my posts. Please please please post comments on these posts with corrections and suggestions.


My Multiple Monitor Problem (MaxVista Stops Working)

Years ago I became addicted to programming on multiple monitors. First, using my portable with a small external monitor, then discovering I could use both the VGA and DVI ports on my portable and have two remote monitors, then finally, after reading a blog post by Scott Hanselman, I switched to using a product called MaxVista which allowed me to have 3 monitors! The other thing that was nice is using MaxVista, I could have just one computer that I used for all my programs and files, my notebook computer. Notebooks had gotten powerful enough and provided enough storage to make this a work well. How convenient!

Sadly, this era has ended for me. MaxVista no longer works with Vista for me. The following posts from MaxVista and Microsoft explain why. Basically, it boils down to the new graphics drivers in Vista don’t support this ethernet method of sharing monitors. I hope this changes in the future, but for now no solution.

So, you’re probably wondering how I’ve fed my addiction to multiple monitors? Back to 2 computers. Off to Fry’s and about $2500’s later, I now have a desktop computer with 2 Video cards and a large assortment of other things including a 2.4 Ghz 4MB Cache Intel processor and a few 10K hard drives. The performance is awesome compared to my Core Duo Acer 8200 notebook, but I do have the hassle of having to move data back and forth between my notebook and desktop as well as having to maintain two copies of the all my software. The Gig network support helps but I have already had some sharing "issues".

The Good News

Just so I can’t be accused of being a complainer, I always like to say something good about Vista and how it has helped me. Here are some good things I’ve found with Vista.

  • Faster Boot and Shutdown Times (at least twice as fast as XP).
  • Better Battery Life on my Noteboook (guessing 20% better).
  • Nice to see thumbnails of my running apps when mousing over running programs start bar.
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Comments

  1. Peter
    I have been using 4 monitors on one PC for several years. I use simple multiple matrox G550’s – one serial and the other AGP. Windows server 2003 provides support for up to 10 Monitors. This of course is great for 2d but not for 3d – but its programming anyway. Im almost ready to ugrade and try 2008. I think it should do the same.

  2. Andrew Carter says:

    Hey Peter,

    You should try a program Multiplicity that would help you with the issue.
    you can get it at http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/

    I am addicted to doing development on multiple monitors too.. and I do HATE wires.
    This way I have a clean desk with a wireless keyboard and mouse and 4 LCD. Now it is fun …
    because some screens are xp, vista, server 2k3 so I will share the resources of multiple computers to help me acheeve my work faster. I do lots of .NET on one computer, SQL queryies on another ones.. web design and graphics on someother computer… and Google for help.. or lookup previous code on another machine.. This way my development computer is not overworked with all the programs that I am in a need of at a given time

    Try it. It may work for you too..

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