Nice Multi-Monitor Enhancements in Windows 8.1


Josh Condie – I am sure this is a feature that a lot of us are interested in knowing about.  Most of the partners that I visit (on their site), have offices full of multi-monitor setups, and not just the developers!   It is truly a productivity enhancement, and Window 8 brought some nice new capabilities such as the ability to have both the Modern and Classic UI’s open on separate screens.  Here is another blog that is a great review of everything that went into the multi-monitor enhancements in Windows 8:  Enhancing Windows 8 for Multi-Monitors

Here’s even more of what Windows 8 brought to multi-screen setups:

  • Start. You can bring up Start on any monitor by moving your mouse to the bottom-left corner, or via the Start charm that you can invoke from the top and bottom-right corners of any monitor. Pressing the Windows key launches Start on the last monitor where Start or a Metro style app appeared.
  • Switch back to an app from any monitor. You can switch back to an app on any monitor by moving your mouse to the top-left corner. Clicking the app thumbnail switches you back to the app on that monitor.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. We are introducing new keyboard shortcuts that build on the shortcuts from Windows 7. Win+Pg Up or Win+Pg Dn moves Metro style apps across monitors. Win+Arrow and Win+Shift+Arrow continue to work on desktop apps as they did in Windows 7, by snapping and moving desktop windows across monitors.
  • Drag and drop. Using the mouse, you can now drag and drop Metro Style apps across monitors. Drag and drop works for both full screen and snapped apps.
  • Further you had the ability to extend the taskbar across all screens, customize desktop backgrounds and slideshows for all screens, and much more.

Also, here is video that was created to highlight the changes, last Fall:




*Note - You can have the Start screen and apps from the Windows Store on only one monitor at a time. When you open the Start screen, charms, or your recent apps on a different monitor, apps from the Windows Store also move to that monitor.


Windows 8.1 is going to take this to another level, as well as prepare us for the future of onscreen viewing (think 4K!!!).

Multi-tasking with Modern and desktop apps:


My favorite function in the multi-monitor support in Windows 8.1 is the ability to use numerous Modern-UI apps on all screens. That’s right, you can now open and combine Modern-UI and Classic-UI apps on any screen in your monitor configuration. Basically, there is no limitation as to what goes where and how much screen real estate you can configure for it (it’s just a quick slide/drag of the finger/mouse to resize).


Here’s an example image of 2 monitors sharing space for many different apps, snapped into place and resizable to any width:

How Windows 8.1 has improved the multi-monitor support with snap?

This combination of Classic Desktop and Modern-UI apps in snap and multi-monitor allows you to be more productive, irrespective of whether you type, click, touch or all the above.

Lastly, Microsoft has also disclosed that Windows 8.1 brings improvements to deal with high-DPI scaling issues on high-resolution displays, such as in 4K monitors, high-DPI tablets, notebooks, multi-monitor setups, and to help developers to optimize Windows 8 apps to scale automatically based on the screen DPI (dots per inch).

In conclusion, Windows 8.1 really improves the end-user perception and experience for setups with multiple monitors.  From opening Classic desktop and Modern apps on any screen and with any sizing, to booting to the classic desktop, to disabling the hot corners, many things are a lot more useable with any method of input – mouse, keyboard, touch, voice, and maybe soon… gesture (think Kinect for PC).


Download 8.1 and give it try!


Josh C.