Microsoft has added deep support for multiple monitors in Windows 8, giving users the option of using more than one monitor to enhance productivity.
Microsoft has enhanced Windows 8 to
support multiple monitors.
In a May 21 blog post
, Mark Yalovsky, a lead program manager
on the Windows 8 User Experience team, went into great detail about the
enhancements, noting that connecting multiple monitors to a PC is one of the
easiest ways to enhance your Windows experience.
From the very first public release
and demonstrations of Windows 8, we have shown improvements over Windows 7 for
multi-monitor scenarios and have shown how we support new Metro-style apps
within a multi-monitor environment, wrote Steven Sinofsky, Microsofts
president of Windows, in an introductory note to Yalovskys post on the Building Windows 8
blog. We have
continued to develop and refine features for multiple monitors and have
significantly enhanced the experience as we move to our next milestone, the
Release Preview. This post provides a bit of a preview of work that was not yet
complete at the Consumer Preview, and serves as a reminder that the Developer
Preview and Consumer Preview were works in progress.
A multi-monitor setup enables users
to be more productive by having more windows across multiple screens, Yalovsky
said, noting that many technical professionals already use multiple monitors in
their work. Data collected through the Windows Feedback Program
indicates that approximately 14 percent of desktop PCs and approximately 5
percent of laptop PCs have run with multiple monitors. And on a personal note,
Yalovsky said he has had a multi-monitor setup for the past 10 years.
Indeed, a trip down the halls at
Microsoft provides a good example of how technical professionals use multiple
monitors, as many of the engineers use anywhere from two to four monitors.
This affords two important
scenarios, Yalovsky said First, developers can use a tool like Visual Studio
on one screen and have the running/debugged program on another, or they can add
an additional monitor and reserve it for side tasks such as email or Web
Overall, Yalovsky said Microsofts
multi-monitor goals for Windows 8 were to:
- Make the desktop a more personal
experience. Perhaps the most personalized
feature on the desktop is the ability to customize the desktop background. The
company 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 task bar efficiency.
- Improve the efficiency of accessing system
UI. In Windows 7, users could only access the start menu on one monitor.
With the introduction in Windows 8 of a new UI that puts controls at the edges
of the screen, we wanted to make sure that its still easy to access start, the
charms, the clock and recently used apps from every monitor.
- Allow side-by-side Metro-style and
desktop apps. Users can launch or move a Metro-style
app to any monitor, side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen.
So with Windows 8, Microsoft
enables users to customize the desktop background for each monitor in a multi-monitor
setup. Microsoft also enables multi-monitor slide shows and lets users span a
single panoramic picture across multiple monitors. Windows 8 also features
multi-monitor support for the task bar. In addition, Yalovsky said Windows 8
allows users to launch and move the new Metro-style apps to any monitor in a
We have lots of ideas for how we
could do even more with Metro-style apps on multiple monitors, Yalovsky said.
Our goal for Windows 8 is to deliver a great Metro-style app experience
alongside desktop apps, improving multitasking efficiency and making it easy to
access the controls you need along the edges of every screen. We wanted to make
sure your desktop experience was even more efficient, with new functionality, such
as the spanning taskbar, and we wanted you to also have access to Metro-style
apps while youre also using the desktop. As we see new apps developed, and as
we see how developers might want to take advantage of multi-monitor
configurations in new ways with immersive and full-screen apps, we will, of
course, enhance this experience (and APIs) even further.