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Switching between laptop display and external monitor

by thewordgirl / September 17, 2006 1:19 AM PDT

Apology in advance for this LONG post, but I am not the most technically savvy person, so I'm explaining the long way.

I am running a Dell Latitude notebook and a Gateway tower (both on Windows XP Professional) off a ConnectPro Master-IT USB KVM switch, so they share my Samsung SyncMaster 150MP monitor and Microsoft wireless keyboard/mouse. Normally I run the laptop with the lid closed, only active display being the Samsung.

I sometimes need to disconnect the Dell to use it in other rooms, and therein lies my problem. The Display Properties tab shows two monitors: #1 being my Samsung and #2 being the Dell's display. I tried adjusting the Display Settings to make #2 the Primary display (thinking I would just switch it back, if needed, when I reconnected the Dell to the KVM), but when I do this, I lose the Samsung AND the Dell displays, whether I hit APPLY or OKAY. I end up having to shut the laptop off via power button since I cannot even navigate to the Start > Shutdown buttons. I power it down, disconnect the KVM cables and restart it, and I get my startup and log-in screen. Five seconds after I log in and get my Windows desktop, the screen goes black (indicating to me that the Dell's BIOS recognizes the Dell display as Primary but once Windows takes over, it applies a different setting).

Of course, once I reconnect the KVM cables (no need to restart), the Dell's desktop pops right up on the Samsung (along with any menus generated by my random frustrated keystrokes on the Dell's keyboard). When I re-open Display properties, they've been reset back to the Samsung as the Primary monitor (***??).

I KNOW there is a way for this to work, because I did it yesterday - carried the laptop upsatirs and worked with no snags for 4 hours (racking my brain to figure out what I did differently). But the Dell went into standby/sleep mode for several hours (I closed the program I was in, but didn't shut down before leaving the house). Came back to a sleeping Dell. After a few failed attempts to get it to wake up (not realizing that it WAS awake and responding to my keystrokes even though I couldn't see it), I shut it down and restarted, and thus began the cycle of Turn On - Log In - Windows Desktop Appears - Screen Goes Black.

Isn't there a way to set it so that the Dell automatically reverts to its own display when not connected to the switch, and failing that, how do I manually switch back and forth between them in a way that ''sticks?'' I'm pretty sure I've inadvertently triggered this via Display Settings, but I cannot figure out HOW, or how to undo it. Thank you in advance for ANY help.

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I opted for a mirror display instead of 2.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 17, 2006 2:16 AM PDT

But since there is no standard on the menus to do this I can only offer that rather than a 1 display and a two display we opted for just 1 and had no need to tweak it ever again.


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For your Dell Latitude...
by Edward ODaniel / September 17, 2006 3:23 AM PDT

it will help you to make use of its USER'S GUIDE (which, if you can't find it can be accessed from Dell by making use of the Service Tag number on the bottom of the laptop).

You didn't state your model but according to mine, under the "using the display" chapter then under "Dual Independant Display mode" it tells you how to set it up (by selecting the "Extend my Windows desktop".

It then tells you that you can disable that setting by un-selecting "Extend my Windows Desktop", and clicking Apply.

If necessary, press The function key (that is the key with the Fn on it) and the F8 key (that key also has CRT/LCD and controls whether you use an external monitor or the laptop's LCD) to bring the screen image back to the computer display.

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by thewordgirl / September 17, 2006 5:13 AM PDT

Rather than try to make the Dell's monitor my primary, I extended the display onto that monitor, right-clicked on the screen and changed the Output Mode to "Notebook." Still not sure what caused it to stop working the first time - maybe going into sleep mode reset it? - but it appears to be the solution I needed. Thanks for the replies!

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EASIEST WAY to shift display between laptop and monitor
by rxsayantan / January 15, 2011 7:50 PM PST

If you press Ctrl + Alt + F12 together, you will get a box that appears on your computer screen that promts you to click on whatever option you need. For example, you can either choose to have your display on the external monitor alone or both on your laptop and external monitor and also can add extra monitors to your laptop.

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