Windows 8 Improves Multi Monitor Support

Windows 8 Multi Monitor

Yesterday, Mark Yalovsky, Senior Program Manager Lead for the Windows User experience released a video showing off features coming in Windows 8 Release Preview. The new features targeted one part of the Windows 8 user experience that up to now has been sub-par: multi monitor support.

When Windows 8 developer preview and Windows 8 Consumer Preview became available for download, it was apparent that Windows 8 was attempting to improve multi monitor support. There were new features such as having the taskbar show up on all monitors connected to the system and even allowing you to choose what showed up on which task bar.

Although those improvements helped, the metro/ desktop duo left multiple monitor usage feeling awkward. It was difficult to activate Windows 8 corners when that corner lies on the seam between two screens. Also, the new start menu and all metro apps were only available on one of the multiple monitors plugged in. In my case, no matter what I did, metro apps would only open on my left screen leaving my right screen as a normal desktop. The whole situation felt awkward and for me was the biggest downside of Windows 8. I was sure it would be a serious hindrance to corporate adoption of Windows 8.

Apparently I was not the only one who thought so. Turns out the braniacs over at Microsoft spotted this as a problem and a potential crux in Windows 8 user experience. Starting with Windows 8 Release Preview all those frustrations will be cured.

Windows 8 Release Preview will allow you to access any of the ‘hot-corners’ from any monitor. This means if I go to the left bottom corner of any monitor, I will get my start menu, which consequently means I can open my metro start menu on any monitor. If I go to the right corners and move to the center, I will get the Windows 8 charms, regardless of which monitor I am on. This was especially important to me because trying to access the charms on the right side of my left monitor was a difficult task.

These changes alone would have solved the problem, but Microsoft took it one step further. Microsoft included a 6 pixel edge at the top and bottom of seams between monitors. If your cursor is within this 6 pixel threshold, when you try to move from one monitor to the next, it will catch your mouse activating the hot corner on that monitor.

You can check out the changes on a video released by engadget at http://www.viddler.com/v/5ae7f994

On top of those change, Microsoft has now allowed us to grab and drag metro apps from one screen to another, allowing us the freedom to choose how our desktop is displayed.

There have been groups of people that claim that Windows 8 is not as easy to use on a desktop or laptop as Windows 7 and think Windows 8 should only be used on touch screen devices. These changes should help to smooth out keyboard and mouse user experience and make Windows 8 better than Windows 7 with a keyboard and mouse, and even better with a touch screen.