Windows 8 is introducing a lot of new features. We’ve already seen how printer drivers are getting a needed refresh, touch hardware is coming for desktops, and the Windows App Store could be a win or a headache. Today, we’re reviewing a post that the Building Windows 8 blog made on how using multiple monitors in Windows 8 is going to get a lot better. With any luck, some of these updates might also be rolled out to Windows 7 with a Service Pack (no new on that, just wishful thinking).
The full blog article details the updates and the design process. Just like the Windows 8 printer drivers blog post, the multimonitor article does a good job of showing the facts behind the decision since each person is going to have their own opinion on what the right design should allow and what the default should be. Some stats stated in the blog post shows that a very high majority of users are likely to stick with the defaults. Only 6% of users ungroup taskbar buttons – I’m part of that minority and couldn’t stand it any other way.
According to their numbers through the Windows Feedback Program, 13.48% of Desktop PCs have two monitors. It seems likely that that number will rise as flat panels become cheaper, come with next upgrades, and the productivity benefits continue.
With the Windows 8 update, the Windows User Team set for four goals:
- Make the desktop a more personal experience
- Improve efficiency of accessing apps across monitors
- Improve efficiency of accessing system UI
- Allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps
The improvements are finally doing what a number of free and paid apps have done for years. They allow a different desktop background on each monitor, a multi-monitor slide show, and desktop backgrounds may span across all monitors.
The big addition, as you can see in the image above, is the taskbar on each monitor. The question of adding the taskbar to both monitors came down to configuring how the app buttons behave. There are three different options, buttons only on the “primary monitor”, buttons on the respective monitor where the app resides, or buttons on both. I prefer the buttons on the respective monitor of where the app is launched, fortunately any of these can be chosen from the Taskbar Properties.
In addition to the Taskbar, similar to concerns of Windows 8 and Server 2012 in virtual environments, the multimonitor improvements had to tackle Windows 8 specific hot corner issues and allowing metro style and desktop apps to operate side-by-side.
You can read the full blog post from the Building Windows 8 MSDN blog.