June 24, 2003

Two screens are better than one

One of the first things that won me over about Windows 98 was the multiple monitor feature. I loved it immediately as soon as I got Win98 five years ago. The ability to extend your desktop, set up two monitors, and actually drag windows back and forth between the two was one of the most innovative advances from Win95. It was a little fussy to set up; some video cards wouldn’t work, and others would only work in certain combinations. But a bit of futzing around and a pile of sundry video cards always hit on the right combo. And once I got it working, I’ve never looked back. I still have multiple monitors at work and at home, and I couldn’t get any work done without them. It’s just ingrained into the way I use the computer.

So imagine my shock when I started playing with Windows XP earlier this year and found that my multiple monitor setup, so nice under 98, just would not work. At. All. I looked in device manager, and the second video card said, “Code 10”. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but a little scouring online confirmed it. Windows XP actually took a step backwards in multiple monitor support. There is a list of about ten video cards that it will support. Everything else, all the other ones 98 supported, are dead. They spit out nothing but Code 10.

Much panicked searing followed. Eventually I found some obscure posts somewhere that suggested a SiS 6326 video card (which I just happened to have half a dozen of) would work, but only if you use the Windows 2000 drivers. And, sure enough, the SiS 6326 is now serving as the second video card both at work and here at home. Why did XP do this? Why does it need the Win2000 driver? Who is ever supposed to find this out on their own? Microsoft baffles again.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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