Using Dual LCD Monitors – up to 4 LCD monitors!

April 13, 2008 | 2 Comments

Recent reports have showed that the more screen space you have available, the more productive you can become. One way to get more screen space is to add more monitors. Beginning in 2005, I started using four monitors connected to my laptop, and I believe it has truly increased my productivity.

For as long as I’ve owned laptops, I’ve always been connecting external monitors to them. Plugging an external monitor into the back of your laptop is simple, and connecting four monitors to your laptop is easier than you think if you have a second nearby computer, a network, and a neat, inexpensive program called MaxiVista.

Using Dual LCD Monitors - up to 4 lcd monitors!

MaxiVista provides two specific functions:

1) MaxiVista uses your computer network to allow one to three monitors on a remote computer to act as a remote desktop extension for your main computer. This is how I use MaxiVista most of the time, to extend my laptop to four screens.

2) MaxiVista allows you to use the single keyboard and mouse on your main computer to control both your main computer and a remote computer on your network. I do this sometimes to start downloads on a remote computer without slowing down my main computer (my laptop).

Essentially, here’s how it works: I run a copy of the MaxiVista Server program on my main computer, which is a laptop. At the same time, I run two copies of the MaxiVista Viewer programs on my nearby desktop computer. The MaxiVista server program on my laptop talks with the viewer programs through my computer network, and allows me to use the two monitors connected to my desktop computer as third and fourth monitors for my laptop.

MaxiVista works best when the computers are connected by a wired network, but, I’ve also seen MaxiVista perform well controlling the third and fourth monitors when my laptop was connected via WiFi and not a wired connection.

MaxiVista’s installation instructions may sound daunting, but they’re really not. I’ll give you a simplified overview.

But MaxiVista in my experience works first time, every time. In my case, it had to get through my two software firewalls, my hardware firewall, and then find the laptop on the WiFi network. It did it in a heartbeat.

It’s likely that the producers made the instructions this complicated because they want to cover all the nuances of installation. In my case, the installation steps were this simple:

1) Download and execute the MaxiVista setup program from the MaxiVista website.

2) Start the MaxiVista Server program your main computer. In my case, my main computer is my laptop. Once the MaxiVista server is running, one monitor icon for each remote screen will appear in the task tray.

3) After you have the server portion installed on your main computer, MaxiVista will create one or two viewer programs and place them on your main computer’s desktop. You’ll need to move those MaxiVista viewer programs to the remote computer you want to use it as a virtual monitor. When I installed my recent MaxiVista upgrade, the icons didn’t appear on my desktop, so I had to find the viewer programs on my hard drive. If you can’t find the viewer programs, you can have MaxiVista create new ones. While MaxiVista Server is running, right-click on the MaxiVista server icon in your task tray and select “create MaxiVista viewer.” Repeat this if you have a second MaxiVista server icon in your task tray. Click “Start > My Computer” then navigate to the Windows folder containing your installed version of MaxiVista. By default, the MaxiVista folder is “C:\Program Files\MaxiVista Pro Server”

4) Click the MaxiVista viewer icons on your remote computer to activate the additional “virtual” screens.

5) From the desktop on your main computer, right-click any blank area of the desktop, click “Properties,” then click the “Settings” tab. When your monitor configuration is displayed, just drag them around until they are in the proper order related to each other and you are done.

6) Right-click the MaxiVista tray icons on the primary computer to toggle between using the remote computer’s screens as an extension of your desktop and allowing you to use the primary computer’s keyboard to remote control the remote computer.

Installation of the demo

Installation of the full version I use:

Remember that you must have a network and a second computer to use MaxiVista. I consider MaxiVista one of the most productive software values I’ve ever purchased at only $30.

-Edited by DME

2 people are talking about “Using Dual LCD Monitors – up to 4 LCD monitors!

  1. Very cool Chuck but why wouldn’t you just run four monitors on your desk top and sinc the laptop with the desktop for necessary files? I run four 20″ monitors on my home and office desktops and use the lap top when I travel.

    I guess if you use the laptop as your main PC it makes more sense.

  2. Hi Steve,

    You are correct that I use my laptop as my main computer. I travel often enough that it’s just simply more convenient to have everything on my laptop computer so that I can just grab it and go.

    I didn’t want to maintain two sets of files on both the desktop and a laptop computer, and I didn’t want to have to deal with connecting remotely to capture files that may have forgotten when I travel. I’m sure you know that laptop computers have certainly become powerful enough to easily replace desktop computers.

    The desktop computer you see strapped to my desk in the picture is my secondary computer. Sometimes I use it as both the second and third monitors for my laptop. Sometimes I use it for simple Internet browsing. Sometimes I use it to stream music or watch television on work.

    Each evening when my laptop is connected to my home network, a batch program writes secure backups of my laptop files to a shared network drive.

    Thanks for writing.

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