Monitor switching PC laptops

After using a Mac laptop for so long as my primary laptop, I have to complain about how my new PC laptop does monitor switching.

On a Mac laptop, monitor switching is extremely simple. You just plug in the new monitor, the Mac detects it automatically and does the right thing. If it’s a VGA or DVI monitor it automatically extends your desktop to the new monitor. If it’s a TV it automatically does video mirroring. If you don’t like the defaults, you can easily change them using the monitor drop down in the menu bar.

What the Mac does even better here is it *remembers* your desktop configuration the next time you plug in the same monitor. If you plug in an HP LCD for example and set up video mirroring, it does video mirroring whenever you plug in that LCD. If you plug in a Sony CRT and set up an extended desktop, it rememebers that and goes back to that configuration whenever you plug in that monitor.

My PC laptop is completely braindead in this department. I’ve got two different environments I my PC laptop in: standalone, and docked to an LCD. Standalone I obviously want the built-in display to be the default and the external display disabled. Docked however I want the internal display turned off and the LCD to be the primary, and I want the resolution to change to match the LCD.

My Mac does this fine, but on the PC I have to go into the “Display -> Advanced” everytime I dock the thing. I finally figured out that the ATI driver allows you to set hotkeys to switch between monitor configurations, but I’ve found it doesn’t always work. Some times it will switch the desktop configuration correctly, but then we I bounce into 3D mode the 3D graphics appear on the old monitor. Ooops. Plus, I shouldn’t have to do the hotkeys. The PC knows when it gets docked, so why can’t it do it for me.. like a Mac? 🙂

Answer: It’s not a Mac. 🙂 Sigh.

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