Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sometimes it pays to read the instructions…

First, some background. I got myself a new Dell XPS M1530 laptop for Christmas. One of the accessories I ordered with it was a Kesington sd200v docking station.

The docking station is quite a treat. I've got a D-Link powered 7 port USB hub because I have a *lot* of USB devices (including my X52 Flight Control System and CH Pro Pedals so I can do helicopter flight simulation). So I plug the USB hub into the back of the Kesington docking station. But I'm also able to plug in my second monitor and sound system into the docking station as well. That means the only things I plug directly into the notebook when I'm docked are:

  • Power Supply

  • USB cable to the docking station

  • Headset with mike that I use for VOIP

It saved me from a ton of clutter.

One thing I noticed once I had the Kesington managing the second monitor is that it has options to place the second monitor to the top, bottom or left of the primary monitor. That's great, because my desk is structured so it's easier to put the second monitor above the primary one than to the right. Once I set the second monitor to above the primary monitor, I went into the Advanced Options section of the configuration tool, which took me to the native Display Properties dialog in windows.

Display Properties

That's when I noticed, for the first time, the "Drag the monitor icons to match the physical arrangement of your monitors." instructions on the top of the dialog. Doh! I'd been running my second monitor above the primary one for months, but had it displaying as if it was to the right, because I never realized that Windows had built-in support for anything different.

In any event, in case I'm not the only one out there that's missed this, I thought I'd share it. Sometimes you can teach an old dog a new trick.

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