Virtual Display Manager can be launched manually or started from the startup folder. Since any user specific settings are stored within the user’s profile, no user specific configuration files are required.
Once installation is complete, a VDM Configuration Screen is loaded. This is where Virtual Displays can be defined and enabled. Unless VDM is configured, there is no change to monitor partitioning into Virtual Displays. Only window scaling related to the changes with the desktop size is activated.
For quick access to VDM configuration features there is a System Tray icon that is loaded with VDM. A right-click on the icon provides access to VDM features, while a double-click loads the VDM Navigation applet that can simplify movement of selected windows to and from desired Virtual Displays at a click of a button. Otherwise windows can be moved and maximized to desired Virtual Displays manually as if they are controlled by geometry of a physical monitor.
Once VDM configuration screen is loaded, current user Desktop is displayed.
Fig.6. VDM Configuration Screen
Depending on the number of physical monitors, Virtual Display Manager will display a scaled down overview of physical monitor configurations at the top of the window. The relative physical monitor position, size, on/off states, as well as color depth and refresh frequency are not controlled from within VDM and can be accomplished via a standard Windows applet for monitor configuration (usually available for local environments only).
Note that the physical monitor numbering is also controlled by Windows and does not necessarily start with “1” and is not necessarily continuous. “Identify Monitors” button produces familiar Windows numeric identifiers centered at individual monitor.
Desired configuration can be preserved or exported by clicking the “Save” or “Save As” buttons. The “Save” button will save the current configuration and make it default. “Save As” button provides an option to save the configuration under desired name and opens a possibility for multiple configurations that will be available to the user “with a click of a button” from the VDM icon in the System Tray.
Unless this VDM installation has configurations to import, “Add Configuration” button will be the one to press on, thus loading “Add Configuration” screen:
Fig.7. Add Configuration Screen. A few template manipulation steps are outlined.
To simplify VDM configuration, prebuilt templates with are made available. Each template can be applied to selected physical monitor with a real-time preview of the future configuration. Once a desired template is found, it can be adjusted via Flip/Rotate transformations with further size tuning via “Customize” button.
In cases when monitors are not split by VDM, make sure to assign blank configuration to physical monitor, otherwise none of the maximized windows can go to unconfigured monitor.
Virtual Displays that are controlled by VDM can be easily enabled by selecting any of the provided templates within the basic screen. Each physical monitor can be independently configured via a template or custom configuration. The range of possibilities is greatly increased with ability to Flip or Rotate individual monitor configuration. If necessary, horizontal Taskbar can be shrunk to fit virtual display. This option is disabled with Windows 8. In case custom sizing for Virtual Displays is required, “Customize” button opens additional configuration options:
Fig.8. Custom Template Screen
As an example, here is a three monitor configuration that was split into 6 virtual displays. In this particular instance, standard templates were used. While configuration naming convention can follow user preferences, for example “My dual monitor split”, more complex configurations might require different approach. Configuration name “4/5:1/2|3:6” can be used as a guideline for consistent labeling of complex configuration. Here “/” character is used to separate monitors that are above each other, while pipe character “|” can be used to separate monitor IDs that are next to each other horizontally. Here physical monitor separation is depicted with “:” character, as an example.
Once configuration is set, it can be immediately applied via “Apply Changes”. It is also advisable to set “Default” checkbox to make sure that desired default configuration is always loaded with VDM start:
Fig.9. Example of VDM configuration – default and active states are set
Fig.10. Configuration Options Tab.
Here you can control:
- VDM load on startup
- Manage wallpaper configuration to match virtual displays
- Show (default) VDM icon in System Tray or not
- Show (default) Logon Tab option in VDM configuration screen
Virtual Display Manager comes with Navigation Tool that simplifies repositioning of maximized windows to desired virtual display.
There is an option to use an override key that when pressed while maximizing a window will disable VDM window positioning. While override keys are configurable, [Alt] key is the default.
There is also an option to set desired language as well as visual stile used with VDM configuration.
Finally, there is a possibility to exclude applications from VDM management. Application exclusions are done by executable name. The name can either by entered manually of detected via built-in finder tool allowing EXE detection for selected window.
The Advanced Configuration Screen consists of two additional areas that are added to the Basic Configuration Screen: “Virtual Displays” section and “Customize Individual Virtual Displays” section.
Configuration of Logon Screen
VDM can address situations when user desktop is locked and only logon screen is visible by providing an option to shrink login screen into allinment with desired area. This confituration is most usefull when remote sessions are used and it is important to align remote session login screen with local physical monitor.
Fig. 11. VDM with no changes to logon screen. While desktop spans two monitors, logon screen is split between to physical screens and is hard to use.
Fig. 12. VDM Configuration logon option.
Fig. 13. VDM logon option is applied. Now logon is properly centered on one of the monitors.
Current VDM implementation supports saving multiple configurations within User profile. One of the saved configurations can be set as default to be loaded on the next VDM launch.
Importing and Exporting VDM Configurations
Single or multiple configurations can be exported to allow import by another user. VDM import files are in *.VDC format.
Fig. 14. “Save current configuration” dialog