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The Thinkening Blog

Google Desktop Dual Monitor Issue Solved!

Posted on November 26, 2009 at 12:33 AM

One of the great upgrades you can make to your computer system is adding a second monitor.

Having two monitors allows for increased visibility of content and makes using multiple programs

simultaneously a breeze.

I have been using two different monitors for about a year now, and although they are different sizes and use different resolutions, I would never purposely choose to go back to using a single screen. My main monitor is an Acer AL2216W 22” wide-screen, and the secondary one is an HP vs17e 17” full-screen.

This setup is great and has worked well the whole time I've had the second monitor. The only real

issue I've ever encountered involves Google Desktop.

Now, I really like using a sidebar with gadgets, but the built-in Vista sidebar just didn't offer the functionality I was looking for. With Windows 7, the new free-floating gadgets seems to me to be a step backward. They were constantly either hidden behind whatever windows were showing on the secondary screen or blocking content on those same windows whenever I made those gadgets stay on top. Very annoying!

With all my screen real estate, I am happy to dedicate a few inches on the right side of the secondary monitor to display the time, calendar, weather, Gmail inbox and some other instant messenger-related gadgets. The problem I ran into, however, is that the Google Desktop sidebar would disappear whenever I maximized any window on the primary monitor and put the focus on that window. Strangely though, I could restore the window down and resize it a bit, and the Google sidebar would reappear.

I tried searching online for anything to fix this problem, and no one else seemed to have a solution.

There were a few articles about this issue that offered solutions like uninstalling and switching primary monitors, but none of these fixed the problem I was suffering with.

Because of this problem, I had to quit using Google Desktop and use the less-well-endowed Vista

sidebar and then the even-more-less-useful Windows 7 gadgets.

At some point, I realized that whenever I resized the offending window so that it was shorter than the sidebar, the sidebar would reappear. That got me thinking: what if I change the resolution on the primary monitor so that it's shorter than that of the secondary? Even though it's a larger monitor, I would benefit by having everything onscreen enlarged and possibly fix the issue with the Google Desktop sidebar.

I was determined to find out.

Here is what the primary and secondary monitor settings were originally:

Here is what I adjusted the primary monitor to:

After doing this adjustment, I turned off the Windows 7 gadgets and installed Google Desktop. I

pushed it over to the second monitor, maximized my Firefox, and lo and behold! It worked! Now I

could use my preferred sidebar manager and see it at all times, whether I had screens maximized or full-screen videos playing or whatever.

So, if you are experiencing this same issue, try changing your primary monitor so it's shorter than the secondary and see if it fixes the error. You may not be able to see as much on the primary, but being able to use your sidebar program of choice may well be worth it.

Categories: Software, Computers, Miscellaneous