I have a six year old Compaq laptop with problems of the the screen blacking out when it is moved . . . so I just bought an Acer V173 Monitor and attached it via VGA sockets. Whilst the Windows XP background screen comes up, no icons appear or access to Windows or programs is available on the screen while everything is fine on the laptop monitor. What is going on?

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Sounds like it's multi-monitoring. Open something and see if you can drag that window off to the right or left of the screen.

Not sure what you mean. On the new monitor there is nothing but the Windows screen, nothing to open or drag. No browser open when I'm typing this . . . just the blank green XP screen.

When you say the blank green XP screen, do you mean it's green just like your desktop is, or just green?

What I meant by multi-monitoring is that if you open something in a window (so that you can drag it around), can you drag it off the left or right side of the laptop screen and have it show up on the external monitor?

Thanks for your help. The background colours are the same; at the moment I have the green Windows XP background on both screens. But ... I noticed that the mouse only appears on one screen at a time and if I drag an icon off the right hand side of the laptop screen it appears on the left hand side of the external monitor. Also that if I move the mouse to the bottom right hand corner of the laptop screen it appears a third of the way up the left hand side of the external monitor, so the bottom status bar won't be able to show up anyway. So ... how do I go about fixing this problem. Any more help you can give would be much appreciated.

Ok, so it is giving you a second monitor to work with. There may be a few things you can do depending on your pc layout.

On my old DELL laptop, I have a blue text above several keys. There is a BLUE FUNCTION key that if I hold that down and press one of those other keys with the blue text above it, will let me use them. There is one that says LCD/CRT. This is how my laptop toggles between using LCD only, CRT only or BOTH. Yours may give you something similar.

If you cannot find that, or do not have that option:

Go into your control panel, and open the Display icon.
In here go to the Settings tab and click Advanced.
One of these tabs should show you both monitors.
You should then be able to independently control each screen (size, position, etc)

Granted older equipment is sometimes missing these options, or they are in a different spot. Some older machines rely completely on video driver utilities - which you can generally find in your START MENU.

It's hard to give you exacts never having seen your laptop, but hopefully this gives you a few places to look.

Thanks for your help but only a short while ago I stumbled on the solution by switching on the monitor BEFORE the computer and that brought up the proper screen as it should be. The only other problem I have is that I would like to set the max resolution of the monitor (a 17") 1280 x 1024, but switching up to that, far from reducing the size of screen icons, it enlarges the screen outside of the boundaries of the monitor so that scrolling is necessary. This shouldn't happen should it? It didn't on my laptop screen. Do you know how I can fix it ... otherwise I'm stuck with 1024 x 768?

Cool, glad to hear you got it working. The resolution problem is one I have never seen before actually. I'm not sure where to have you check. Update video card drivers perhaps?

I would expect the monitor to automatically adapt to resolutions in it's range.
Have you tried reducing the resolution to 800 X 600 just to test if the monitor resizes the screen to fit?

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