Windows 8: Latest leak hints at improved multi-monitor support

By Tom Warren, on 9th Jun 11 4:33 pm with 30 Comments

Windows 8 multi-monitor concept

Microsoft may be building in better multi-monitor support for Windows 8, according to reports.

Group policy objects discovered in the latest leak of Windows 8 hint at the ability for Windows 8 users to display their taskbar across more than one display. ITWorld discovered the feature alongside what appears to be a 3G/4G cost limiter feature and improved crash detection. The setting refers to a new “Multiple Display” section in the taskbar properties dialog. The feature is currently missing in leaked builds but references in the group policy appear to confirm Microsoft is working on improved multi-monitor support.

ITWorld also discovered a 3G/4G cost limiter, designed to limit data costs for mobile connections. Admins can choose between restricted modes to cap the amount of data that devices use. Roaming connections can also be disabled. The final discovery is related to crash detection. Microsoft appears to be tweaking its PCA (Program Compatibility Assistant) to increase the stability of Windows 8. ITWorld discovered settings related to advanced application crash monitoring, capable of detecting more software compatibility issues.

Microsoft has previously promised a “proper implementation” of the multi-monitor taskbar as far back as the 2008 PDC. Windows 7 users have to currently use third-party solutions to enable multi-monitor taskbar support at present.

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  • Anonymous

    There are definitely some interesting improvements coming along with Windows 8. This is great stuff.

  • Ian Mitchell

    Any chance of a bigger picture?

    • Tom

      Read the article.  That’s not a real screenshot.  That’s either a Photoshop composition or one of the third-party multimon taskbars that’s been filling the gap (DisplayFusion, Actual, Ultramon).

  • scvdance

    This is what I have been waiting for!!!!!

    • Justfortherecord

      Me too!

    • Tom

      2008 PDC?

      Actually, the multimon taskbar first made its appearance in Longhorn build 4074 back in 2004:

      This is just a GP setting.  The 2004 multimon taskbar was actual live code that worked.  Got killed in the Longhorn reset, and then crowded out by the new taskbar for Windows 7.

      Eight years later, it might finally make its way into a Windows release.  This feature could actually serve to symbolize all the promise that Microsoft displayed back in 2004 that ended up being wasted — and perhaps also Microsoft’s comeback in 2012.

  • GP007

    OMG, They’ve finally extended the damn taskbar to the 2nd screen.   People have been crying for that forever.  They should’ve done that with Win7 tbh, but hey, better late then never.

  • phil jay

    how about.. metro for taskbar? xD

  • Albatronas

    This is very nice!!!

  • ss

    Still hoping the “Metro”-ize the gui. Get rid of the thick rounded window padding. Use Metro icons for min/restore/close, etc.

    • Anonymous

      Haven’t you seen the Aero Lite theme? There’s even a few shots of the new Aero theme (with glass) floating around the web if you look hard enough. Mainly on the mydigitallife forums.

  • Matthew Weihl

    I’ve known this for awhile. I remember when a Microsoft developer was answering questions on Reddit and said that Multimon like functionality would be coming in the next Windows version.

  • Anonymous

    About frickin time. I was shocked they didn’t include it in 7 but DisplayFusion has done quite well.

    I hope they also give multiple background support, monitor alignment, etc as well as the multi-taskbar. I also hope they give more options for multi-taskbars (being able to move the clock/sys tray for instance)

    • Tom

      I was shocked that the feature didn’t make it into Vista.  Especially since they’d already written the code and gotten it working.

      Considering all the idiotic things that ended up making it into Vista, this had to be the feature that got killed by the Longhorn code reset?

  • TryllZ

    Although M$ really pulled off this one, but I still see Windows 7 OS UI, I dont know why…I hope what I have seens is not what M$ ends up with…

    • Anonymous

      you must not be too familiar with the Windows dev process. They typically work on the guts and new features first.  The major UI changes aren’t unveiled until late in the process — maybe not until beta 2.  Keep in mind, Win 8 is not even to alpha yet!

    • Tom

      Do you really expect that kind of domain knowledge from someone who types “M$” like it’s still 1999?

    • Steve


    • Tom

      Do you really expect that kind of domain knowledge from someone who types “M$” like it’s still 1999?

  • Keno Butler

    well u can use ultramon in the mean time… but nice to see them doing thses lil stuff…

  • Anonymous

    Will it save settings when I undock? For example, when I undock all the elements collapse to muy mobile screen. When I redock, all the icons and gadgets should go back to the pre-undock state.

    • Thom McKiernan

      That’s a good point. If it’s anything like Windows 7 these things seem to get forgotten after you undock, especially when you undock then shut down.

  • Renzo

    Here’s the dream: One small monitor or tablet with the Metro UI, and on the other monitor my beloved Windows desktop.

    Get to it Microsoft.

  • Test1ngi23

    I really hope they go through with this! It’s about f*cking time they make the taskbar stretch across both monitors! Such a simple improvement, have no idea why it took them until 2011 to think about this!

  • Ninjamonk

    now that is want i am talking about! AT LAST!!!!

  • Thom McKiernan

    Hopefully this means they will also allow better wallpaper management for multiple screens.

    After using a dual monitor setup for about 6 months I don’t really feel the need for this. I also wonder how customizable it will be, e.g. can I have a vertical taskbar on one screen and horizontal on the other? Can I choose which one has the notification/clock area on?

  • Jimmy Fallon

    There are actually a lot of us that have many many screens, this would be great!

  • Jimmy Fallon

    There are actually a lot of us that have many many screens, this would be great!

  • Kevin Menzel

    I hope you can turn this off, it’s great for many users, but borks my workflow.

  • Kevin Menzel

    I hope you can turn this off, it’s great for many users, but borks my workflow.