March 4, 2010

nVidia not recognizing second monitor

So I woke up today to find that my computer system was not recognizing my second monitor. A little testing revealed that the nVidia control panel (for my graphics card) would not start up; in fact, it was missing from the Windows (XP) system tray, and would not start from the Windows control panel. And, in fact, the Windows control panel display panel was not displaying the second monitor either.

Not only that, but when I attempted to drag programs windows around the main monitor, they’d lag, then do a very strange visual "wave" — that couldn’t be good. I wasn’t sure what was happening, or whether my video card was going out.

A quick search at Google for Nvidia does not recognize second monitor led me to the Tech Support Guy forums where, almost three years ago, a poster said in [solved]Dual monitor problem (NVIDIA):

I am running… more likely… I was running a dual monitor setup with my nvidia 7800GT video card for about one week. Earlier today, the computer restarted by itself (windows BSOD I presume), and since then, I havn’t been able to detect my secondary monitor again.

That was precisely my problem. While he got some advice, he solved the problem by downloading and installing new nVidia drivers. Luckily, nVidia has a nice graphics driver download page — and, if you don’t use ::cough:: Opera, a detection scan feature.

I finally had to use IE to access it, but the scan/driver download/installation went smoothly, and all is well.

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