Windows 7 doesn’t offer very good multiple monitor wallpaper support. Any solution you look for pretty much tells you the same thing: you’ll have to come up with a painful workaround to use different images as your background.
Macs offer this natively and it does seem like a pretty standard use case for people with multiple monitors. I was surprised to see that this simply wasn’t possible in Windows 7.
I’m not a big fan of using third party software for operating system type work. I’d rather use Windows Security Essentials for malware protection than AVG or Norton. I prefer using Windows resolution management to the the third party software provided by my video-card manufacturer. Maybe this is a holdover from my early days of playing with computers back when we had 640Kb of memory to play with and keeping background applications to an absolute minimum. Maybe it’s just because I don’t want a bunch of software loading and running. Maybe it’s because you never know when the companies that build the software will go out of business or stop supporting the software. Whatever the reason, suffice it to say, I rarely use these types of programs and even more rarely do I pay for them.
DisplayFusion is a welcome exception. Within minutes of installing it on my Windows 7 machine, I could tell that it was going to be a keeper. The functionality it delivers adds so much, so quickly, so elegantly to the multi-monitor on Windows 7 that by the end of the of the day I couldn’t imagine going back. It also highlights how much the folks at Microsoft short-shrifted us on the multi-monitor support front.
It immediately and intuitively does what it says on the tin: allows you to put different backgrounds on your monitors. Users can also choose to have a panorama image that spans both monitors. And then I realized that there was a lot more it could do.
The software gives you full and total control of the settings, including which monitor is on the left, and which is on the right, the ‘clipping’ of the image, where your taskbar appears, what your windows login and logout screen display, the source of the desktops, multi-monitor screen savers, and a ton more. Rather than enumerate them all here, I’ll just point to their site. Suffice it to say I was immediately thinking about paying for the full license.
Speaking of payment, one very cool option for payment is the Steam payment. For $25 you get one license for a machine. However, if you use the gaming platform/community/store Steam, you can pay $29 and use DisplayFusion on any machine you’re running Steam on. Since I use a lot of different computers and can easily install Steam on each of those, this was the choice I will go for (I’m still running down my Free Trial).
If you’re looking for a way to tweak and enhance your multi-monitor experience, I highly recommend this piece of software. I love the granular level of control it gives me and how much more elegant it makes the experience. Having the customized windows login screen is totally unnecessary but it’s also very cool. Just a wonderful piece of eye-candy.