One monitor for gaming, another for the desktop


Oct 12, 2011
Ok, the title is pretty self-explanatory; I want to set up a two monitor configuration, using one display for gaming and other full-screen applications, and the other one for regular applications, mail, etc. My idea is to be able to check important e-mails, IM messages, etc without alt-tabbing out of the game.

Is this possible?

If so, how??

Thanks for your time.


Dec 8, 2007
Interesting. But is it really impossible? I don't have a dual monitor setup but the only way I can imagine what you're describing actually working is if you open whatever it is you want to check in full screen, like Firefox for example and drag it to the second screen. Then just open the game you want to play and it will play on one screen and possibly you can have the other screen with Mozilla Firefox opened?

I don't have much experience with dual monitor setups so I don't know what happens to the other monitor if you're gaming on one of them.

This article from Microsoft made me think of your idea:

Another thought occurred. I think that for this to possibly work you will need to play the game in windowed mode as I don't think you will be able to transfer the mouse to the other screen if you're playing on Fullscreen mode.

A cool feature that should be implemented in the OS is to have the ability to kind of "switch" to the monitor you wish to use. Like for example in your case, if you want to play a game on one monitor and browse for stuff in the other it would be awesome if you could press a shortcut key like ALT+TAB and the mouse and keyboard input would get transfered to the other monitor then the game on the first monitor will pause and you can do whatever you want on the second one. Then after you want to get back to gaming hit the shortcut key and it will transfer the mouse and keyboard back to the first monitor.

Lol me and my imagination.

*Second Edit*
Check this other article from Microsoft:

Here's the interesting part:
More fun to play

A dual-monitor setup doesn't just make you more productive and efficient at work. It can also help you have more fun. For example, you might keep your music collection open on one monitor, while you surf the web on the other. Or play a game on one monitor, while you check your e‑mail or send instant messages to your friends on the other.

Many games let you take advantage of two or even three monitors. One of the coolest uses for this is in games where you can use your center monitor as the front window of your race car or plane, with monitors on either side acting as your side windows.

Kewl! Post back if you make this work I'm interested in how well you can game with this.


The most annoying thing about this kind of setup (playing in windowed mode) for me, was being in intense combat, moving the mouse too far to the right (onto the secondary screen) and clicking. This then made the secondary screen "active" while the gaming screen went inactive. Usually a bad idea to lose total control of your character in heavy combat. Even for just a second.

-Wolf sends


Jan 4, 2011
Try UltraMon. I spent quite some time trying to find a way to play games full screen on my tv, but keep my taskbar and primary monitor on my computer monitor. UltraMon was my answer. Also if you are looking to automatically open movies fullscreen on your secondary monitor, use media player classic. It will automatically fullscreen on whatever monitor you are choosing. Can also do the same with your audio.
In essence it cannot be done. Only one window can be active at one time so if you want to play games and chat at the same time, then you'll need to Alt-Tab between the two programs.

In most games it is impossible to have two active screens anyway. For example, in 1st perosn shooters the mouse controls the direction you are facing, therefore how would you use the mouse scroll around the 2nd screen? Addtionally, if you are chatting with someone on the 2nd screen and the keyboard strokes are active in both the game and your browser, then as you are responding to someone's comment you could do something in the game that you normally would not do. Like dropping a grenade right where you are standing.


Feb 16, 2012

I have this problem myself, when I play a game on my 42 inch my mouse locks to that screen and the second monitor sits idle. I play my games with an xbox360 controller so I'm not even in the need of the mouse on that screen. So like you said I want to keep my desktop separate, the problem (and I've downloaded UltraMon) is if I click on my second screen my game stops responding to the controller. Have you managed to find a solution to this?

Also, I apologize to everyone. I realize this thread is dead, but no one else has any answers.


Jan 19, 2013

Just a thought, and this only applies if you have two input methods (e.g a joystick/gamepad & a USB Keyboard/Mouse). Have a Virtual machine that owns a usb keyboard/mouse (meaning that you tell it specifically to treat the USB KB/Mouse like it's plugged in to virtual machine, not just passing through the host) running full screen on 1 monitor to use as your IM/Web browsing machine, then on your physical computer connect your joystick/gamepad and run your game.

Just to cover my bases, I have run a similar configuration with a laptop and a USB mouse. I set the virtual machine to own the USB mouse. In this way I was able to move the mouse around the virtual machine with my USB mouse independently of the mouse on the host machine.

(e.g. I was able to open Chrome on the Virtual machine with my usb mouse, while at the same time opening Word on the host machine using my touchpad.)


It should be noted that while this will allow you to run a monitor for the purpose of gaming and the other for miscellaneous tasks, you will not be able to drag a single window between the 2 monitors. You could move the VM window from one monitor to the other, effectively allowing you to change the role of a particular monitor... but you couldn't move a single window from the vm to the other monitor.

Jonathan Cave

Oct 17, 2013
scenario: Playing a game on 1 monitor (non windowed) and have a game guide/youtube via chrome/firefox/ie viewable on another screen.

Is it possible to launch a game non windowed on 1 monitor and have another monitor full screen with google chrome i.e. a game guide? without being able to interact with the screen with chrome on?


Mar 9, 2012
Firstly I am necroing a question and I understand this. I was brought here by Google via their search engine.

Use "How to Enable or Disable Desktop Composition in Windows 7 and Vista" for everything!

Link to steps (with pictures!)

1. Type adjust the appearance and performance of windows into the windows search bar
2. Uncheck enable desktop composition
3. Profit!


Aug 24, 2014
You can do this for example if you have a Monitor with a HDMI connection, or a TV with it, because so do I. Just connect your PC with the TV with HDMI cable you can get for at about 10$ and happyly do that C:



Jun 1, 2015
I know this is old thread, but I downloaded and installed the software called "Actual Multiple Monitors" and it works great. I can game on one monitor and play a game on another. And each monitor works actual separate monitors. This rocks, especially like this evening. I am on call for work. I can play an RTS while I am simply waiting and switch to work if a call comes in.


Sep 21, 2012

Yeah, it was what I was looking for in my case as well, good stuff.