SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft plans to improve multiple monitor support in its upcoming Windows 8 operating system (OS).
Windows 8 will include more customisable desktop backgrounds, improved taskbar efficiency, the launch of Metro style apps to any monitor side-by-side with desktop apps on another screen, and improved user interface (UI) controls.
The update comes as multiple monitor set-up is now more commonplace in businesses and homes, according to Mark Yalovsky, a programme manager at Microsoft's user experience (UX) team writing on the Microsoft Developer Network blog.
"We continue to see increased adoption of multi-monitor configurations, both by enthusiasts and technical professionals," Yalovsky said. "A multiple monitor setup is certainly more common today than they used to be, and many technical professionals (developers, graphics professionals, architects, etc) have started using it."
He explained that this is due to all-time low monitor prices, increased support for the feature across virtually all PC hardware but more importantly, "[customers'] desire to increase multitasking".
The blog post highlighted that one major update in multiple monitor support coming to Microsoft's anticipated OS is that the corner and edge controls, such as Start, the charms bar with icons for search and settings, and app switching, will be "alive" on all monitors.
Yalovsky explained that Microsoft has come up with a six-pixel "target" to combat any problematic edge and corner controls, where "overshooting the mouse" can make users accidentally end up on a different monitor.
"We've designed the corners to provide help when you need it and to get out of the way when you don't. The protruding corner target is six pixels in height, which means that it is only noticeable when you're trying to target the corner of the screen," he said.
"Also, we've designed the corner to only work for the monitor your cursor is on, so a user moving from one screen to another won't accidentally trigger a corner control."
Yalovsky said that 14 per cent of desktop PCs, and approximately five per cent of laptops, currently run with multiple monitors, which Microsoft expects will grow.
The new multiple monitor support features will be available for a test run in Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Preview. Announced by Microsoft president Steven Sinofsky during a Windows 8 Developer Days conference in Japan, the preview is planned for release in the first week of June. µ
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