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Monitor settings

You can change how MaxTo internally identifies monitors, and if you want to have separate regions on separate virtual desktops.

Monitor identification

MaxTo has been designed to work as well as possible with multiple monitors. This means that we need to have a unique identifier for each of your monitors.

Note that in this document, we are talking about how monitors are identified in configuration files and internally in MaxTo. This does not affect the user interface, but it affects behavior.

For almost every user we recommend leaving this setting at its default, which is identifying by serial number.

Monitor identification is important because it is how MaxTo links a set of regions to a monitor.

Device names — how Windows identifies monitors

Windows assigns each monitor a device name. This usually takes the form \\.\DISPLAY1, and as you can guess the number increases the more monitors you connect to your machine. The device name is unique on one machine, but they are not tied to a specific monitor.

The device name is actually linked to the output port the monitor is connected to, numbered how your video driver wants it. This means that your device name for a monitor can change if:

  1. You connect another monitor that gets given a lower number.
  2. You swap around which monitor is connected where.
  3. A monitor is disconnected, either because it is turned off or the cable is removed.

Property identification

The next step up from the device name, is trying to identify a monitor uniquely by looking at its properties. The properties MaxTo looks at when trying to identify a monitor are:

  1. The friendly name (human-readable name of the monitor make and model)
  2. Video card port it is connected to
  3. Resolution (inc. DPI)

This is a good first step towards better monitor identification, but it has some pitfalls. If you move the monitor cable to a different port on the video card, MaxTo will not recognize the monitor.

Serial numbers

The best possible way MaxTo could work, would allow you to share your settings across multiple computers, and once you plug in a monitor MaxTo has seen before, no matter at which video card port, MaxTo will load the regions that were last active on that monitor. This is what identifying by the monitor's serial number does.

Not all monitors present their serial number, and some video cards do not provide this information. For monitors where this is the case, MaxTo will fall back to identifying that monitor by its properties.

Virtual desktops

With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a feature known as Virtual Desktops. This feature lets you pretend to have more monitors than you have, by keeping separate windows on each virtual desktop, and letting you quickly switch between them.

MaxTo can set up separate regions on each virtual desktop, or you can keep the same regions on all of them. Using this setting, this becomes easier to control.

Note that virtual desktops are not numbered, even though Windows makes it appear as if they are. This means that if you remove and create a virtual desktop, MaxTo will see the created virtual desktop as a completely new virtual desktop, because of how Windows works internally.