Gaming on primary monitor (full screen), browsing on secondary, no minimizing?

Okay, so I've been looking into this for about two hours and can't seem to find anything that will work.

Basically, I want to game on one monitor in full screen mode and be able to browse on the other monitor without minimizing my full screen application.

I've read suggestions that said to run games in windowed mode at my native resolution. This is not an option. It is too messy and a lot of my games won't support removing of borders. Please do not suggest this.

I've also tried using a program called Actual Multiple Monitors, which has a feature that apparently allows you to disable deactivation of a window, as seen here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hqqZlAlM0AI
This does not work for me either. It just minimizes everything either way.

I already know of programs to use to allow mouse scrolling out of full screen applications. This is not the issue. The issue is what happens when I try to interact with anything outside of said application.

I am using Windows 8 with two monitors. Any help is appreciated.

It baffles me that this is not a standard feature in Windows, despite multiple monitor setups being a thing. There is absolutely no reason this should not exist.
23 answers Last reply
More about gaming primary monitor full screen browsing secondary minimizing
  1. Someone else will probably suggest something more elegant, but if you game in a virtual machine (say over VMWare Workstation) you can simply swap your mouse and keyboard back over to the host machine by pressing alt+ctrl. You just click back in the virtual machine to grab control back.

    Only issue is that you're essentially running two machines on one set of hardware, so this might be an issue if you don't have a bunch of leg room.
  2. fgervais said:
    Someone else will probably suggest something more elegant, but if you game in a virtual machine (say over VMWare Workstation) you can simply swap your mouse and keyboard back over to the host machine by pressing alt+ctrl. You just click back in the virtual machine to grab control back.

    Only issue is that you're essentially running two machines on one set of hardware, so this might be an issue if you don't have a bunch of leg room.

    Perhaps I will look more into this tomorrow. I appreciate the suggestion. At this point, I'll try anything. I've searched countless forums and tried various programs and fixes with no luck. I even got a few funny looks from family for yelling something along the lines of, "WHY ISN'T THIS AN OPTION? THIS SHOULD EXIST, IT'S 2013 FOR ***** SAKE!"


    EDIT: Contacted Microsoft support to figure out if there was a way of addressing this issue in Windows and to see if they are even aware of the problem. This is the tail end of what happened.

    http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh139/ugotpwnzored/mssupport_zpsb8d258dd.png

    I think this is just a bunch of hogwash, so I will be contacting AMD support with this and seeing what they have to say. If they say what I think they will (that it is an issue with Windows), then I will form an angry mob with pitchforks an-... well, I will do something.
  3. Well what you are wanting to do is not going to happen period. And trying to run any demanding game in a VM is not going to give you any kind of performance that would be playable at all.

    The main problem is that if the game is designed to lock the mouse to it's full screen window(and most are) the only way to use the mouse in a different app is to minimize the full screen game. That is the way the game's are meant to work. The only way you are going to make it work with two monitors is to run the game in a window period that is it.
  4. bryonhowley said:
    Well what you are wanting to do is not going to happen period. And trying to run any demanding game in a VM is not going to give you any kind of performance that would be playable at all.

    The main problem is that if the game is designed to lock the mouse to it's full screen window(and most are) the only way to use the mouse in a different app is to minimize the full screen game. That is the way the game's are meant to work. The only way you are going to make it work with two monitors is to run the game in a window period that is it.

    Except there is already a way to move the mouse out of the application and onto the secondary display. Would anyone here happen to know for sure if this minimizing is a function of the game / application itself or if it is built into Windows?

    And people have reported that the program in the video of the first post DOES sometimes work, or at least used to.
  5. bryonhowley said:
    Well what you are wanting to do is not going to happen period. And trying to run any demanding game in a VM is not going to give you any kind of performance that would be playable at all.

    The main problem is that if the game is designed to lock the mouse to it's full screen window(and most are) the only way to use the mouse in a different app is to minimize the full screen game. That is the way the game's are meant to work. The only way you are going to make it work with two monitors is to run the game in a window period that is it.


    I have to disagree with you on your first point; I run a bunch of stuff at rather high performance settings in a VM. Worst still the VM usually is set to cover 3 screens. As I said you have to take into account the extra strain of running the extra system but with a couple of hours of tweaking a pair of barebones Windows systems it's really not that bad.

    Where it will become an issue is if you try to do super intensive stuff on both systems like game while watching a HD movie, but still.

    As for locking in the mouse, I agree that it would be terribly annoying to have it escape on a side. That's why I proposed the VM solution in the first place. Again, this might be specific to VMWare Workstation, but my mouse is locked in the VM unless I hit left ctrl+left alt to release the mouse and let me interact with the host's other monitors.

    Been there, done that, it works. Well.
  6. I think this is just a bunch of hogwash, so I will be contacting AMD support with this and seeing what they have to say. If they say what I think they will (that it is an issue with Windows), then I will form an angry mob with pitchforks an-... well, I will do something.


    Hey I've been looking around for the exact same thing for a while now. I too have tried some of the things you have such as Actual Multiple Monitors and nothing works so far. There are some people on twitch.tv that do this and I know there are streaming software that let you do this but its not always the case. I'd like to see a solution to this also cos ALT+TAB with dual monitors just isn't doing it.
  7. Just change the game to Windowed / unbordered mode, then it wont do that.
  8. I got an answer to your question i think, Alot of streamers for example League of Legends are using a program called "shift window" Although I don't think that it'll work unless you are running your games in your native resolution. So what you do is that you put your games in windowed mode and trigger them in "shift window" that will remove the borders for you so you will basically have the game in full screen but you can still interact with programs on the other screen.

    But if you don't run your games at your native resolution I don't have an answer (I'm googling that issue right now :P)

    Hope that helps you
  9. I actually had no problems getting Actual Multiple Monitors to work. It was just a matter of poking around in settings a bit.

    For those that are interested in making this work, get Actual Multiple Monitors, then go into Settings -> Hotkeys -> Window, and the first item on the list should be "Ignore Deactivation". Set a hotkey for that, and you should be stylin'. It works in an on/off kind of way, so when you hit the hotkey, you can move the mouse out of a fullscreen application, and when you hit it again, then it will re-lock the mouse to that window.

    I've had success using it with Diablo 3 running in full screen on one monitor, and chrome on the other, and not having to Alt+Tab, or minimize the game.

    Cheers.
  10. Orin Myth said:
    I actually had no problems getting Actual Multiple Monitors to work. It was just a matter of poking around in settings a bit.

    For those that are interested in making this work, get Actual Multiple Monitors, then go into Settings -> Hotkeys -> Window, and the first item on the list should be "Ignore Deactivation". Set a hotkey for that, and you should be stylin'. It works in an on/off kind of way, so when you hit the hotkey, you can move the mouse out of a fullscreen application, and when you hit it again, then it will re-lock the mouse to that window.

    I've had success using it with Diablo 3 running in full screen on one monitor, and chrome on the other, and not having to Alt+Tab, or minimize the game.

    Cheers.


    Hey i just downloaded this PROGRAM Actual Multiple monitors but i dont know ho w to setting it up. can you help me?
  11. Not sure if you found a solution for this? Anyway, I'll give you an alternate way of dealing with this problem.

    The program Shift Windows allows the user to hide the borders on a windowed game.
    This means that to fix your problem; simply change your game(s) to windowed mode and use Shift Windows to make it seem like full screen.
    This will allow you to Alt+Tab to get your cursor off the game and browse or whatever on your 2nd monitor without minimizing your game.
    Since this is top result when searching for 'don't minimize full screen games' on Google, I guess this could help many others with the same problem :)

    I hope this solution works for you! If you have problems using Shift Windows, I will be more than happy to help you understanding the program.
    Add my skype: lucasta04
    Link for Shift Windows: http://grismar.net/shiftwindow/

    /Twerp
  12. Twerp96 said:
    Not sure if you found a solution for this? Anyway, I'll give you an alternate way of dealing with this problem.

    The program Shift Windows allows the user to hide the borders on a windowed game.
    This means that to fix your problem; simply change your game(s) to windowed mode and use Shift Windows to make it seem like full screen.
    This will allow you to Alt+Tab to get your cursor off the game and browse or whatever on your 2nd monitor without minimizing your game.
    Since this is top result when searching for 'don't minimize full screen games' on Google, I guess this could help many others with the same problem :)

    I hope this solution works for you! If you have problems using Shift Windows, I will be more than happy to help you understanding the program.
    Add my skype: lucasta04
    Link for Shift Windows: http://grismar.net/shiftwindow/

    /Twerp


    I have a similar problem. I want to have my regular desktop on my primary monitor (23" monitor) and be able to open a chrome tab on my secondary LED TV (32"). I want to be able to watch streaming video in full screen on the TV screen. Every time I do something on the primary monitor, like open excel or even just google anything, the full screen minimizes and kind of defeats the whole purpose of having a bigger screen to watch tv. Can anybody help?
  13. I hav efound a solution that works for me. if you use steam and press shift + tab you can mouse over to the other screen and use the applications that are on that screen just make sure you have the applications you use on that monitor. This wold most likely work with things like overworlf . This is the best solution I have found so far and it works for my needs.
  14. The maximized window mode in windows is the only way to accomplish the utilization of dual monitors. Check the programs you want to run as there may be a separate windowed mode in the program, then set your game resolution to a higher level to retain full screen mode.
  15. Just use borderless window if the game supports it, if it doesn't, you can find a 3rd party application that will fix older "bordered window only" mode.

    Full screen games take control of your graphics "device context" when the game is active. When you click on your desktop (another "device" that wants to display some shit) your "device context" has now changed and the game no longer owns it.

    This is why the "Borderless Window" option was born. When dual monitors started becoming a pretty normal thing in gamers homes it was really annoying to have that whole monitor useless when playing a game... Some people however, will get a performance drop playing in windowed mode, and other will get a performance gain. I am lucky enough to get a gain. So when a map is loading or someone sends me a message or email, I can alt tab, do what I need to do (while the game is still running in full screen and active), then jump back in the game with no performance hit by jumping between device context shit (like you would get by running in Full Screen mode). Alt+Tab too many times in some Full-Screen games and you'll notice your GPU Memory continues to increase and never drops back down (This is called "Fuck your video card fool, we just made you have to restart your damn computer.. LAWLZ").

    So, lesson learned… use borderless-window to avoid letting your GPU get raped by gushing memory leaks and other weird ghost-in-your-ass shit.
  16. ^ Dude you made my day. And thanks for your tips.
  17. same issue. actual window manager/multi monitors allows my mouse to escape but th eminute i try to focus anything on my accessory display it just minimizes the game anyways.

    tried display fusion, works even less. cant even get the mouse to escape.

    running out of ideas.. i guess no SLI in wow for me if i need to use my secondary display. FML
  18. Repeat : Just change the game to Windowed / unbordered mode, then it wont do that.

    Did you do that?

    Also can we stop bumping this? Make a new thread.
  19. Easy, you just need to hack... windows... :D kinda.
    Use aster v7 http://www.ibik.ru/downloads-free-trial
    or softXpand http://www.miniframe.com/

    What it does it makes possible to use two windows account at the same time. (fullscreen game on one account, and browser on other without minimizing fullscreen game)
    One windows account per monitor.
    Full screen game on one monitor and windows account.
    Internet browser and other stuff on second monitor and second windows account.
    There is some keyboard shortcut to switch between accounts/monitors (something with F12 if i remember correctly. Check manuals to find shortcut to switch keyboard scheme between windows accounts.)

    Notice that with this solution you cant drag application windows between monitors as they are 2 separate windows accounts.


    youtube link to see how you can play 2 games with 2 keyboard, 2 mouses on the same pc:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9hc9p8boPc

    Possibilites are unlimited with this piece of software.


    Yet it's sad that you have to use 2 windows accounts at the same time to make what OP wants possible, f*ck you microsoft.
  20. the answer you are looking for is ctrl+alt+tab, this allows you to bring up active windows, (this works on windows 7 or above) and which ever window you click on is the window you are then using, with this method you switch control not processing.
  21. jrgray93 said:
    bryonhowley said:
    Well what you are wanting to do is not going to happen period. And trying to run any demanding game in a VM is not going to give you any kind of performance that would be playable at all.

    The main problem is that if the game is designed to lock the mouse to it's full screen window(and most are) the only way to use the mouse in a different app is to minimize the full screen game. That is the way the game's are meant to work. The only way you are going to make it work with two monitors is to run the game in a window period that is it.

    Except there is already a way to move the mouse out of the application and onto the secondary display. Would anyone here happen to know for sure if this minimizing is a function of the game / application itself or if it is built into Windows?

    And people have reported that the program in the video of the first post DOES sometimes work, or at least used to.


    function of windows. Ive looked into this extensively. Ive been running surround + accessory (4 monitors) with quad titans (now dual 1080's) since 2013. I'm now looking into it again.

    What ive found, Other than name of the dll windows hooks to for this (which I forget) which is bypassed by Actual Multiple Monitors and/or DisplayFusion.. is that the aforementioned 3rd party tools only work with some games and some configs. Its almost like NVidia's drivers. Surround only works with some and not others. The version you have may not work, try an older one etc etc.

    All I can tell you is its a severe pain and it is disgusting this isn't default. Zero reason exists for it not to be. Surround and SLI have been a thing for over a DECADE.

    The VM reply is worth considering in some instances, doesn't apply for my niche/convoluted set up though. The main reason I need to disable deactivation of the main window is so I can keep SLI functioning and still access my accessory display (requires full screen for SLI to work). If I only had one card, 99.99% of the games I play have a windowed or borderless window mode that functions fine.

    It has something to do with windows/desktop composition iirc. A fundamental part of explorer iirc. Been ages since I gave up but my first google as of now brought me here :P
  22. Hah guys, every experienced multi monitor user know that Actual Multiple Monitors is the must have software that solves thread starters and many other problems. I have used it 4 years and i can say that it's really handy product.
  23. How about this:

    You get a second mouse.
    Hook it up to minimal footprint OS in a VirtualBox VM
    You add the Mouse in the Filter in the USB Settings

    After you booted up the VM:

    The secondary mouse will be bound to the VM and will not be able to interfere with your gaming.
    The only real downside to this seems to me the improved footprint of the browsing solution, but that shouldn't be an issue if you keep the ressources tight on the VM.

    Happy browsing and gaming.
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