My XP PC boots to non existent monitor and treats primary as secondary.

I had my TV as my secondary monitor (HDMI hooked up to an NVIDIA GeForce), but it became my primary when I accidentally booted the PC without the primary hooked up. I hooked the primary back up, but it kept booting to the TV, so I brought up properties and made my monitor primary again. It didn't seem to "take" so I rebooted. I'd see the bios load, then windows start loading, then the monitor went blank.

I thought maybe the monitor was broken, so I unplugged it and tried to boot to the TV again, but it was treating my TV as a secondary extended desktoop (no icons on the desktop and no menu...right-clicking the desktop would bring up the context menui and allow me to select Properties, but it was sending the dialog to the non existent screen).

I unplugged the TV and plugged the monitor back in. (Could again see bios load then windows start loading.) This time it was acting as though my TV were still attached, and my monitor was acting as the secondary extended desktop. I tried plugging the TV back in and now it won't recognize the TV at all.

So how do I make my "secondary" monitor primary when I have no primary monitor to work with?
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  1. I need to clear things up a bit for me, You have ONE monitor attached now, but the computer thinks there is a second "ghost" monitor and thinks that second monitor is the primary one with all the icons and background correct? So you can see the background but no icons? And you can't change any settings because all the screens and dialog boxes go to that ghost second monitor right?

    If that's the case, try booting in Safe Mode, then go into the screen resolution option, see if there is only one monitor there. Click Detect, reboot, and see what happens.
  2. hang-the-9 said:
    I need to clear things up a bit for me, You have ONE monitor attached now, but the computer thinks there is a second "ghost" monitor and thinks that second monitor is the primary one with all the icons and background correct? So you can see the background but no icons? And you can't change any settings because all the screens and dialog boxes go to that ghost second monitor right?

    If that's the case, try booting in Safe Mode, then go into the screen resolution option, see if there is only one monitor there. Click Detect, reboot, and see what happens.


    I'm so glad someone understood what I meant! Yup, you hit the nail on the head. As for Safe Mode, I think I either tried it & it didn't work or I couldn't get in to Safe Mode. (I was standing on my head installing a video card into another PC today, and my brains are fried.) But I'll try again, thanks.
  3. Another thing to try, start regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Configuration, right-click on that and do an Export to back it up. Then delete the subkeys under the Configuration key, do not delete the Configuration key itself, just the subkeys, they will look a bit like monitor model names. I have HP monitors and mine all start with HWPxxxxxx

    Reboot, see how things work.
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