Veteran, thank you for the advice.
I have tried what you suggested and it now will launch Windows each time with the laptop as my Primary monitor, as I had desired. This part of my problem has been solved.
However, I was not clear about the left/right issue I mentioned before.
Let me re-explain and if you have further thoughts please do let me know.
Now that laptop identifies as Monitor "1" and the external as Monitor "2," Windows ALWAYS starts up with monitor "1" aligned on the LEFT side when I access the control panel.
Because I EXTEND the desktop onto the external monitor, I need the external monitor "2" to align to the left in the control panel. Otherwise, I have to drag the mouse to the RIGHT to make it appear on the external monitor, which as I said sits to the left.
There seems to no way to make it so that my laptop is both my Primary monitor at all times, and at the same time have it align to the left of the external monitor.
Just to be clear, I am not talking about the physical alignment. I know that does not matter. I am referring to the alignment in the control panel.
In sum: IS THERE ANY WAY TO MAKE IT SO THAT MY LAPTOP IS ALWAYS THE PRIMARY MONITOR, AND ALSO SO THAT IT ALWAYS ALIGNS TO THE LEFT OF THE EXTERNAL MONITOR IN THE CONTROL PANEL???
Thanks so much - I do hope you have some more helpful suggestions!