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Ask Max: Running Dual Displays on a PowerBook

Asked on 05/26/2006:

I have a G4 867 MHz Powerbook and I'm trying to use a 17" LCD cinema display with it but there doesn't seem to be any way to get the desktop on the Powerbook over to the 17" cinema. Is there a way to do this?


There are two ways to use external displays on PowerBooks: Mirroring and Spanning. Mirroring is when the laptop screen and the external screen show the same images. Spanning is when each display shows a different section of the desktop. Spanning is often used because it will give you the combination of both the built-in and external monitor's screen space, allowing you to have more things open. You can even change which monitor your dock and menus are on.

To make adjustments to your displays go to the System Preferences and click on "Displays." A window will open on each display if you are in Spanning mode. Look for a tab labeled "Arrangement" and click on it. There you will see icons representing your two displays. You can drag the icons around to change their orientation toward one another. To change what display has the menus and dock, just drag the bar at the top of one display icon to the other. This same "Arrangement" preference window will also have the checkbox that allows you to Mirror the two displays.

Technically there is a third way to use an external display with your PowerBook. If you close the lid on your running PowerBook and have an external keyboard and mouse connected you can press the space bar to wake the computer up. The PowerBook will then only use the external display and act like an expensive Mac mini.

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