VPC 2007 Dual Monitor support

I have been trying to find a way to allow you to run Virtual PC 2007 with multiple monitors.  Natively VPC 2007 doesnt support more than 1 monitor, however you can "trick" it by using various techniques that expand the desktop area into a larger virtual desktop.

I tried using the awesome which can extend your screen across separate PC's (think "push" remote desktop), but the new multi-monitor compatibility feature of VPC 2007 (which inexplicably does not add multi-monitor support) made this difficult since it ensures that your desktop recaptures your mouse when you move it outside of the VPC window thus preventing the extended screen from being accessible.

So, instead I tried the Remote Desktop approach mentioned in Steven Harman's blog post.  

Here is a quick rundown on how it works:

Connect 2 monitors to your PC (more than 2 typically don't work with this approach).   Make sure to extend your desktop onto the 2nd screen via Display Properties -> Settings.  Then launch Remote Desktop (mstsc.exe) with the "/span" flag:

mstsc /span

Then just use Remote Desktop as usual by specifying your VPC's computer name in the connection dialog.

When I first tried this, it still didnt work exactly right.  It kept giving me annoying scrollbars instead of going full screen, so I added this extra flag to force it into fullscreen:

mstsc /span /f

Also, since I didnt want VPC to have the extra overhead of maintaining 2 sessions (the console and my new RDP session), I threw in one more flag to make it simply take-over the initial console window:

mstsc /span /f /console

NOTE: The /span flag is only present on the very latest version of Remote Desktop Connection.  Therefore, you must either be running Vista on both PC's, or install the update specified here:


There are limitations on how your  monitors must be configured in order for this flag to work.

Also, keep in mind that this technique only enlarges your desktop area sufficiently large enouch to span both monitors, but it DOES NOT behave exactly like the native dual-monitor support you may be accustomed to.  For example, when you maximize a window, it maximizes across BOTH monitors instead of maximizing within the confines of a single monitor.   For now, I'm just dealing with that by avoiding maximizing and just manually resizing windows to fit 1 screen.


Advanced Users:

One way to avoid having to arrange windows each time is to use a cryptic, yet incredible tool called Hawkeye ShellInit. ShellInit is a small application that helps you manipulate your desktop & application windows via script.   Here is a small script that will move Visual Studio over the right-hand screen (assuming 1280x1024 resolution) and enlarge it to the correct size.

Position Window, *Microsoft Visual Studio, wndclass_desked_gsk, 1280, 0, 1288, 1002

If you decide to use this tool, make sure and read the readme.txt file for some good sample scripts and ideas.

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