Weblog Archives: January 2011

Monitor Stays Asleep After Remote Desktop in Windows 7

If you have a dual-monitor setup in Windows 7 and you use remote desktop, it's possible that you've run across a curious glitch: whenever you sit back down at your console session after using RDP, your main display remains blank. In fact, it's simply still asleep. You know the secondary monitor works because you can run the cursor to it, and if you're careful you can login blind and all the monitors wake up. There are several workarounds, including disabling power-saving on your monitor, disconnecting and reconnecting your monitor after sitting down, and other silliness, but those are annoying.

There's a simple fix that worked for me. Swap the displays so that your primary display (the one that shows the Windows login dialog or Welcome screen) is display number 1, as labeled whenever you ask Windows to "identify" the monitors. I have an ATI video card, so my fix looked like this:

ATI driver window
ATI's "swap" option. Click the image to see the whole dialog.

Given the number of complaints online, this is a real bug in either Windows or ATI's and nVidia's drivers. I didn't suffer from the problem until I got a new display to replace my secondary one, with the new one becoming the primary display. Since ATI's driver assigned the new display as number 2 (even though it was "primary"), Windows started showing this problem. Swapping the monitors fixed it.

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