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Portable Particulars

Notebook and other portable computers have very limited display options compared to desktop computers:

  • You can't upgrade the on-board video.

  • You can't always run the on-board and external displays at the same time.

  • Your resolution and color-depth options are more limited than they are on a desktop system.

How can you make the most of your portable computer's display, either when you initially buy your system or later? Try these tricks:

  • Project a comfortable image by selecting an external projector or monitor that matches the native resolution of your computer's LCD display—The simultaneous-display feature of many notebook computers is designed to work only if the projector and internal display are both using the same resolution. If you want to see the same thing on your screen that's being transmitted to the crowd at your next meeting or training class, check the numbers on the projector before you buy. Most notebook computer screens run at 1024x768 resolution these days, so make sure your projector does too.

  • Look for portable computers that support Windows XP's DualView technology—DualView enables the monitor connected to the external VGA port to be used as a true second display, just like the second monitor connected to a dual-head display card. However, you might need to install updated display drivers, and some portable computers simply can't support DualView.

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