Use Multiple Monitors for One Virtual Machine
If your host has a multiple‐monitor display, you can configure a virtual machine to use
two or more monitors.
On Windows guests, you do not need to use the Windows display properties settings
to configure multiple monitors.Before you begin, make sure the virtual machine meets these requirements:
1 The virtual machine is a Workstation 6.x or higher virtual machine.
2 VMware Tools is installed and running in the virtual machine’s guest operating
system. The version of VMware Tools must be the version included in
Workstation 7.x. For instructions, see “Installing VMware Tools” on page 101.
3 The guest operating system in the virtual machine is Windows XP, Windows Vista,
Windows 7, or Linux.
4 On the host, the display settings for monitors must be set in a compatible topology.
For example, the left‐most monitor cannot be placed lower than any other monitor
in the display topology. It does not matter if the monitors have different resolutions
or orientations. When entering full screen mode, the monitor that contains the
Workstation window cannot be lower than another monitor.Put another way: When you use the Windows display properties controls, if you
select a monitor icon and begin to drag it to a new location, a tooltip displays the
coordinates. If a coordinate shown for the new location of the icon is a negative
number, that location will not work.
To use multiple monitors for one virtual machine
1 Choose Edit > Preferences.
2 Click the Display tab and in the Full Screen section, select Autofit guest and click
3 Select a virtual machine.
4 Make sure the virtual machine is powered off.
5 Choose VM > Settings.
6 On the Hardware tab, select Display.
If Display does not appear in the list on the Hardware tab, it probably means that
the virtual machine is a Workstation 4 or 5.x virtual machine. Only Workstation 6.x
or higher virtual machines have this feature.
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7 On the settings panel for the Display tab, specify how to determine the number of
In most cases, select Use host setting for monitors. If the virtual machine is run on
a host that is using one monitor, the virtual machine detects only one monitor. But
if the same virtual machine is moved to a host that is using two monitors, the
virtual machine detects two monitors.
The number of monitors depends on the number of monitors that the host
recognizes at startup. For example, if you power on a laptop that is undocked, the
host setting is one monitor, even if you later place the running laptop in a docking
station that uses two monitors.
Similarly, if the host has one monitor and you suspend the virtual machine and
change the host to have two monitors, when you resume the virtual machine, it is
still configured to use one monitor. You must restart the virtual machine to detect
the new settings.
You might want to set a specific number of monitors if, for example, you are
writing an application to be displayed on multiple monitors but the host you are
using has only one monitor.
8 If you set a specific number of monitors, specify a sufficient maximum resolution.
The resolution of a host monitor that you use to display the virtual machine must
not exceed the Maximum resolution setting that you specify.
9 Power on the virtual machine and choose View > Full Screen.
For more information, see “Use Full Screen Mode” on page 161.
Make sure the virtual machine is completely powered on. If when you power on
the virtual machine, it is set to be restored from a snapshot and if background
snapshots are enabled, powering on might take longer. In this case, displaying the
virtual machine to two monitors might not work correctly at first. If you see this
issue, go to Edit > Preferences > Priority and deselect the check box called
Take and restore snapshots in the background.
10 On the full screen toolbar, click the Cycle Multiple Monitors button.
This button is available only if the host has multiple monitors. This button is shown
in Figure 7‐1, “Full Screen Toolbar on a Windows Host,” on page 161.
Clicking the Cycle Multiple Monitors button causes the guest operating system’s
desktop to extend to the additional monitor or monitors.
If the virtual machine does not appear correctly, use the system menu (on
Windows hosts) or the View menu (on Linux hosts) and select Autofit Guest.
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11 If you have more than two monitors, and you want the virtual machine to use
them, click the Cycle Multiple Monitors button again.
The order in which the monitors are used depends on the order in which the
monitors were added to the host operating system.
12 To return to using only one monitor, click the Cycle Multiple Monitors button
until the display returns to one monitor.