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FAQ: My NVidia Geforce 2 - based graphics card thinks I've got 2 monitors

By Tom Cumming

 

The NVidia Geforce 2, Geforce 3 are Geforce 4s are chipsets used by graphics cards manufacturers - they are not full graphics cards in their own right. Therefore, there are a lot of similar but not identical graphics cards that can be described as "Geforce 2" etc, made by different manufacturers, that can all use the same drivers and are fairly similar in price, appearance and performance.

Some of these similar, non-identical graphics cards, have two monitor connectors. Some of the ones that do not, particularly the MX models, simply have not had a second connector fitted, but the circuit board is the same. Therefore, the computer may have no way of telling whether or not your graphics card has two monitor connectors, (and so therefore two monitors), or not.

---IMPORTANT---: I have had a report that some of the following instructions can cause problems with cards that have TV-out sockets. My guess is that the driver treats the TV-out as a second monitor output, so following these instructions will disable it. I do not have a card with a TV-out, so I am not able to test this myself, so all I can say is follow these instructions at your own risk.

There are a number of ways around this:

1) Do nothing. Seriously: if this does not cause any other problems, then life is too short.

2) If you are finding some applications are attempting to use the second non-existant monitor, then some graphics cards can allow you to "force" the detection of two monitors to be turned off. This involves editing the registry, so ***MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP THE REGISTRY FIRST*** (see below if you do not know how to do this.)
Then once you have done this:
a) Click on Start, and click Run
b) Type "regedit" and click OK
c) In the left hand pane, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\System
d) Goto Edit/new/DWORD value
e) Type the name "TwinViewDisabled"
f) Press enter twice
g) Type in the value of 1, and click OK
h) Exit the registry editor
i) Restart your computer to see if that has worked.

3) If the above did not work, you can try telling Windows not to use the second monitor:
a) Right click a blank area of the desktop, and select "properties";
b) Click the "settings" tab;
c) Click on the number "2" monitor in the box at the top;
d) Untick the "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor;
e) Click OK.
f) Restart the computer if necessary.

4) If you still have problems, you could disable the second "monitor":
a) Right-click the "My Computer" icon on the desktop;
b) Click on the "device manager" tab; (Windows XP: select the "hardware" tab, then click on "device manager")
c) Expand the "monitors" section;
d) Double click on the monitor that does not exist
(called "default monitor");
e) Tick the "disable in this hardware profile" button;
f) Click OK twice.
g) Restart the computer if necessary.

The above should solve most problems. However, if you are a perfectionist, you could go to your graphics card manufacturer's website, and get a specific driver for your Geforce variant, so that the driver "knows" there is only one monitor. The instructions for this will be on the manufacturer's website. However personally I would not bother with this, as the NVidia reference drivers usually give better performance in games anyway.

How to back up the registry
---------------------------
(from option 1)

For Windows ME or XP:

1) Click on start, and go to programs (or "all programs"), accessories, system tools, and click on "system restore".
2) Click on "Create a restore point", and click "next".
3) Give it a name (eg, "before I try and fix the graphics card"), and click on "create".
4) Click on Close.

Then if it all goes pearshaped, you can then use the "restore my computer to an earlier time" option, to get it back to how it was at this point.

For Windows 95, 98 or 2000:

1) Click on start/programs/MS-DOS prompt (or start/programs/accessories/Command Prompt in Windows 2000.)
2) Type this in:

copy c:\windows\system.dat c:\windows\system.bac [enter]
copy c:\windows\user.dat c:\windows\user.bac [enter]

This will create backups to "system.bac" and "user.bac", so if it all goes wrong you can then do the reverse to get things back as they were.


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No part of this site may be reproduced in any format.All documents author acknowledged are copyright retained by the author.

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