I have 2 screen setup for my computer... and I think the cold hard fact that the second monitor is running while I'm running games kills my FPS.

So, is there a way to automatically disable my second screen when I start a game on the first screen? And when I'll close it, to automatically reenable the second screen?

  • 1
    Have you tried powering it off? I find that usually when the display is off, Windows will act as if it's no longer connected at all. Simple, 1-button solution :) – agent86 May 5 '12 at 23:44
  • @agent86 This is true for modern interfaces - DP, HDMI, DVI. For VGA, Component, Composite, etc it depends on the device and your graphics card - but I believe turning it off in most cases won't cause Windows to recognize it is gone. – EBongo May 6 '12 at 0:39
  • @EBongo - This is actually generally NOT true for DVI, which I'd say 70% of people are using these days. :/ – Shinrai May 6 '12 at 2:53
  • @Shinrai DVI can be a wild card, depending on how the graphics card and monitor are implemented. The standard defines a hot plug detection (assuming you are using TMDS mode, not just the VGA pins), but some monitors don't support it correctly, and thus the way graphics adapters interpret it is variable. I think 70% penetration sounds high, but I don't really know. So many folks still use VGA, especially for 2nd monitors. – EBongo May 6 '12 at 17:09

It is hard to answer this question generically. Display "Mode Persistence", as it is called in the biz, is a notoriously fickle and config dependent feature. Key factors to consider:

  1. Display mode (Clone, or Extended Desktop)
  2. Graphics adapter (nVidia, ATI, etc)
  3. Version of Windows (generally pre-Win 7 or post-Win 7)

Display modes are handled differently for these different configs. I'd also suspect that the FPS hit for running in these different configs varies.

All that said, if you want an easy way to turn off your second (or third/fourth etc) displays, most modern graphics cards provide it. Look for a "hotkey" menu in the graphics adapter GUI. For example in Catalyst:

Hotkey GUI

Here you can set keystrokes for various display mode switching. I believe you'd be looking for "Disable all non-Primary displays". There many other hotkey-able capabilities you may also find useful, if you are switching between gaming and "regular" computer use.

  • 3
    Wow, that is an old version of Catalyst. o.O – Shinrai May 6 '12 at 2:54
  • Not my gaming rig... just what I had on hand. :) – EBongo May 6 '12 at 17:05

I'm not sure you can have that done automatically, but here is a simple manual way to do it.

Depending on which video card you have, you should be able to do it right through its software interface. Example:

If you are running an ATI card and have the catalyst control center installed:

  1. Right click on your desktop and left click on Catalyst Control Center
  2. Click on desktop Management
  3. Click on the down arrow to the current monitor you would like disabled
  4. click on the first item listed:Disable

This will disable that monitor entirely. Once you are done gaming, just reverse engineer that process.

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  • Thats great and all, but I'll lose all my icon placements... is there any way to bypass that? – Fredy31 May 5 '12 at 23:49
  • Without a script? I don't believe so. Your question wasn't directed towards icon placements, just a solution for disabling your monitor. Otherwise, @agent86 's solution would be your option. Just turning the power off. – Zero Stack May 5 '12 at 23:55
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    @Fredy31 - ANYTHING that disables the monitor completely will lose your icon placements, unless you use third party software to remember them. Windows will NEVER leave something on a disabled monitor, as a precaution to keep you from being able to access it. – Shinrai May 6 '12 at 2:55
  • Exactly what i needed to debug issue with Diablo 3 ROS expansion running terribly on radeon r9 280x – wired00 Apr 15 '14 at 7:56

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