How do graphics adapters order multiple displays??

Ceph92

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Sep 17, 2019
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I'm running into weird display ordering. Can someone explain what this thing wants from me?

I have an old dell laptop, two 2x monitor setups, and identical dell docking stations. The existing one is wired 2x DP->DVI, and output 1 is always the left, primary display. I set up a second dock (same model) in another room with 2x DP->HDMI and it works the same: output 1 goes to left monitor and is primary and output 2 goes to the left.

I changed the 2nd dock's cables to 2x DP->DP, and now the monitor order is REVERSED. So the right monitor is primary, and win10 thinks it's the left display. I swap the cords between outputs 1/2 and reboot, and the same thing: the right display is STILL primary and windows thinks it's the left display. If I unplug the right monitor, then the left becomes primary, but it reverts as soon as I plug the right monitor back in.

I'd rather understand what logic the hardware is using and get it set up correctly. If I reverse the displays in windows, I'm worried it will throw off the configuration for the other dock and I'll have to do this every time I relocate the laptop.

I saw something similar happening with my desktop, where the geforce adapter would choose on its own which is the primary output, and resolved it just by trying a few different configurations. I was never sure what the rule actually was.

Ideas?
 

GotNoRice

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I'd rather understand what logic the hardware is using and get it set up correctly.

There is no incorrect way to plug-in your monitors, unless you are really anal about which screen the BIOS shows up on, but it does not matter in any way once you are in Windows.

If I reverse the displays in windows, I'm worried it will throw off the configuration for the other dock and I'll have to do this every time I relocate the laptop.

Windows 10 and 11 are pretty good at remembering the orientation of specific monitors. How you configure the monitors when the laptop is plugged into one docking station should not affect anything when you plug the laptop into the other docking station, because the monitors are different.
 

Ceph92

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There is no incorrect way to plug-in your monitors, unless you are really anal about which screen the BIOS shows up on, but it does not matter in any way once you are in Windows.



Windows 10 and 11 are pretty good at remembering the orientation of specific monitors. How you configure the monitors when the laptop is plugged into one docking station should not affect anything when you plug the laptop into the other docking station, because the monitors are different.
Be that as it may, I have two such docking stations and don't want to reconfigure the monitors in windows every time I change docks.

My question is about what logic the graphics adapter uses to pick displays so I can avoid this problem (in windows and otherwise).
 

BassTek

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I’m pretty sure windows orders and remembers the displays based off of a hardware ID. We have unassigned seating at my office and windows remembers every docking station you have configured after the initial screen placement.

Basically set it and forget it in windows and stop messing with what adapter is plugged into what slot. Once you configure each setup in windows it will remember.
 

Armenius

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Don't know if it's the same in Windows 10. Press the Windows button in the taskbar and click Settings (the cog). Then go to Systems, Display. Here, you can drag and drop your monitors to how you want them orientated. It works fine, for me. The display identified as '2' is on the left and Windows treats it as the primary one.

1668117232398.png
 

Ceph92

Limp Gawd
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Ugh... why are people not listening to me? I *know* that can be done in windows, but I want the *adapter* to configure the monitors the way I need, because I have two such docking stations.
 

BassTek

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Ugh... why are people not listening to me? I *know* that can be done in windows, but I want the *adapter* to configure the monitors the way I need, because I have two such docking stations.
You are the one that isn’t listening. Windows can remember more than one docking station configuration. You don’t configure it through hardware, you do it through windows.
 

pendragon1

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ive personally never used a dock that allowed you any way to configure it, its is always that^^^
are you using a particular model or looking for one
 
Last edited:

GotNoRice

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Ugh... why are people not listening to me? I *know* that can be done in windows, but I want the *adapter* to configure the monitors the way I need, because I have two such docking stations.

Orientation is based on the individual monitor, not the port or the docking station. Myself and others have been trying to tell you this since the very first reply.

For example, I just took the displayport cables for my 5th and 6th monitor, pulled them both out, swapped ports, and plugged them back in. I didn't have to re-orient the monitors in windows, because windows recognized each monitor and put them back into the correct configuration automatically. It's based on the monitor, not the port or the docking station or anything else. Even if you unplugged the docking station and plugged the monitors into the laptop directly it would still remember the correct configuration.

Moving from one docking station to another doesn't matter. You are using different monitors in each location, and the orientation that will be used in each location will be based on what windows remembers about those monitors when they are plugged in. Once again, the docking station and the ports that the monitors are plugged into makes no difference in this regard, because the OS is interacting directly with each monitor and remembers orientation based on what it remembers about that monitor. Not the port that it's plugged into.
 
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