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Ultra Functionality for Multiple-Monitor Setups - 21 Sep 2005

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1. Commentary
- Ultra Functionality for Multiple-Monitor Setups

2. News & Views
- Critical Bug in Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape Browsers

3. Resources
- Tip: Disable the Start Menu's Newly Installed Application Feature
- Featured Blog: PDC 2005

4. New and Improved
- Compare and Sync Files Between Computers
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Ultra Functionality for Multiple-Monitor Setups ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

My last column's discussion about multiple monitors resulted in a torrent of email from users who were already using multiple monitors, had just started using multiple monitors and had questions, or had been on the fence about the idea and were now planning to move ahead. Of the people that were already using multiple monitors, more than 80 percent wrote to tell me about their personal experiences and to recommend a software tool that made using more than one monitor even more rewarding. The tool is Realtime Soft's UltraMon ( ).

With all those recommendations, I felt I had to give UltraMon a try. (The software downloads with a full-function 30-day trial period.) After using it for 2 weeks, I believe that it lives up to its billing and adds multiple-monitor functionality that's not available from any other product or the base OS.

My multiple-monitor setup is simple from a technical viewpoint because I use identical DVI monitors that are driven by a single PCI Express video card designed for multiple-monitor use. UltraMon supports using multiple monitors with different screen sizes and resolutions. This functionality makes adding a new larger monitor to an existing installation much simpler because the differences in the two monitors are masked, with the software seamlessly managing the different ways that the screen data appears. This seamless appearance makes using different monitors a much more satisfying experience.

Other functionality, such as screen-independent taskbars (i.e., each monitor gets a taskbar that shows only the applications that are running on that screen), makes using multiple applications quicker and helps keep your work processes organized. I've also found the software's Shortcuts feature, which lets you add context menu shortcuts that not only launch applications but predefine where the application will open, very useful. I've configured this feature to launch specific applications (e.g., network monitoring tools) to always open in the same place. Now when I launch the three tools I regularly use, they appear in a stacked configuration on my left monitor. Formerly, I would launch the applications, then have to rearrange the screen because they would open on top of each other. This functionality might not sound impressive, but it makes the work go more smoothly. You can configure screen positioning via your existing application shortcuts because the UltraMon Window tab appears in the properties dialog box of all your shortcuts.

The software's mirroring functionality is also very useful. While working with a client, I mirrored the presentation I had prepared onto the HDTV I use for presentations. The UltraMon software handled the different screen resolutions (1280 x 720 on the HDTV and 1920 x 1440 on the system's primary monitor) with no special effort on my part. And the client didn't have to hover over my shoulder watching the network diagrams on the computer screen; instead, he watched them on the 44" HDTV screen. For the $39.95 cost of the software, I can't imagine a utility more useful to multiple monitor users, nor one that I can more strongly recommend that they not be without.


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==== 3. News & Views ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net

Critical Bug in Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape Browsers
Tom Ferris reported a buffer overflow vulnerability in Firefox Web browsers. The vulnerability exists because of faulty URL processing and could lead to the execution of remote code. The problem has been reported to affect Firefox 1.0.6 and Firefox 1.5 Beta, as well as Netscape and Mozilla 1.7.11 because they share Firefox's code. Read the entire story at the following URL:

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Disable the Start Menu's Newly Installed Application Feature
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I'm often asked how to turn off the Windows XP feature that highlights newly installed applications on the Start menu. Here are the steps for turning off the feature.

1. Right-click Start and select Properties.
2. Click Customize on the Start Menu tab.
3. Click the Advanced tab.
4. Clear the "Highlight newly installed programs check box."
5. Click OK.

Some users have told me that this feature has been re-enabled without their interaction. I don't know why this occurs, but I usually direct them to the registry setting that controls this functionality.
1. Launch the registry editor.
2. Open the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced registry subkey.
3. Double-click the Start_NotifyNewApps entry in the right panel.
4. Set the value to 0.

Featured Blog: PDC 2005
Couldn't make it to Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2005? Follow along as Paul Thurrott discusses the latest news and announcements coming out of this important event.

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by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

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