May. 11th, 2015

I have a laptop set up with a docking station and dual monitors. One monitor is connected to the docking station's VGA port, and the other to the DVI port. The monitors are configured to both duplicate the laptop's desktop. I generally only use one monitor at a time and leave the other one turned off. One is on a desk for use while sitting down, the other is on a shelf higher for use from a standing position.

One morning, after placing the laptop on the docking station and waking it from sleep, the main monitor on the desk would not display the desktop like usual. After showing some of the wake-up/startup screens, the monitor simply went dark as if it wasn't getting any signal. When I opened the laptop to press the function key for switching between the dual monitor modes, the laptop locked up (for a still unknown reason) and even the laptop screen went dark. This happened several times in succession after force-rebooting the laptop.

I eventually found that while the bottom monitor wouldn't turn on to begin with, that the top one would. Whenever this happens again (which it did again today), I simply need to bring up the "Screen Resolution" window on the top monitor, and set it back to the "Duplicate" display mode. Somehow the settings are getting changed to only display the desktop on the top monitor, and I just need to change them back. Opening the laptop is not necessary for this.

Update: After posting the above, there were a couple of times after waking the laptop from sleep when neither monitor nor the laptop screen would display anything, and so I still had to force a reboot.

I discovered some hot-keys, which I'll try if the problem happens again.
Windows key + P: brings up the window for switching between the computer and projector displays. Keep holding down the Windows key while pressing P one or more times to cycle through the options. Then release both keys to switch to that option.

Ctrl + Alt + F1 or F3 or F4 (etc): switches the display to the laptop, VGA monitor, or digital monitor. The specific hot-key combinations can be found by right-clicking the desktop, selecting "Graphics Properties...", and then selecting the item for "Options and Support".

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djinncoyote

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