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Well, for some time now multi-monitor support has been a major feature request for Aston, but as yet, there is none, though it is a priority for a new version. However, in the spirit of “I want it NOW!” I have managed to come up with some degree of a workaround. This won't work for those users who have a very defined opinion of how they wish to work with a second monitor, but for others who are willing to be flexible, this should prove of some use. Like all other issues of gui modification, there are many ways to achieve the same or similar effect. I will detail below the method I have used, in the hope that the methods employed will enable you to come up with a working solution for your own setup. In order to employ the methods I will detail, you will need the Internet Exporer browser installed, and IE6SP1 is recommended for all items to be guaranteed to work in the manner I will specify.
The first thing, and a stumbling block for many is how to configure the monitors in such a way that all the features of a basic Aston build remain intact – primarily, the fact that assigning the monitor as being to the left or right of the primary monitor renders the tool bar on the side of the secondary monitor basically useless. I combated this by telling Windows that the monitor is above my primary – I simply move my mouse up to access the secondary instead of to the left (where the monitor is physically located). This seems a little strange initially, but I very quickly adjusted to this (only a few hours) and no longer give it a thought.
Dynamics out of the way, it's time to give thought to the meat of what Aston and all modding is about – personal customisation. In this case, I will start with the wallpaper on the secondary “desktop”. This cannot be assigned in the conventional manner, and we need to employ a somewhat unusual workaround to accomplish this. We shall use an HTA file to create a border-less area and assign it to the secondary monitor. An HTA file is a HyperText Application file, and should be used with caution. I suggest not downloading and running one without viewing the contents in a text viewer (such as notepad). They are simply an HTML web page with an .hta extension, but they have the power of an .exe file, and can cause just as much damage in the wrong hands.
To create my example, I opened notepad (you can use a web page editor if you prefer) and wrote the following:
<!-- This page free to distribute provided this acknowlegdment is left intact. All coding by The PC Mechanic ©2004, with additional support provided by Zealot-6. Refer to http://www.astonshell.com/forum for additional information -->
<TITLE>2nd Desktop Wallpaper</TITLE>
<body onload=window.blur() onfocus=window.blur() TOPMARGIN=0 LEFTMARGIN=0 MARGINHEIGHT=0 MARGINWIDTH=0 >
<img src="file:///g:\aston\themes\longhorn [1024x768]\wallpaper.jpg" vspace="0" hspace="0" onclick=window.blur()>
This was then saved as desk2.hta and a shortcut was placed in the startup folder. The following parameters control how this all works:
The window.resizeto command allows you to change the size of the final display area – this is useful if you have monitors of differing sizes. Importantly, because of the manner in which the image is displayed, the resized window should be larger than the desktop on which it is to be placed, in order that differences in resolution between the monitors don't cause a wallpaper misplacement.
The window.moveto command places the final window on the secondary monitor in the correct place. In my example, the monitor is “above” the primary, and so the y value is a negative relative to the top left pixel of the primary monitor. You will need to experiment with your setup to find the optimal settings for your own monitors. What you need to remember is to position the image allowing for the resolution differences as indicated above – this is what the additional window size is for.
The image to be displayed in on the secondary desktop is found in the img src= line, and should retain the file:/// prefix unless you intend to display an image from the web. You may resize this image if you wish, but there is more to the body section than this. If you are well versed in DHTML, you can place “psuedo desktop icons” above the background image – in fact this whole arrangement is very versatile if you have the web design skills. However, I suggest that you read up on HTA files at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/workshop/author/hta/overview/htaoverview.asp and more before you unleash your wonders upon the world.
Finally, I have found that the Analogue Clock, Amonitor, and Rainlendar will display just fine on a second monitor. I'm sure there are many others, but if you are using the MoveMe plug-in by Veratil, it will require disabling before implementing this secondary desktop workaround. Veratil is aware of this issue, and is planning an update to cope with these new capabilities.
This is all new territory for Aston users, so please contribute positive suggestions and comments regarding this at http://www.astonshell.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11594#11594. For those that want the “traditional” multi-monitor setups, I am sorry you have to wait, but I hope something here will help you out.
The PC Mechanic
ASTONSHELL.COM FORUM MODERATOR