Force an HDMI Second Monitor to Run Full-Screen

For the past few weeks I've been using a laptop as my primary PC. It's been fine, but the one thing I really miss is the dual-monitor setup I had with my desktop. Well, no problem, one of my monitors supports HDMI, and the laptop has an HDMI output. With two shakes of an HDMI cable I'd be back in dual-LCD business.

Or so I thought. Although both displays have a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 (also known as 1080p), and although I'd configured Windows to use that resolution for both screens, the second monitor displayed a black bar (roughly two inches thick) around the image. In other words, it wasn't running full-screen, despite having all the proper settings.

I fiddled with the monitor's own menus for a bit, but found no way to zoom or enlarge the image. Then I remembered that this is HDMI I'm dealing with. Whenever I'd used HDMI to connect a media-center PC to an HDTV, I'd always run into problems with the size of the image. It was never scaled just right.

Like many laptops, this one was based on an ATI graphics processor, and therefore incorporated the ATI Catalyst Control Center--a utility that gives you finer control over your display(s). After launching the CCC and poking around a bit, I was able to solve the problem. Here's how:

1. Start the CCC and switch to Advanced Mode.

2. Click the Graphics button in the upper-left corner and choose Desktops & Displays.

3. Near the bottom, under "Please select a display," right-click the monitor that's giving you trouble (in my case it was #2) and choose Configure.

4. Click the Scaling Options tab, then slide the selector to the right, towards Overscan. Keep sliding until your image appears edge-to-edge in your monitor.

5. Click OK and you're done!

Your mileage may vary depending on which version of the CCC you have. Mine was current as of June, 2011. Hope this does the trick for what can be a very irksome problem!

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