Multi Monitor Support doesn't work properly. (Version 7)

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration of Parallels Desktop' started by Craig Givant, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Craig Givant

    Craig Givant Member

    Multi Monitor Support (MORE THAN TWO) doesn't work properly. (Version 7)

    No this is NOT the same as the issue (Lion Full Screen Mode) that was resolved with the latest version which I am running (Build 7.0.14922).

    I have been screwing with this all day and honestly I'm ready to simply receive a refund. I have already submitted a ticket depicting my inability to enter Coherence and now this:

    The software has no clue how to deal with multiple monitors and I have four (4). Entering full screen produces a screen at the wrong resolution and it does not remember screen orientations (positions) that had previously been properly established (using display property settings in host). Yes they can be re-established by re-entering the settings again but this needs to be done after EVERY time you enter Full-Screen mode and then all Mac windows on the "unused" (disabled in host display property settings) monitors simply show up black.

    I have tried changing display positions in the Mac Display settings, hooking up monitors to different display ports, placing the windowed VM on a different monitor prior to entering full-screen mode and MANY other things. All in all over 6 hours of my time has been wasted. Nothing works.

    My goal is quite simple:

    I have four monitors side by side. From left to right they are:

    1) ASUS VH236H
    2) ASUS VH236H
    3) DELL 2005FPW
    4) DELL 2005FPW

    These monitors are connected to two (2) NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB Video Cards

    Monitor 1 should be the main Mac display (with Dock)
    Monitor 2 should be an extended Mac display
    Monitor 3 should be the primary Host (Windows 7) display
    Monitor 4 should be an extended host display

    Honestly this is just the way I want it set up and I would be happy simply getting to that point but I (anyone) should be able to set-up these monitors in ANY configuration I (they) want and trust me I have tried them all.

    Identifying monitors in the host display panel is great but the numeric identification numbers resulting from the query always CHANGES depending on how many monitors are "enabled". They also change or lose their (position) every time Full-screen is enabled. It shouldn't be this difficult. Steps should be rather simple as follows:

    1 Identify Monitors
    2. Determine which monitors to enable
    3. Enable monitors and set proper resolution
    4. Drag monitors to proper display position
    5. DONE!

    Unfortunately it doesn't work this way and needs to be fixed ASAP. I have submitted a ticket but it has been 24 hours since I submitted my "coherence" ticket and so far I have heard nothing.

    -------------------------My Configuration-----------------

    MacPro 3,1 (Early 2008)
    Dual 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processors
    12 GB 800 MHz ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM Memory
    Dual NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB (4 monitors)
    2 x DELL 2005FPW Monitors (1620x1050)
    2 x ASUS VH236H Monitors (1920x1080)
    Mac OS X Server Lion 10.7.1 (11B26)

    Windows 7 64bit Enterprise
    4 CPU's
    3952 MB ram
    512 MB Video memory (tested different settings)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  2. Craig Givant

    Craig Givant Member

    Parallels Support has replied

    Hello Craig,

    Thank you for contacting Parallels Technical Support.

    As I understand you are facing the issue with Multiple monitor support doesn't work properly. I regret the inconvenience caused.

    In order to resolve the issue please follow the below mentioned steps and provide the required information :

    1. Since when are facing this issue ?
    2. Make sure Mac screen resolution is same in all the monitors (from Apple/System Preferences/Display)
    3. Virtual Machine > configure > option > full screen > Use all displays in full screen should be un checked.
    4. Apple logo > system preferences > Display > Arrangement Tab > un check "Mirror Display"
    5. Put the Virtual Machine in to window mode and drag it to external display. then change the view mode to Full Screen in external display.
    6. you may also check the below mentioned link and check if that helps

    Please let us know the status of the issue.

    Please feel free to contact us for any further assistance. We will be happy to help you.

    Deepak H. R.
    Technical Support Engineer
    || Parallels

    ------------------- My Response--------------
    Deepak H. R.,

    Regarding your questions I offer:

    1. Since Coherence mode does not work properly (see open ticket 1217614) I have attempted to use multiple monitors to assist me in various tasks to minimize the negative impact to my workflow. With this said the problem is prevalent since I upgraded to Parallels version 7.

    2. I do NOT have similar monitors and making the screen resolution the same on all monitors is NOT an option. I am using a mixture of 20" displays and 24" displays and I'm sure you can appreciate that these displays can NOT be set to identical display resolutions.The 24" monitors need to be set to 1920x1080 and the 20" monitors need to be set to 1680x1050. Deviating from these resolutions is not an option and I will NOT be purchasing additional monitors as a "work-around" to an obvious deficiency in the software coding. These display setting work 100% fine in the Mac Environment/

    3. I have tried both "use all monitors" and NOT "use all monitors" in my attempts at troubleshooting this issue. The issue is still there.

    4. I have NEVER had the "mirror displays" enabled.

    5. Re-read my initial request for support. Doing this will reveal that this has already been tried.

    6. I have tried both LION full screen mode and NON LION full screen mode. The issues that I have presented in this ticket are not affected by either of these settings.


    Craig Givant
  3. Craig Givant

    Craig Givant Member

    Work Around

    Ok.... So I seem to be having a conversation with myself but for those of you that may be experiencing these issues (please post if you are), I have a work around that may assist you in minimizing the impact to your workflow. Follow the steps below and while there is no way in "H" "E" Double Hockey Sticks that it was meant to be this way, perhaps you will find the information useful.

    1. VM Machine Configuration >> Options >> Full Screen >> Use Mac OS X Full Screen ENABLED
    2. VM Machine Configuration >> Options >> Full Screen >> Use all displays in Full Screen ENABLED
    3. Mac OS X System Preferences >> Displays >> CHECK "Show Displays in Menu Bar"
    4. Start VM in Windowed Mode and drag it to the PRIMARY display. This is the display with your Mac Dock. I recommend it being the farthest LEFT display.
    5. With the VM highlighted.... Go to Parallels Menu (top of Primary Display) >> View >> Enter Full Screen
    6. This is where it gets "wonky" but work through it..... Right Click on the desktop (I'm using Windows 7 for this example) and select Display resolution. Turn on ALL Displays by highlighting each display >>> and selecting "Extend my desktop to this display" >>> Apply. Do this for each Display that is not already "active".
    7. Identify your displays by clicking "identify" and note the numbers that appear on each monitor.
    8. Drag the display icons to the same order that you "identified" in step 7 and click apply.
    9. Make sure that the leftmost monitor (after step 8) has a checkbox stating "this is your primary display"
    10. Adjust each monitor to the proper resolution by highlighting it >> Changing the resolution in the drop down >> Clicking apply.

    After these steps you should have a VM that takes up (is extended to) ALL of your displays and it will be like the Mac environment doesn't even exist. If this isn't the case keep playing with it until you do. The trick is to make sure that ALL displays ( I can't stress this enough) are activated. If you attempt to turn one off the "identification" numbers will change and you will chase your tail around and around.

    Now for the Cool Trick......

    To get back to the Mac Environment click within the Primary Window, Click "Control" + "Alt" at the same time, release them, and move your mouse to the top of the Primary Display. This should expose the Mac upper menu bar where you will see a "monitor" icon. This is the icon that was made visible during step 3. Click the Icon and select "open display preferences"....

    Wa La..... Windows disappears and you are back at your entire Mac environment. Close all the Display preferences boxes by clicking the ONE that has the close (red) button.

    To return to windows simply click anyone of your running windows programs (programs with the Parallels Logo) in the Mac Dock or select a program from the "windows applications" folder on your mac dock and....

    Wa La again...back to windows...

    While these steps are very painful, they currently work for me, but I offer no guarantee they will work for you. I am running four monitors (as outlined in my initial post) and this work around at least allows me to get something done. Of course this "issue" need to be fixed but until such time I hope it works for you.

    Once you get these steps configured and working properly I suggest that you shut down your VM from the windows shut down menu. This will insure that your settings are retained and then the next time you start the VM you will automatically be returned to full screen / "all monitor" conditions.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  4. Domainscanners

    Domainscanners Junior Member

    Buggy as hell

    Thanks for the heads up Craig,

    Like you I also have a quad screen setup and Parallels 7 multi monitor support is shaky to say the least. Im a developer and fail to understand how the powers that be can release software without testing in a multi monitor environment? Surly they use Multi monitors on their own dev workstations and are aware of these bugs before they release? If not, for all our sakes set up a Mac, with 4 screens, work with your own software and see how you like it!

    Really regretting paying for the upgrade to v7 so far. I spent over an hour with tech support, tried all the usual things (reinstalling the tools, rebooting etc) and gave up in the end. I then got an email saying that my problem had been resolved by rebooting, which it hadn't!!! Have now totally given up on using Coherence mode which worked fine in version 6 AND DOES NOT WORK IN VERSION 7!!!

    Anyway - Full screen support works across all monitors if you activate them as you have outlined. BUT... It fails to save the configuration so every time I want to enter full screen I have to run through the procedure of activating all additional 3 monitors again. A proper pain in the ar*e. I have tried shutting down windows within the vm to try and save the configuration as you suggested but unfortunately it doesn't work (not with me at least)

    I can live without Coherence mode but cannot live without multi monitor support.

    What I want is a windowed version of my win7 install running to host my outlook email etc and then be able to click into full screen and instantly have all 4 monitors available to me within my visualised win 7 environment for dev purposes - without having to reactivate all my monitors every time.

    Please PLEASE sort this. And please don't ask me to fill out another support request either.

    Apart from the above show stopper, Parallels is a great vm solution.

  5. Craig Givant

    Craig Givant Member

    Wasn't ready for prime time

    Your guess is as good as mine Paul. There is no way that this product was tested thoroughly before release. I read somewhere that Parallels tried to beat VmWare to the punch by releasing v7 before they released their v4. There may actually be some truth to that. As a developer, I'm sure you agree that this is a poor strategy. In the end the quality of the product is what separates it from the rest, not how quickly you race to market.

    My two tickets have been combined (Coherence and Multi-Monitor) and sent to the "development" team. This was over a week ago. The last communication from them simply stated that "they are working on it" and to subscribe to the news letter so I know when an update comes out.

    With my "work-around" it's all or nothing. I haven't found a way (quit trying) to do as you suggest by keeping the VM windowed and "available" for full-screen. It just doesn't work. I guess I'm at least lucky that I can (most of the time) have the VM save my settings. It's doesn't always work but I have become quite adept at setting it all back up once the VM is running. That part at least works 100% of the time.

    I have seen weird mouse issues though where the pointer on the screen is not coincident with the actual "location". I've even become quite good at estimating the position to avoid having to restart the whole VM. Truly is a PITA but once all four monitors are up and running the issue goes away.

    What really irks me is the fact that I received a support questionnaire and obviously gave it poor marks. I have been with Parallels since v3 so I'd like to think I am a "valued" customer. To date, even though I provided them with very specific details, I've yet to receive a response. It's not like the $50 is going to make or break me but it's more about the principle. I fully expected them to offer me my money back for assisting them with their "beta" testing but no such luck.

    I agree that Parallels has been my virtulization software of choice and I have tried a few, but this latest experience is making me wonder if maybe it's time to go another route. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt but not for long.

    Thanks for your input!

  6. serv

    serv Forum Maven


    The fix for broken switching to Multi-Monitor Full Screen/Coherence will be included in the nearest update of PD7. Thanks for reporting this.
  7. strells

    strells Product Expert

    The strange thing for me is that multi-monitor coherence was working for me. Now this evening, all of a sudden, it stopped! I can no longer enter Coherence with my monitor at home (an old Apple display) and my MBP. Waiting for the fix...

  8. NateL

    NateL Bit poster

    strells -

    Same for me. Coherence was working wonderfully in my dual monitor setup until today. Now all of a sudden it doesn't work. I've tried restoring the VM back to a snapshot from a couple days ago, and it still doesn't work.

    PD7 certainly seems to have been rushed. Few software companies can get a way with such shoddy QA... congrats to Parallels for pulling it off time and again.
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Bit poster

    Over this.

    Wasted at least 4-5 hrs

    1. Uninstalled Version 7 fully. ( as per )
    2. Reinstalled latest version ( ParallelsDesktop-7.0.14922.693916.dmg )
    3. Ran through the following instructions for the Guest Tools Removal (Windows 7 64 Enterprise):

    4. Removing the Registry entries and reinstalling while only 1 x Monitor connected seemed to be ok. Connecting two monitors ok. Third monitor connected caused coherence to drop out or as i did this more that once you would get WHITE OUT on any bars ( taskbar/startmenu ) and any windows opened. This was ALL done with out ANTIVIRUS Installed which i had removed.

    5. The one time i got it working ok seems to be ok until you drop out of coherence and attempt to connect again....causing same error message about not being able to start coherence.

    I had NONE of these issue in version 6.

    Problem occured when i updated to latest 7 version as far as i believe......since i can't find the previous download version i have not tried using the original 7 release but might endevour to do so if i feel sufficiently masochistic but not today.

    Try to roll back had the same issues so am not sure not if this was a recent apple update? or that i need to really go through and clean up everything again on the mac and registry and folder entries on the guest. AM OVER IT.....

    Having to work single window or in full screen mode till parallels admit that they have a BIG problem and bring out a release to fix this.

    I currently run a

    Mac Pro ( 2007 edition Dual 3Ghz Xeon)
    10Gb RAM
    1 x ATI Radeon HD 2600XT 256Mb
    1 x Nvidia 7300Gt
    Lion 10.7.1 (11B26)
    3 x HP 1955 monitors (1280x1024 on each)

    Windows 7 64bit Enterprise
    4Gb RAM
    512mb Video Memory.

    plenty of disk space on both.

    Guest is located on different disk to system.
  10. PaulS

    PaulS Bit poster

    After looking at Craig's post.

    I tried moving the window before entering coherence to my primary monitor.......walah!.....coherence is ok.

    Move it to the 2nd monitor on same!

    Move it to the 3rd monitor on OTHER card.....sucess......

    So problem seems to be parallels recognizing the extended monitor on same graphics cards.

    I would imagine if others try in the 4 monitor setups on their primary monitor for each card that coherence will work on these but not the monitors that are coming out of the 2nd DVI port on the card.

    Would be interested to see if this is the case?

  11. PaulS

    PaulS Bit poster

    Can we get a parallels support person to check this out and validate if this is the case?
  12. Craig Givant

    Craig Givant Member

    Hi Paul,

    Things have gotten kind of convoluted with my posts being in different threads but the bottom line is...wait for a fix from Parallels.

    I noticed these "issues" with Coherence first as that is my preferred method to run my windows applications. When it didn't work, I submitted a ticket and moved on to attempting to get my multi-monitors working so as to keep up with my workflow. When that didn't work, I submitted a second ticket. All in all I have well over 8 hours invested.

    The coherence issue is admitted, and is currently listed on the Known Issues page. I have tried ALL four of my monitors and coherence will not start on any of them.

    The multi-monitor issue has also been admitted by Parallels in this thread (5 posts up) but the last I checked is NOT listed as a known issue. I gave up awhile ago and suggest for your health and well being you do the same.

    I am giving Parallels the benefit of the doubt and have decided to wait until the next update before asking for a refund.
  13. walkerjian

    walkerjian Bit poster

    Hi, Ian here
    I am currently evaluating parallels for purchase. Like Craig and others I have had issues with full screening - the aforementioned issues with one VM - windows7 covering three monitors, and another issue where I want to have one VM per monitor full screened. That is - I want win7 full screened on my main (iMac) screen, Ubuntu on my asus 3d monitor, and another (2008 server) on my dell 2405. Or some combination thereof. The iMac is on the extreme right, the asus is in the middle, and the dell is on the extreme left, and is standing portrait instead of landscape. The dell is attached by a USB display adapter. So the combinatorics are quite nasty, yet virtualbox can do it... Parallels struggles and does not do a good enough job for a commercial solution. Hopefully the updates that will (soon?) appear will fix all issues with multiple displays and multiple VM's

    On a happy note - I can run my iMac and a windows box side by side using all the monitors with one kb and mouse using synergy. And the Vm's are generally very happy with the process, working seamlessly with one KB and mouse across multiple computers, monitors and VM's

  14. NateL

    NateL Bit poster

    Can someone from Parallels please provide an update on this issue?
  15. serv

    serv Forum Maven

    PD7 update is being published right now. Check for updates from Parallels Desktop menu.
  16. NateL

    NateL Bit poster

    The new build did not fix the issue for me. I upgraded to the new version, reinstalled Parallels Tools with only the primary monitor connected, and restarted. I entered Coherence. When I plugged in the secondary monitor, it immediately shot back to 'The configuration could not be applied, blah blah blah.'

    This is getting ridiculous...
  17. Michael C

    Michael C Bit poster

    Multi monitor in coherence

    Downloaded the latest update this morning. Using 3 monitors working in coherence now....
  18. NateL

    NateL Bit poster

    Just tried a restart of Windows and Mac OS X as well as a Tools reinstallation -- my Coherence still dies when I connect a second monitor. I'm going to try re-downloading the build and reinstalling Parallels.

    I also opened a ticket with a problem report upload referenced, in the event that I'm alone in still having this issue.
  19. serv

    serv Forum Maven

    Nate, could you also post report ID here, we'll look into it right away.
  20. NateL

    NateL Bit poster

    Hi Serv --

    The report ID is 10551500 and the support ticket is 1234261.

    I did re-download the new build and reinstalled, then also reinstalled Parallels Tools. Still instantly drops into windowed mode the moment a secondary display is attached. I quit all other running applications (including in the tray) in the hopes that it was some other conflict; no-go there either.


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