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  1. #1

    Default iMac with additional display

    I have a 24" iMac and a 17" display that I have brought across from my PC. I occasionally use the 17" as an additional display on my iMac, as I find it useful to display user guides on that display as I work with the relevant application on the main display. However, more often than not I have it turned off.

    One problem I am encountering is that casual users of my iMac who are unaware that there is a 2nd screen attached, but turned off, get confused when the mouse pointer is not on the iMac screen. On a single screen system, a quick shift of the mouse a cm or two in any direction makes the pointer obvious, but when located on the 2nd screen, you may have to move the mouse up to 6 or 7 cms to the left to get it to appear on the main screen.

    Is there any way to tell the iMac to not use the 2nd screen when it is attached so that the mouse pointer always remains on the main iMac screen? As I am the only one that uses the 2nd screen and then only rarely, it is no problem for me to quickly set a parameter each time I want to use or discontinue use of the 2nd screen. The only way I can do it at the moment is to physically disconnect the 2nd screen, but that is a hassle to have to do each time. I have tried to set it up to mirror (when the 2nd is not to be used) but that forces me to change resolutions and is also messy. Is there any way to do what I want with just a couple of clicks?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Sydney Metropolitan


    Unplug when not in use?

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by iPirate View Post
    Unplug when not in use?
    That doesn't work either. It assumes a second screen is attached if the Mini Display Port cable is plugged in to the iMac, even if it is not attached to anything at the other end. So as far as I can see, you must disconnect the adapter from the back of the iMac to tell it not to use a 2nd screen. Because access to the back of my iMac is limited, I want to avoid doing that.

    Another issue I discovered after I made the initial post is that if you do a screen capture (Shift - Command - 3), it captures 2 images each time, one for each screen, so long as the mini display port cable is attached at the iMac end. Not a big deal, but unwanted nonetheless.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Annandale, NSW


    Who would not want to use a second screen? Why don't you use a piece of software to locate the mouse? I use the simple and effective Mouse Locator.
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  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Japester View Post
    Who would not want to use a second screen? Why don't you use a piece of software to locate the mouse? I use the simple and effective Mouse Locator.
    I just occasionally need it, so it is mostly turned off to save power. Its just for those who infrequently use my computer that end up confused when the mouse pointer doesn't appear when they give the mouse a quick shake.

    It's something I can live with. I'm new to Mac and was hoping there might have been a setting I was unaware of that could be set to say not to use a 2nd screen even when connected. It seems there isn't. I'm not sure Mouse Locator would work in the case where the mouse pointer is on the switched off 2nd screen, but even if it did, it would be just as easy to tell the casual user how to get the pointer on to the main screen as it would be to use that program.

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