How To Stop Game From Minimizing When Using a Second Screen

Total immersion is the standard by which many modern gamers rate their gaming experience, and a second monitor is a powerful tool to that end. However, many gamers are finding that their game window minimizes when they try to interact with the second monitor, ruining the immersion experience.

Fortunately, there are potential solutions that can permit gamers to freely interact with multiple monitors without minimizing the game window. 

Here’s how you can stop the game from minimizing when using a second screen:

  1. Use the game window settings.
  2. Use borderless windows.
  3. Use the taskbar settings.
  4. Utilize display extension settings.
  5. Check for system updates.
  6. Close applications running in the background. 
  7. Adjust the CPU priority.

Using these methods, you should be able to keep your screen up while interacting with a second screen. If these methods fail, seek out professional tech support or expert advice. 

gamer in front of a dual screen gaming computer

How To Keep Game From Minimizing When Using Second Screen

If you’re running the game on your first monitor and interact with an element of the second, say to change the music, it pulls the game out of full-screen mode.

While it may visually appear as two separate windows, being two individual monitors, the program won’t make that distinction without your assistance. 

There are several possible solutions to this issue, and most experienced gamers on the related forums assure that there are simple, effective fixes. 

1. Use the Game Window Settings

The game window settings are a good place to start troubleshooting if your game continues to minimize while using a secondary monitor. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the game window’s Settings
  2. Locate the Functions tab. 
  3. Select Prevent Window Deactivation from the “Window Management” portion of the menu. 
  4. Choose a key combination
  5. Save the changes. 
  6. Use the key combination to transfer freely between monitors. 

2. Use Borderless Windows

One way to solve this problem is by altering the type of window the game is displayed as. A borderless window is somewhat a halfway point between fullscreen and minimized.

By changing to the borderless window setting, gamers can keep the window up while interacting with the second screen. 

  1. In the Settings, turn on the game’s Borderless Window function. 
  2. Check the aspect ratio. If the aspect ratio was changed when you enabled the borderless window, be sure to change them back to what they were before. If the aspect ratio is off, the game will appear with incorrect proportions on the monitor. 
  3. Perform a couple of clicks on the second monitor once you’ve changed the borderless window and aspect ratio settings. Now the game window won’t minimize when using the second monitor. 
  4. Now that you can use the mouse on the second monitor, bring the mouse back to the first monitor or use Alt+Tab to switch back and forth between your primary and secondary monitors. 

Is Full-Screen Gaming Better Than Borderless Windows?

a game running in windowed mode on windows 10 desktop

Full-screen gaming is generally better than borderless windows, as most games run at peak performance in full-screen mode. But if the quality of play isn’t too greatly reduced by running the game in a borderless window, it lets players access other tools and applications while still in the game. 

Most PC games offer three options for window settings: full screen, windowed, and borderless window. 

  • Full screen. Full-screen mode is the best option if you’re only using one monitor or have no need to interact with the elements displayed on the second monitor during the course of the game. 
  • Windowed. Windowed mode reduces the size and, therefore, the performance of the game. It’s usually used when there’s only one monitor available and the player needs to interact with applications running in the background. 
  • Borderless windows. A hybrid between full-screen and windowed, borderless windows may cause some reduction in gameplay quality. However, most gamers say the difference is almost unnoticeable. The pros of being able to use a second monitor without minimizing the game compensates for any minor lagging or reduction in graphic quality. 

3. Use the Taskbar Settings

turn on show taskbar on multiple displays

One solution for game minimization on multiple monitors is to alter the settings of the taskbar. This is a simple solution but reported to be a pretty successful starting point for troubleshooting. 

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar to open settings.
  2. Locate the Show Taskbar On All Displays toggle switch—which should be near the bottom of the pop-up menu—and switch it on. 
  3. When it’s on, you can close the Taskbar settings and restart the game using both monitors. 

4. Utilize Display Extension Settings

Here’s the step-by-step process to fixing the game window minimizing problem using Display Extension settings. 

  1. Shut down the game if it’s running.
  2. Under Settings, locate System.
  3. Under System, choose Display.
  4. Locate the Multiple Displays option. 
  5. Allow your device to identify both monitors. 
  6. In the drop-down menu, select the option to Extend These Displays
  7. Save the setting changes. 
  8. Start or restart the game. 

If none of the solutions so far have solved the issue, there are a few other things that you can try.

If the problem is being caused by something unrelated to the game–such as a system update, for example–then the symptoms will continue in spite of your attempts. 

5. Check for System Updates

windows 10 update window

Sometimes the source of the issue can be the device’s operating system. This is especially the case when gamers are using Windows 10.

If you’ve tried the other solutions and are still experiencing the same difficulty, check your system for pending updates.  

If you’re using Windows 10, you can check for updates in the Settings app:

  1. Open Settings, which can be accessed with Windows key+I.
  2. Click on Update & Security
  3. From there, select the Check for Updates option. 
  4. If there are updates available, install them before running the game again. 

6. Close Applications Running in the Background

If there are applications running in the background, they consume vital processing power. This might cause the computer to minimize the window as it reprioritizes its tasks.

This is especially common if your computer isn’t solely used for gaming. 

If you’re someone who uses their computer for work or school on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget that there are other applications running in the background. 

In order to maximize your game’s performance, only run the minimum required programs outside of the game. 

7. Adjust the CPU Priority 

How To Stop Game From Minimizing When Using a Second Screen 1

You can also keep the device from prioritizing the processing power away from the game by adjusting the CPU priority in the settings.

This overrides the computer’s standard prioritization pattern and allows the game to continue processing at the same rate. 

To adjust the CPU priority, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the game program. 
  2. Minimize the window using Alt+Tab or Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  3. Open the Task Manager and locate Details in the menu. 
  4. Right-click on the game program to open the options menu. 
  5. Select Set priority, which should be located near the top of the menu. 
  6. In the pop-out menu, change the priority from Normal to High
  7. Save your changes and return to the game. 

However, this may cause applications in the background to close as the computer routes priority to the game’s program.

Make sure that you’ve saved your work and closed whatever is necessary before altering the CPU priority. 

Does Using Additional Monitors Reduce the FPS? 

Using additional monitors won’t impact visual quality negatively or reduce the FPS of the game. In spite of the extra pixels that must be delivered to a secondary monitor, a properly functioning graphics card will still be able to provide both screens with sufficient pixels to keep the game running smoothly. 

When there are other programs or visuals running on the other screen, however, players may begin to notice a reduction in clarity and smoothness of gameplay. 

Reducing the applications running in the background and flagging the game’s processor as high-priority for the CPU will help keep up the FPS as well. 

Do Dual Monitors Require More CPU?

Technically, dual monitors require slightly more CPU. However, the effects on performance should be minimal and probably won’t even be noticeable by most users. It requires roughly the same amount of CPU as it would take to run a basic program in the background of your primary monitor. 

If you’re running high-volume media on both monitors, however, the difference in CPU requirement may become visible. This may result in a reduction in performance. 

How To Fix Problems With the FPS

Even though it might not be caused by the additional monitor, lagging is a serious problem for gamers. There are a number of other elements that can cause the game to lag, such as:

  • Unmet system requirements
  • Overloaded servers
  • Your connection to the internet

If you’re experiencing heavy lag in a game and cannot identify the issue:

  • The easiest way to start is by checking your Wi-Fi. If the Wi-Fi is connected and strong, it may be that the game server is simply overcrowded. If this is the case, unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done. Diagnosing some network related problems might help.
  • If your Wi-Fi and the game server aren’t the problems, the next thing to check is the GPU driver. If you’ve recently updated your graphics card’s drivers, returning to the previous version can often help reduce stuttering lag in gameplay. If you are using the latest driver, it may be time to replace your graphics card.
  • Overheating can also cause games to lag. Improve airflow or employ cooling software to keep your device running cool and at peak graphic quality. 
  • If all else fails and the lag makes the game unenjoyable, there’s always the option of uninstalling and reinstalling the game. Sometimes the “try turning it off and back on” method is all it takes to kick the system back into peak performance. 

How Do I Move the Mouse Between Monitors?

To move the mouse between monitors, use display settings to ensure the monitors are oriented properly. Reorient the monitor via settings if needed, or move the monitor to a new position to match the configured orientation.

If your monitors are properly set up, the cursor ought to move smoothly from one to the other, just as if it were moving from the right side of the screen to the left. If there’s an issue:

  • Try checking the display settings. In the display settings, you should be able to view how the computer thinks the monitors are set up. If the monitors aren’t physically oriented in the same way the computer has rendered them, this can cause problems when it comes to moving the cursor between monitors. 
  • Either reorient the monitor configuration in the display settings or physically move the monitors to match their orientation. This will allow the cursor to transfer smoothly between monitors. 

Can I Run the Game in Full-Screen Mode on Both Monitors?

You can set your game window to span across both monitors. This is an appealing option for gamers seeking full immersion, as devices can be linked together to create a broader scope of visual engagement. 

In order to spread your window across multiple monitors:

  1. Locate Window in the upper righthand corner of the game window. 
  2. From there, choose Enter Full Screen
  3. If you want to keep one monitor as your desktop, choose Use Single Display in Full Screen

Can I Move the Full-Screen Game Window to the Second Monitor?

You can move the full-screen game window to the second monitor. To effectively swap the game from your primary to your secondary monitor, there are two ways to do this, including Projector Mode and switching primary and secondary monitors.

Projector Mode

In order to play a game in projector mode:

  1. Launch the game. 
  2. Call up the menu from your desktop by pressing Windows key+P
  3. From that menu, choose PC Screen Only

This should cause the screen of your primary monitor to go blank, and the same display should appear “projected” on the secondary monitor.

While this achieves the desired product–the game is playable and viewable on the second monitor–it still prevents the player from using the first screen. 

Switch Primary and Secondary Monitors

After you’ve properly connected your secondary monitor to the PC:

  1. Press the Windows key to summon the menu. 
  2. Locate and select Display Settings.
  3. From there, choose the Identify option to see how the monitors are marked.
  4. Choose your preferred monitor and select. 
  5. Once this is done, locate and select Multiple Display. This should summon an option box titled Make This My Main Display.
  6. Confirm the action by checking the box, and the computer will swap its identification of your primary and secondary monitors. 

Conclusion

Many gamers have been inconvenienced by their game window minimizing while they’re using multiple monitors. Fortunately, the solution should be relatively simple. 

The easiest way to solve this problem is by preventing window deactivation in the program settings.

If this doesn’t work, however, there are other options you can try before contacting professional tech support, including toggling the taskbar settings, extended display, borderless window, or CPU priority.