Bartels Media MaxiVista 1.0.17

Monitor Utility Review

First Published: Computer Power User
Date Published: September 2004
By Kevin Savetz
MaxiVista 1.0.17
Bartels Media
4.5 CPUs

Many notebooks include a video-out port that lets you attach an external monitor. With two screens you can enjoy the luxury of a huge Desktop workspace. MaxiVista adds a why-didn't-I-think-of-that corollary feature: It makes your notebook's screen act as a secondary monitor for another PC.

Just put a notebook running MaxiVista's viewer software on your desk. Then, run the server software on your desktop PC. Voila, the notebook acts like a second monitor for the desktop. If there are already two monitors connected to your desktop, the notebook acts as a third. In fact, if your notebook can drive an external monitor, MaxiVista can give you a three- or four-screen configuration. You can also flip the viewer screen's image upside down (useful for using a Tablet PC as the secondary screen) and arrange the relative screen positions using the Display Control Panel.

To run MaxiVista, the primary PC needs Windows 2000/2003/XP, while the viewer PC can be running Win98/NT4/Me/2000/2003/XP, which makes MaxiVista a great way to put an older notebook to good use. Both machines need to be connected to your LAN. For now, the program supports only one secondary PC.

The utility doesn't support hardware acceleration on the secondary screen, so it may not work well with fast-moving games. On rare occasions I noticed minor visual glitches when quickly dragging a window, but this was resolved immediately. My only other problem was when the Desktop went idle and returned to the Welcome screen, which caused MaxiVista's connection to the notebook to be lost. Disabling the Welcome screen after the screen saver kicked in resolved the issue.

MaxiVista costs $49.95. A free 30-day trial version is available for download. The program is a smart idea turned into a useful program. If you have a second system lying around, it's an inexpensive and flexible way to add elbowroom to your Windows Desktop without investing in a new monitor and video card.

Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.

Articles by Kevin Savetz