Added second monitor, won't to know how to shut off the built in monitor


A

Andy

I hooked up another monitor that is larger to my laptop.

I would like to turn off the display that is built in.

I looked under settings, but it doesn't show the 2nd monitor that is present.

Each screen shows the same windows etc.

I hooked it up using the connection that has 9 pins.

It also has a USB port. Not sure if that is in or out.

When I changed resolutions on the laptop, the other monitor screen got smaller.

i.e. Did not fill the screen like my laptop.

Hope that made sense.

Andy
 
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P

Paul

Andy said:
I hooked up another monitor that is larger to my laptop.

I would like to turn off the display that is built in.

I looked under settings, but it doesn't show the 2nd monitor that is present.

Each screen shows the same windows etc.

I hooked it up using the connection that has 9 pins.

It also has a USB port. Not sure if that is in or out.

When I changed resolutions on the laptop, the other monitor screen got smaller.

i.e. Did not fill the screen like my laptop.

Hope that made sense.

Andy

Check your documentation for the laptop.

Usually, a function key like F5, changes video configuration
when an external monitor is connected. Repeatedly using
that "toggle key", whatever it is, walks through a series
of video modes. One of the modes will be "internal screen disabled,
external screen enabled". Something like that. It might not
be F5 alone, it might be combined with some other key.

As for screwing with the Display resolution setting, I would be
careful not to get too carried away just yet. If you somehow
set the resolution high, for the external monitor, then unplug
the monitor, the laptop could try to drive the internal screen
at that resolution later. I don't know all the rules, for
this "toggle screen" world, versus the normal "changing stuff
from Display control panel" thing. I just want you to be aware,
that the laptop (with no external monitor connected), *could*
end up with a black screen, and no amount of F5 toggling might
fix it.

If that happens, you can try Safe Mode. But exactly what
you'd do there, is unclear. The registry carries resolution
information, but a previous investigation showed the storage
of that kind of thing, isn't "regular" enough for me to understand.
The guy who wrote MonInfo at entechtaiwan.com probably knows though.
I'm not able to trace this stuff down, on demand. I get lost in
there.

If you set a System Restore point, before screwing around,
and get stuck with a black screen on the laptop by itself,
then restoring via System Restore to a previous time, would
correct the Registry. But that's not a smart or effective
way to manage a computer - it's downright stupid. As restoring
a System Restore point from Safe Mode, has no undo capability,
and you could end up with more damage to your personal files,
than you started with. System Restore in Normal boot mode,
has an undo option, but then of course, you can't see the
screen to be doing that.

So what I'd do is:

1) Before modifying my display settings, set a System Restore point,
using appropriate comment text like "I'm about to screw up
my Display".
2) Do your F5 experiments. With internal disabled, external enabled,
set the resolution as you like.
3) Now, shut down, disconnect the external (higher resolution) monitor.
4) Reboot. If you cannot see the screen, reboot again, pressing
F8 to enter Safe Mode. Look for the details of using "rstrui.exe"
to work the System Restore stuff. That is a way to put back
your registry settings captured in step (1).

(Mention of rstrui.exe ...)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304449

Doing it that way, an immediate System Restore, isn't too dangerous.
What would be bad, is screwing up the resolution setting, and only
having a single valid system Restore which is three months old. Using
the three month old ones, is not a good idea in my mind. Too much risk.
Whereas, using the one you just set ten minutes ago, is low risk.

Paul
 
A

Andy

Check your documentation for the laptop.



Usually, a function key like F5, changes video configuration

when an external monitor is connected. Repeatedly using

that "toggle key", whatever it is, walks through a series

of video modes. One of the modes will be "internal screen disabled,

external screen enabled". Something like that. It might not

be F5 alone, it might be combined with some other key.



As for screwing with the Display resolution setting, I would be

careful not to get too carried away just yet. If you somehow

set the resolution high, for the external monitor, then unplug

the monitor, the laptop could try to drive the internal screen

at that resolution later. I don't know all the rules, for

this "toggle screen" world, versus the normal "changing stuff

from Display control panel" thing. I just want you to be aware,

that the laptop (with no external monitor connected), *could*

end up with a black screen, and no amount of F5 toggling might

fix it.



If that happens, you can try Safe Mode. But exactly what

you'd do there, is unclear. The registry carries resolution

information, but a previous investigation showed the storage

of that kind of thing, isn't "regular" enough for me to understand.

The guy who wrote MonInfo at entechtaiwan.com probably knows though.

I'm not able to trace this stuff down, on demand. I get lost in

there.



If you set a System Restore point, before screwing around,

and get stuck with a black screen on the laptop by itself,

then restoring via System Restore to a previous time, would

correct the Registry. But that's not a smart or effective

way to manage a computer - it's downright stupid. As restoring

a System Restore point from Safe Mode, has no undo capability,

and you could end up with more damage to your personal files,

than you started with. System Restore in Normal boot mode,

has an undo option, but then of course, you can't see the

screen to be doing that.



So what I'd do is:



1) Before modifying my display settings, set a System Restore point,

using appropriate comment text like "I'm about to screw up

my Display".

2) Do your F5 experiments. With internal disabled, external enabled,

set the resolution as you like.

3) Now, shut down, disconnect the external (higher resolution) monitor.

4) Reboot. If you cannot see the screen, reboot again, pressing

F8 to enter Safe Mode. Look for the details of using "rstrui.exe"

to work the System Restore stuff. That is a way to put back

your registry settings captured in step (1).



(Mention of rstrui.exe ...)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304449



Doing it that way, an immediate System Restore, isn't too dangerous.

What would be bad, is screwing up the resolution setting, and only

having a single valid system Restore which is three months old. Using

the three month old ones, is not a good idea in my mind. Too much risk.

Whereas, using the one you just set ten minutes ago, is low risk.



Paul

Paul,

This will be a little long. :)

I use Erunt and a image backup program.

I hear you about being careful.

< Lenovo has the leading position in the fastest growing market in the world.
< Their acquisition of IBM's PC business makes them the third largest PC
< supplier in the world.

Lenovo decided to build laptops with so call "security features."

I helped my daughter repair her IBM computer and during the process, I made an admin account in the BIOS.

I forgot the password, so I could not get into Windows.

So I did what I have done with other computers and disconnected both batteries.

No luck, so I called Lenovo.

I will shorten the story.

After months of LENOVO making excuses, having me take apart the computer, \
part by part and giving them part numbers.

They sent me a box to return the computer which I did.

They could not fix it.

They mailed my daughter a new computer.

So I decided that I would never buy a Lenovo/IBM computer.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Andy
 
P

Paul

Andy said:
Paul,

This will be a little long. :)

I use Erunt and a image backup program.

I hear you about being careful.

< Lenovo has the leading position in the fastest growing market in the world.
< Their acquisition of IBM's PC business makes them the third largest PC
< supplier in the world.

Lenovo decided to build laptops with so call "security features."

I helped my daughter repair her IBM computer and during the process, I made an admin account in the BIOS.

I forgot the password, so I could not get into Windows.

So I did what I have done with other computers and disconnected both batteries.

No luck, so I called Lenovo.

I will shorten the story.

After months of LENOVO making excuses, having me take apart the computer, \
part by part and giving them part numbers.

They sent me a box to return the computer which I did.

They could not fix it.

They mailed my daughter a new computer.

So I decided that I would never buy a Lenovo/IBM computer.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Andy

On low security computers, the password is stored in CMOS RAM.
Pulling the CR2032 CMOS battery is sufficient to reset the password.

On high security computers, they use a 2K EEPROM. There is still
the CMOS RAM, like before, but it doesn't store the password.
Pulling the battery, only loses the boot order, and other BIOS
settings. The actual passwords are stored in the 2KB EEPROM.

The factory is supposed to have an EEPROM programmer, for resetting
the 2KB EEPROM.

A guy in Eastern Europe, used to sell a kit for home users
to reset their password. He used to charge $50, but has given up,
and some info is available for free (you do the hard work yourself).
It involved making electrical connections to the chip. A serial
dongle communicates with the chip, providing SDA and SCLK (Serial
data and clock). What's supposed to happen, when you send back
a laptop, is they use a programmer to reset the 2KB chip.

So overwriting that chip, is a means to clear passwords.

Paul
 
A

Andy

On low security computers, the password is stored in CMOS RAM.

Pulling the CR2032 CMOS battery is sufficient to reset the password.



On high security computers, they use a 2K EEPROM. There is still

the CMOS RAM, like before, but it doesn't store the password.

Pulling the battery, only loses the boot order, and other BIOS

settings. The actual passwords are stored in the 2KB EEPROM.



The factory is supposed to have an EEPROM programmer, for resetting

the 2KB EEPROM.



A guy in Eastern Europe, used to sell a kit for home users

to reset their password. He used to charge $50, but has given up,

and some info is available for free (you do the hard work yourself).

It involved making electrical connections to the chip. A serial

dongle communicates with the chip, providing SDA and SCLK (Serial

data and clock). What's supposed to happen, when you send back

a laptop, is they use a programmer to reset the 2KB chip.



So overwriting that chip, is a means to clear passwords.



Paul

Paul,

You might have missed my point.

I will make it simple.

Say you go to Kroger or H.E.B. to buy some groceries.

You are their customer.

Without you, they would NOT be in business.

You go into their store and they tell you that they want $300.00 before you can go in.

What would you do ?

Andy

Defending evil companies is wrong.
 
P

Paul

Andy said:
Paul,

You might have missed my point.

I will make it simple.

Say you go to Kroger or H.E.B. to buy some groceries.

You are their customer.

Without you, they would NOT be in business.

You go into their store and they tell you that they want $300.00 before you can go in.

What would you do ?

Andy

Defending evil companies is wrong.

I didn't defend a practice. I explained how it
works from a technical viewpoint. What I don't understand, is
from a security viewpoint, how what they did is helping.
It seems an unnecessary implementation. (All a laptop really
needs is Full Disk Encryption to secure the content.)

Laptops are a bad deal. At least a few users know
that, that any repair is "$200 to look at it",
every repair is "replace motherboard", the lithium battery
won't last past the warranty date, and so on.

Yet, people still buy them.

The most practical solution, is to build your own computer.
All you need is a screwdriver, and you can have any feature
you want in a desktop. Just not portability or small size.
And like repairing a Ford, versus servicing an import car,
if you have problems, it's easier to repair a home-built
computer. The system is more open to swapping things out,
not physically restricted like a laptop is.

As for the security feature in question, frequently that
one is addressed in the user/tech manuals for the laptop.
And if you download them and read all of them, you may
see that warning of "password can only be reset by factory".
Whereas, all my home-built computers, pulling the CMOS battery
resets any BIOS level password.

You will see amazing things in some of those manuals. Like
the computer that was for sale, where you couldn't add
disk drives to the computer, unless the disks were "tattooed"
(even data-only disks). The users were really pissed about that,
because it made adding drives almost impossible. And that was
one of the big companies that did it. That scheme didn't last
more than one generation.

Paul
 
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A

Andy

Andy wrote:






I didn't defend a practice. I explained how it

works from a technical viewpoint. What I don't understand, is

from a security viewpoint, how what they did is helping.

It seems an unnecessary implementation. (All a laptop really

needs is Full Disk Encryption to secure the content.)



Laptops are a bad deal. At least a few users know

that, that any repair is "$200 to look at it",

every repair is "replace motherboard", the lithium battery

won't last past the warranty date, and so on.



Yet, people still buy them.



The most practical solution, is to build your own computer.

All you need is a screwdriver, and you can have any feature

you want in a desktop. Just not portability or small size.

And like repairing a Ford, versus servicing an import car,

if you have problems, it's easier to repair a home-built

computer. The system is more open to swapping things out,

not physically restricted like a laptop is.



As for the security feature in question, frequently that

one is addressed in the user/tech manuals for the laptop.

And if you download them and read all of them, you may

see that warning of "password can only be reset by factory".

Whereas, all my home-built computers, pulling the CMOS battery

resets any BIOS level password.



You will see amazing things in some of those manuals. Like

the computer that was for sale, where you couldn't add

disk drives to the computer, unless the disks were "tattooed"

(even data-only disks). The users were really pissed about that,

because it made adding drives almost impossible. And that was

one of the big companies that did it. That scheme didn't last

more than one generation.



Paul

My h.p. laptop was a gift.

I have to say, since it is 4 years old, that's not a bad life.

I put a custom coolor under it that lowers CPU and hard drive temperatures by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

I decided to do that when the laptop temp baked off the finish on a wood table.

Andy
 
A

Andy

My h.p. laptop was a gift.



I have to say, since it is 4 years old, that's not a bad life.



I put a custom coolor under it that lowers CPU and hard drive temperatures by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit.



I decided to do that when the laptop temp baked off the finish on a wood table.



Andy

Lenovo's reason for what they do with their bios password un-retrievability is in case your laptop is stolen.

I told an exec, "Is that your story and you are sticking to it. ?"

But for $80, you can buy a device that will reset it .

????
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

[QUOTE="Paul said:
I hooked up another monitor that is larger to my laptop.
I would like to turn off the display that is built in.
I looked under settings, but it doesn't show the 2nd monitor that is
present.
[/QUOTE]

That is because settings showing two monitors is for when you can use
the two together, and have different things on each (to make a larger
desktop as it were). In the case of a lot of laptops, you can use an
external monitor, but it can only show the same as the built-in one - in
other words as far as the computer is concerned, there's only one
display, though it may be shown on two screens at once.

Really? That would be a serial port! I suspect you mean the connector
that has the same connector shell size and shape as a 9 pin serial port
(as used to be commonly used for mice a long time ago); if you look
inside it, you'll find it actually has 15 pins/holes (some of the pins
may not be there on the plug). Usually known colloquially as a VGA
connector, and often dark blue (the plastic insert, and sometimes
plastic plug body, that is).

Interesting, a USB port on a monitor! You could experiment by plugging
something that only takes power - say, a lamp or cooler - into it and
seeing if the lamp lights.
Check your documentation for the laptop.

Usually, a function key like F5, changes video configuration
when an external monitor is connected. Repeatedly using
that "toggle key", whatever it is, walks through a series
of video modes. One of the modes will be "internal screen disabled,
external screen enabled". Something like that. It might not
be F5 alone, it might be combined with some other key.

I think it usually is combined with the Fn key. (On here it's F4.) The
relevant key on the keyboard, as well as saying F4 (or whatever) in
white, will have on it - in the same colour as the "Fn" on the function
key - some symbols that you will realise are to do with monitors, once
you think about them. (On mine it shows what looks like a desktop PC, a
vertical line |, and a rounded-edge screen shape.) If you play with it
without the external monitor connected, don't forget which key it is, or
you may turn off the display and not be able to see what you're doing!
On a lot of laptops they detect whether an external monitor is connected
and if not, won't let you turn off the internal, but not in all cases I
think, and also I think this check is only performed at boot and/or when
you use the toggle key, so if you unplug the external one while it is
the only one, it may leave you in the dark. (Also if you leave it
plugged in but turned off.)

Another thing I was going to say when I saw "I would like to turn off
the display that is built in" was try just shutting the lid; however,
that often puts the machine into standby - but that's a setting: in
Power Options in control panel, "When I close the lid of my portable
computer" can be set to do nothing, stand by, or hibernate. Obviously
you'd set it to do nothing. I can't see a setting there for what to do
with the internal display, but I think you'll find that goes off when
you shut the lid regardless of that setting, to prolong the life of the
backlight tube and prevent overheating.

(It then occurred to me you'd only want to investigate this option if
you've got an external keyboard! But if you're using an external monitor
[a bigger one, as you say], you've already reduced the portability of
the unit, so an external keyboard may be nice to have anyway, at least
for use when you're using the external monitor. Keyboards are
ridiculously cheap.)
As for screwing with the Display resolution setting, I would be
careful not to get too carried away just yet. If you somehow
set the resolution high, for the external monitor, then unplug
the monitor, the laptop could try to drive the internal screen
at that resolution later. I don't know all the rules, for
this "toggle screen" world, versus the normal "changing stuff
from Display control panel" thing. I just want you to be aware,
that the laptop (with no external monitor connected), *could*
end up with a black screen, and no amount of F5 toggling might
fix it.

Good thinking Batman. I don't _think_ most laptops will try to drive the
internal display with a resolution mode it won't support, at least after
a restart with the external one unplugged, but it'd be a good idea to
avoid getting into that situation as Paul describes!
[]
1) Before modifying my display settings, set a System Restore point,
using appropriate comment text like "I'm about to screw up
my Display".
(-:
[]
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, Andy
My h.p. laptop was a gift.

I have to say, since it is 4 years old, that's not a bad life.

For a gift, indeed; I'd be a bit peeved if something I'd bought didn't
last longer than that, mind. (My Windows 98 laptop machine - which,
since it doesn't actually have Windows keys on the keyboard [though has
been configured to have that function on the four special keys above the
keyboard], I presume actually precedes '95 - is still fine though!)
I put a custom coolor under it that lowers CPU and hard drive
temperatures by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

At first I was puzzled about how changing the colour could have any
effect, but then the penny dropped. I bet it's powered from one of the
USB sockets, mind!
I decided to do that when the laptop temp baked off the finish on a wood table.

Andy

The bottom left of this (Samsung NC-20) sometimes gets painfully hot on
my thigh, too. It's worth checking whether the air slots (probably in at
back and out at side, or vice versa) are full of fluff. (Also don't rest
on anything soft/pliable, like carpet, tablecloth, or your legs, as this
can block any vents underneath: it said that in the manual, but we all
forget that ...) Probably safest to do with the machine off (certainly
if you're going to poke rather than suck), though if done with it on,
you should hear the internal fan suddenly sound a lot happier. I did it
by sucking with my mouth - I figured safer than using anything external,
but you do get a mouthful of unpleasant fluff. (I'd heard that the
nozzle of some vacuum cleaners can get quite dangerously static
charged.) One of those little vacuums designed for cleaning keyboards
etc. should be safe enough, though I suspect might not have enough oomph
to dislodge years' worth of fluff etcetera.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)[email protected]+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

No matter how beautiful a girl is, no matter how much you might love her,
squeeze her tight enough and she'll fart - Joe Barron, quoted by son Fred ("My
Family" creator), RT, 15-21 March 2003
 
A

Andy

Paul <[email protected]> said:
Andy wrote:



That is because settings showing two monitors is for when you can use

the two together, and have different things on each (to make a larger

desktop as it were). In the case of a lot of laptops, you can use an

external monitor, but it can only show the same as the built-in one - in

other words as far as the computer is concerned, there's only one

display, though it may be shown on two screens at once.





Really? That would be a serial port! I suspect you mean the connector

that has the same connector shell size and shape as a 9 pin serial port

(as used to be commonly used for mice a long time ago); if you look

inside it, you'll find it actually has 15 pins/holes (some of the pins

may not be there on the plug). Usually known colloquially as a VGA

connector, and often dark blue (the plastic insert, and sometimes

plastic plug body, that is).





Interesting, a USB port on a monitor! You could experiment by plugging

something that only takes power - say, a lamp or cooler - into it and

seeing if the lamp lights.


Check your documentation for the laptop.

Usually, a function key like F5, changes video configuration
when an external monitor is connected. Repeatedly using
that "toggle key", whatever it is, walks through a series
of video modes. One of the modes will be "internal screen disabled,
external screen enabled". Something like that. It might not
be F5 alone, it might be combined with some other key.



I think it usually is combined with the Fn key. (On here it's F4.) The

relevant key on the keyboard, as well as saying F4 (or whatever) in

white, will have on it - in the same colour as the "Fn" on the function

key - some symbols that you will realise are to do with monitors, once

you think about them. (On mine it shows what looks like a desktop PC, a

vertical line |, and a rounded-edge screen shape.) If you play with it

without the external monitor connected, don't forget which key it is, or

you may turn off the display and not be able to see what you're doing!

On a lot of laptops they detect whether an external monitor is connected

and if not, won't let you turn off the internal, but not in all cases I

think, and also I think this check is only performed at boot and/or when

you use the toggle key, so if you unplug the external one while it is

the only one, it may leave you in the dark. (Also if you leave it

plugged in but turned off.)



Another thing I was going to say when I saw "I would like to turn off

the display that is built in" was try just shutting the lid; however,

that often puts the machine into standby - but that's a setting: in

Power Options in control panel, "When I close the lid of my portable

computer" can be set to do nothing, stand by, or hibernate. Obviously

you'd set it to do nothing. I can't see a setting there for what to do

with the internal display, but I think you'll find that goes off when

you shut the lid regardless of that setting, to prolong the life of the

backlight tube and prevent overheating.



(It then occurred to me you'd only want to investigate this option if

you've got an external keyboard! But if you're using an external monitor

[a bigger one, as you say], you've already reduced the portability of

the unit, so an external keyboard may be nice to have anyway, at least

for use when you're using the external monitor. Keyboards are

ridiculously cheap.)
As for screwing with the Display resolution setting, I would be
careful not to get too carried away just yet. If you somehow
set the resolution high, for the external monitor, then unplug
the monitor, the laptop could try to drive the internal screen
at that resolution later. I don't know all the rules, for
this "toggle screen" world, versus the normal "changing stuff
from Display control panel" thing. I just want you to be aware,
that the laptop (with no external monitor connected), *could*
end up with a black screen, and no amount of F5 toggling might



Good thinking Batman. I don't _think_ most laptops will try to drive the

internal display with a resolution mode it won't support, at least after

a restart with the external one unplugged, but it'd be a good idea to

avoid getting into that situation as Paul describes!

[]
1) Before modifying my display settings, set a System Restore point,
using appropriate comment text like "I'm about to screw up
my Display".

(-:

[]

--

J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)[email protected]+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf



no good deed goes unpunished. This is an iron-clad rule in Netiquette.

The idea for an external keyboard sounds good.

I have a "male" port with 9 pins available and a USB port.

My built in keyboard does not have a numeric keypad which is nice instead of the finger contortions necessary to print an extended ASCII character.
 
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A

Andy

In message <[email protected]>, Andy


[]
My h.p. laptop was a gift.

I have to say, since it is 4 years old, that's not a bad life.



For a gift, indeed; I'd be a bit peeved if something I'd bought didn't

last longer than that, mind. (My Windows 98 laptop machine - which,

since it doesn't actually have Windows keys on the keyboard [though has

been configured to have that function on the four special keys above the

keyboard], I presume actually precedes '95 - is still fine though!)
I put a custom coolor under it that lowers CPU and hard drive
temperatures by about 15 degrees Fahrenheit.



At first I was puzzled about how changing the colour could have any

effect, but then the penny dropped. I bet it's powered from one of the

USB sockets, mind!
I decided to do that when the laptop temp baked off the finish on a wood table.

Andy



The bottom left of this (Samsung NC-20) sometimes gets painfully hot on

my thigh, too. It's worth checking whether the air slots (probably in at

back and out at side, or vice versa) are full of fluff. (Also don't rest

on anything soft/pliable, like carpet, tablecloth, or your legs, as this

can block any vents underneath: it said that in the manual, but we all

forget that ...) Probably safest to do with the machine off (certainly

if you're going to poke rather than suck), though if done with it on,

you should hear the internal fan suddenly sound a lot happier. I did it

by sucking with my mouth - I figured safer than using anything external,

but you do get a mouthful of unpleasant fluff. (I'd heard that the

nozzle of some vacuum cleaners can get quite dangerously static

charged.) One of those little vacuums designed for cleaning keyboards

etc. should be safe enough, though I suspect might not have enough oomph

to dislodge years' worth of fluff etcetera.

--

J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)[email protected]+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf



No matter how beautiful a girl is, no matter how much you might love her,

squeeze her tight enough and she'll fart - Joe Barron, quoted by son Fred ("My

Family" creator), RT, 15-21 March 2003

I used someone's idea for helping the laptops cooling fan.

The intake vents on most every laptop are way too small.

I located the fan and very carefully drilled 3 holes between the blades from the inside. I used a 1/16 inch bit.

Key words are carefully and slowly. :)

Then I enlarged the holes a little, cleaned up the plastic shavings.

Outta here.

Andy
 
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J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

[125 lines snipped; _please_ try to snip the bits that aren't related to
what you're adding!]
Another thing I was going to say when I saw "I would like to turn off

the display that is built in" was try just shutting the lid; however,
[16]
(It then occurred to me you'd only want to investigate this option if

you've got an external keyboard! But if you're using an external monitor

[a bigger one, as you say], you've already reduced the portability of

the unit, so an external keyboard may be nice to have anyway, at least

for use when you're using the external monitor. Keyboards are

ridiculously cheap.)

[another54 lines]
The idea for an external keyboard sounds good.

I have a "male" port with 9 pins available and a USB port.

You'll need to use the USB port; you won't find a serial keyboard these
days! (I'm not sure if they _ever_ existed, for PCs anyway.) If you've
only got one USB port, you may want to get a hub - an unpowered one
(should be available from your local poundshop or equivalent!) might
suffice depending on what else you want to plug in; a keyboard doesn't
take much.
My built in keyboard does not have a numeric keypad which is nice
instead of the finger contortions necessary to print an extended ASCII
character.

I know what you mean: I've more or less given up on using the
pseudo-numericpad. I use instead, when I'm on the laptop, either Diacrit
(http://www.sandrila.co.uk/diacrit/) or ShortKeys Lite
(http://www.shortkeys.com/lite.htm). (Diacrit provides preselected
subsets of characters for lots of languages, including Maths and some
other non-languages; SKL lets you predefine certain sequences, so for
example if I type deg a little popup appears [it just did of course when
I typed that!] offering to substitute ° [hitting Esc stops the
substitution]. SKL also allows longer strings, so if I type [email protected] it offers
to substitute (e-mail address removed), for example.)
 

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