Monday, 25 May 2015

Enabling an additional screen in a Qubes OS Windows HVM

Enabling an additional screen in a Qubes OS Windows HVM

I recently converted my work laptop over to using Qubes OS; an awesome OS based around the concept of using lightweight VMs to provide enhanced security.
Naturally I added a Windows VM using this handy guide to install and configure a working Windows 7 install so i could run Powerpoint.
Everything worked great until i connected an external monitor; naturally my Qubes desktop expanded to fill the new monitor but my Windows VM was still stuck with a single display window. This is great but i needed a second window so i could view my presentation notes when doing a talk using the built in view in Powerpoint.
At first I thought maybe I could enable this through the ".conf" file for VM but couldn't find any option to enable emulation of an additional screen.
I tried assigning the video adapter hardware to the running VM but all that did was disable my laptop screen.
However I had success configuring it directly in the Windows VM.


  1. Connect up your external monitor to your system - Dom0 should detect and extend your desktop to this display.
  2. Boot your Windows VM and open the device hardware pane. 
  3. Enable The "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter" and reboot the VM.
  4. Test that Powerpoint now detects your screen.
  5. Resize the new window through windows to make it usable
Now you should be able to read your presentation notes while talking!
I highly recommend you give Qubes a go as it's a great idea with lots of advantages when you need to run lots of different applications and OS's on a single computer.

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