How to daisy chain multiple monitors on a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10

I finally decided to create my dream home office setup however it wasn’t without complications due to a strange limitation with the new Windows 10 display settings. I thought the idea of daisy chaining multiple displays on my Surface Pro 3 dock using the single DisplayPort was not going to be possible.

Let’s step back a few months. I recently upgraded to a Surface Pro 3 (SP3) and a dock to use when I’m working in my home office. I read from a few online sources that it was possible to connect multiple monitors to the SP3 through a single DisplayPort. This I thought was great, as I really dislike seeing lots of cables! While researching this subject I didn’t fund any specific reference any Dell U2913WM monitors and the SP3 happily working together. This post on the Surface blog was particularly helpful as it outlines the different ways multiple displays can be connected to the SP3. With this all this in mind, I filed DisplayPort Daisy Chaining to the back of my head to accompany my home office setup. Jump forward a couple of months and there’s no unboxing video of two 29″Dell (U2913WM) monitors but instead, a post to describe how I managed to set up two external displays with my Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10 via single DisplayPort and DisplayPort daisy chaining.

Here is a summary and sketch of how I’ve wired my Surface Pro 3 with two monitors:
– SP3 dock (mini DisplayPort out)
– Dell U2913WM #1 (DisplayPort in)
– Dell U2913WM #2 (Mini DisplayPort out from Primary to DisplayPort in)

Sketch of my Surface Pro 3 with two external displays
Sketch of my Surface Pro 3 with two external displays

I was pretty confident this would all be straight forward to set up, so much so I fixed the two monitors onto a vesa desk mount (more on this later) and carefully squirrelled all the cabling out of sight before I’d even switched them on, but who am I kidding! I docked the Surface Pro 3 only to find that two monitors would only allow me to duplicate them. For some reason, I just couldn’t get the new display settings menu on Windows 10 to allow me to run these as two separate displays even though it recognised them both.

Windows 10 Display Settings recognising three displays but only displaying two.
Windows 10 Display Settings recognising three displays but only displaying two.

After a little poking around, I discovered a setting (DisplayPort 1.2) in the control panel of the monitors. After enabling this, the displays all went blank for a moment while they reconfigured. But still no luck, I now had just one of the two external displays working, the other had no input.

Enabling Display Port 1.2 through the Dell U2913WM setting.
Enabling Display Port 1.2 through the Dell U2913WM setting.

This is the point I thought it just wasn’t going to work. I’d checked drivers. Restarted my SP3. Changed cables. Toggled Display Port 1.2 off and back on. As all techies would, I clicked around a fair bit. I found that from the new Windows 10 Display Settings screen, there were hits back to the old Control Panel. It was on this screen I noticed the winning link – Adjust resolution!

Enabling monitors on Windows 10.
Enabling monitors on Windows 10.

It was here I noticed that the third display was disabled. After enabling display, my SP3 was using all three displays! Excitement levels peaked at this point! It seems the new Windows 10 Display Settings screen does not display disconnected displays nor does it make it obvious to that you should use the Control Panel method. This is something I’ve shared with the Windows team via #WindowsInsider feedback and I hope is made easier in the future.

All three displays available.
All three displays available.

About that mount. I’m using a triple monitor vesa mount due to the sheer width of two 29″ monitors. The trick is not to use the middle mount that attaches to the upright bar but instead use the two side arms. The two monitors sit together perfectly with this mount! They’re sitting about 40cm high off the desk which gives me plenty of clearance underneath to use the physical desk space I have and at this height, I get support from the headrest on my high-backed chair.

One thing to note with this setup is that once DisplayPort 1.2 (DP 1.2) is enabled on either of the two monitors, the Dell Display Manager will not detect that display. The only way I’ve been able to get the tool working is to disable DisplayPort 1.2 on the secondary display. It’s a shame I can’t get the Display Manager tool to work as it is a really helpful tool to maximise on all the space the Dell U2913WM gives you. It allows you to easily snap windows to different areas of the display. I spent a short time researching the issue and it seems to be on Dell’s radar – not sure if this is specific to Windows 10 or DisplayPort 1.2 daisy-chained monitors or how soon it will be fixed but there was some guidance on the Dell Support forum.

Provide feedback directly to Microsoft about Office 365

I have just discovered that you can give feedback about your experiences using Office 365 directly to Microsoft using their online feedback form (http://msft.it/o365feedback) thanks to a Tweet from Jennifer Mason.

The Office 365 Twitter account shortly replied with a useful link to provide feedback.

It is a great tip for those working with Office 365, SharePoint Online and Yammer etc who want to pass on feedback to Microsoft about their experiences using Office 365.

SharePoint Site folders coming to SharePoint 2016

This post is part of SP14 Keynote highlights series where I provide some highlights of the next version of SharePoint. These highlights are from the SP24 Conference Keynote that Bill Baer delivered.

SharePoint Site Folders

How many occasions have you tried to access a document in SharePoint, but end up having to click through a long set of links to find it because you can’t remember the URL? OK, this is not an everyday issue, but we do use SharePoint to store documents and we use SharePoint sites to create contextual containers to store documents in. In someways, these SharePoint sites slow us down from accessing documents harder.

In the next version of SharePoint (SharePoint 2016) we might find a new method to access Document Libraries called Site Folders. Site Folders will provide a list of all Sites that we have access to that contain Document Libraries (a.k.a Site Folders or Site Libraries) and will be available from OneDrive for Business.

Site Folders coming to SharePoint 2016.
Site Folders coming to SharePoint 2016.

Users will be able to click-through into individual Sites from the Site Folders page to easily discover Document Libraries each site contains.

Libraries visible through the Site Folders area coming to SharePoint
Libraries visible through the new Site Folders area coming to SharePoint 2016.

I wonder how this will impact how with architect document management solutions. Search is becoming more and more powerful than we are shifting to an era where Information Architecture and Taxonomies become less relevant (or maybe more relevant behind the scenes), time will tell!

I have an idea what Microsoft is trying to do here, watch this space as I’ll provide my own mock-up with an example soon.

Discover more

Join me over the next year as I discover more news and information about the next version of SharePoint and Office 16 by following my #Office16 tag.