"Extend desktop onto display of another PC."
ZoneOS ZoneScreen is a program designed to extend your desktop display using multiple displays from other computers. This is quite a common feature that you can find in many software, but what similar programs don’t provide is the ability to connect the two devices wirelessly. With ZoneScreen you don’t need an adapter with dual-monitor support, but just a network over which the devices are connected. This way you can even extend your desktop’s display to your Mobile PC’s screen.
You can either download a ZIP archive that includes all core files and run the application portably, or download an MSI package which will install the program normally. It’s the same thing really, since you don’t make any special settings with the installer method thus you don’t miss out on anything if you use the portable version.
Supported operating systems are Windows 98 (client), 2000, Windows Mobile 2003 (client), XP, Vista and 7. It is noteworthy that there are compatibility issues with Windows 7 and certain configurations need to be made for a more stable use. For further information head over to http://www.zoneos.com/zonescreen.htm.
When you launch the program for the first time, the configuration wizard will appear and help you make some basic settings. Firstly, you will be asked to choose if you want to use this computer as a server (meaning it will be the main display which sends video signal) or a client (meaning the video signal will be received and shown). Then you have to pick a TCP port so that both the client and server can connect to each other (the same value has to be entered from both sides), as well as make a few configurations regarding the display (e.g. resolution). In the next and final step you have to choose the Frames per Second, which is the number of frames sent to the client in one second, and also set the Full copy rate. This option gives you the ability to select the n-th frame (where n is an integer from 0 to 10) to be sent as a full image copy, in contrast to the rest of the frames. So for example setting this to 6 will mean that each 6th frame will be sent as a full image copy. Setting that value to 0 will disable this feature.
After making all those configurations, click Start and the connection will be established.
If you want your computer to act as a client, then you won’t have to make all these settings. You only have to pick the same TCP port with the server and also enter the Server host name.
The ZoneScreen Wizard has all the basic configurations you need in order to connect to another display, especially when mirroring it. This is because mirroring it is a simple task that doesn’t need many tweaks. When you want to extend your display you can rely only on ZoneScreen Wizard, or you can use other kinds of image redirecting software instead, such as the modified TightVNC Server which is generally better and is compatible with ZoneScreen’s Driver update API. It can be found here on ZoneScreen’s website.
It’s also great that the connected displays don’t have to be computer monitors or notebook screens, but mobile PCs too. For instance you can connect to your PDA and have it show you valuable information transmitted from the computer, something very useful for network administrators.
There have been cases where Windows 7 users have trouble using the program. Fortunately in the product’s website the author states known problems with this OS and explains how they can be solved.
An alternative very similar to ZoneScreen is MaxiVista (paid). A big boost is given to MaxiVista since Mac and iPad users can use this program as well. Other alternatives include Synergy (free), Air Display (paid) and Multiplicity (paid).
This is a great application, and perhaps with a few bug fixes in later versions and more stable functionality in newer systems (Windows 7 and 8 specifically) it will certainly be a rare program for many uses.
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