TLDR: Updating to Windows 8.1 and reinstalling solved the problem.
(And yes, I realize that I just wrote an UpWorthy-worthy post title!)
I recently replaced my 19” monitors with a pair of 27” monitors. My desktop is a Dell Optiplex and it has an AMD HD Radeon 7500 display adapter installed. This came with the Dell and is not an off-the-shelf card, but something that AMD sells generically to manufacturers.
My monitor has HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. My adapter has DisplayPort and DVI inputs. I plugged one monitor DP to DP. It was fine. For some reason, I got an HDMI to DVI adapter instead of a DisplayPort to DVI and when I plugged the second monitor in from the HDMI output, I got what is a classic problem with HDMI monitors: a 1” black border around my desktop window.
I tried many things via windows settings but none did the trick. The monitor has lots of hardware settings but it doesn’t have the classic Horizontal and Vertical scaling option that I’m used to from older monitors.
So I went to the internet and found many (many many many) recommendations on the web to just install AMD’s catalyst control center and then use it’s features to change the scaling on the monitor and lose the border.
Obviously this was the way to go. But after 4 hours of attempting to install the CCC software, I got bupkus. The installer went through the motions of installing but I did not get the CCC menu option on the desktop context menu. This is what it should look like:
I went through uninstalls, reinstalls, registry purges (based on AMD guidance), installing beta software. Still nothing.
Then I dug into the install folder created by the installer (C:\AMD) and dug through sub folders running all of the installers I could find! (Yes I know…dangerous and potential for having to repave my machine).
This finally installed a shell of the CCC though still not on my context menu. But when I ran this shell, all it had in it was a Quadrant tool that lets you define where on the screen various softare should be displayed.
I gave up on this thinking that next time I was in town, I would just get a proper DisplayPort to DVI adapter.
A month went by and I decided to try again yesterday. I only wasted 1/2 hr this time before giving up.
I also happened to decide it was time to upgrade this computer from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. I had upgraded all of the other laptops and devices already.
After the 8.1 update was done, I decided to give CCC one last try (or at least what I was calling one last try.) I looked in the install folder and saw something I had never seen before in my many visits to that folder! A folder called WU-CCC2
In there was another install folder and in there another setup.exe!
Of course, I gave this a try and the install (because I just love to click on things!) and it did some interesting things. First it ran an uninstall (cleaning up previous garbage?) and then ran another install.
When complete, I had to reboot and the Catalyst Control Center option was finally on my menu!
I opened it up and it looked like all of the screenshots I had seen all over the internet as a recommendation on how to solve my original problem: the 1” border.
And changing the scaling on that monitor, has indeed, fixed the border problem!
Sometimes being a pit bull pays off. On the other hand, a new display adapter would have probably been more cost effective than the wasted time …but my pride was at risk, here. So I had to solve the puzzle!