UPDATE: Windows 7 just works with external displays. No need for tweaks or hacks.
Last night I stayed up late tinkering with my late 2008 15” MacBook Pro’s Windows XP install again in hopes of getting my games to run on my 40” 1080p Samsung TV, for reasons that should be obvious. I managed to successfully accomplish what I had set out to do, and it’s quite easy.
This is also a way to get the latest Windows Nvidia driver updates for your Mac (Boot Camp drivers are very old).
First you should uninstall your old Nvidia display driver from the add/remove control panel, (also a good idea to disable antivirus before doing this). DO NOT UN-INSTALL ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NVIDIA DISPLAY DRIVER ONLY; if you do remove the other Nvidia drivers too you will have to reinstall the Boot Camp drivers from your Mac OS X install disc and start this process over. You will likely need to reboot after uninstalling.
Download the latest Nvidia drivers for your OS and run the EXE. Do not run the installer just yet even if it pops-up. The EXE by default puts the driver in the C:\NVIDIA\ folder where you can get to it later.
Now to enable the option to make your external display the primary display you need a modified INF file to for the driver installer. You can generate this file on the following link: laptopvideo2go.com/enhancer
Pick the correct driver version number (for the driver you just downloaded) then scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Enable” Primary for Dual Display. Download the INF file.
The last step is to put the INF file into the C:\NVIDIA\your os version\driver version\IS\Display\ folder replacing the existing file. Once this is done just run the installer Setup in the C:\NVIDIA\your os version\driver version\IS\ folder (make sure your antivirus is off) and then reboot when finished.
Your MacBook Pro’s Windows install should now allow you to use an external display as primary and even disable the internal display. I found I had to disable my internal display before the game I tested F.E.A.R. 2 would launch on my TV’s screen. You may need to re-adjust your games’ resolution settings, and also tweak the color gamma through the Nvidia control panel before you play.
Also noteworthy: I found that the Windows XP text rendering looks like pixelated poop on my TV; barely readable… I’m not sure why, but all other graphics seem to be displayed at native resolution perfectly sharp on my TV. I may look further into this text issue.
UPDATE: The above issue was caused by my TV’s sharpness settings being nearly at full and was easily fixed by lowering the sharpness. The TV’s brightness and contrast also should be checked, don’t rely on your computer’s settings.
See all my Windows Gaming on Mac posts