Running a PC without a monitor


Thread Starter

Dave Ellis

I am setting up a PC (running Windows) that will be installed in an environment that has very little space so I don't have any space to fit a monitor in. Once I have set up the PC, the monitor will be disconnected and then the PC will be installed and run without the monitor. Has anyone ever done this before? Is there anything special I need to do, or will the PC run quite happily without the monitor? In know I could probably just try it, but how do I know if the PC is actually working without seeing what is going on? Thanks in advance for your help. Cheers, Dave Ellis

kalpak dabir

Worse, if the PC stops/ hangs you will have to connect a monitor to find out. Better go in for SBC type PC or small LCD monitor or even a laptop( costlier). That way you can immediately know what has gone wrong.
>In know I could probably just try it, but how do I know if the PC is actually working without seeing what is going on?

Yes, the computer has no need for the monitor to run. We run most of our PCs with the monitors turned off to save electricity and heat, same idea.

Alex Pavloff

The PC would run fine. However, I would ALWAYS leave something running so that you can access the thing without plugging in the monitor. There's an excellent program for this -- VNC Which is open source and available for a variety of platforms. It runs under TCP/IP though, so you'd have to also put a network card in the thing and set it up. However, then to work on it all you'd need to do is walk up and plug in a crossover ethernet cable between a laptop and the PC (or use an already existing ethernet network).
Yes you can use a PC without a monitor attached. I cant think of any OS or programs which might cause problems. 'How can I see if the PC is working if there is no monitor?' You could connect to it remotely (via ethernet or modem) and use a remote access software (such as PcAnywhere) to monitor the node. Good Luck.
The PC will operate just fine without a monitor attached. Knowing what is going on at the PC is another matter, however. If you have a LAN, you could use software such as MS NetMeeting or PCAnywhere to connect to the remote PC and take a look at the desktop over TCP/IP. Another soltion may be to use a null modem serial cable and PCAnywhere-type software to view the remote screen.
Alan Brause

Richard Dewees

If you can hook it up to your network, get yourself a copy of Virtual Network Computing and connect to it remotely. I don't remember the link(to downlod VNC) but if you look through the list archives it has been posted numerous times. Rick

Troy Stearns

If this PC resides on a network, you could use PCAnywhere or TimBuk2 software to monitor this PC from another PC on the network. I have done this in the past with several PC's, all lacking CRT's, keyboards, and mice.

Troy Stearns

Mirko Podboj

It's possible, but you must avoid several problems: 1. PNP - plug and play mechanism 2. Bios Power Management 3. Boot sequence 4. Startup and automatic login, 5. Dr Watson and/or other crash utility SW 6. … After your PC working correct with monitor, you must disable PNP features in bios. If PNP is not disabled, PNP detects absent of monitor and try to correct PC configuration, they request your intervention - program not start. You must set in Bios Power Management option Last State. This feature enables automatic start of PC when unexpected power down occurs. Disable all other power savings except HD. Power savings on HD depend on your application. In all boot selections you must disable indefinitely option. In all selections must exist default option, which is active in definite time. In Win NT you must install automatic login on PC or your SW must run as service. In Win 95, 98 I'm not so sure, but it's similar. In Win 3.x use Autoexec.bat. Assure automatic restart after stop, restart, reset and other catastrophic failures. In Win NT select Automatically Reboot in Control Panel \ System In Dr Watson and/or other crash utility SW disable all visual notifications. In Win NT throw running program Drwtsn32.exe. On last question - what your PC real do - you can answer with network or other remote connections, use telnet, remote utility access, … Applicable SW you can find on net, Microsoft, try VNC - Good luck Mirko Podboj
....... >I am setting up a PC (running Windows) that will be installed in an >environment that has very little space so I don't have any space to fit a >monitor in. Once I have set up the PC, the monitor will be disconnected >and then the PC will be installed and run without the monitor. > >Has anyone ever done this before? Is there anything special I need to do, >or will the PC run quite happily without the monitor?
IMHO no "PC (running Windows)" ever "run quite happily". That's why you are likely to need monitor... {pardon the distraction, temptation was too big ;-) }


Michael Griffin

I don't know what sort of PC you are using, or how it is being installed, but I have seen rack mount style PCs with very small monitors as part of the front panel of the PC case. If you want to know what the PC is doing, you probably want to know this when you are *at* the PC.

Michael Griffin
London, Ont. Canada
[email protected]
Another solution, which we use all the time, is to use a PC extender to put the monitor, keyboard, and mouse in a location that it will fit. With a decent extender this can be up to 800' away on regular CAT5 twisted pair cabling. We do this all the time in Paper Mills on our digital video system installs. The PC's are located in the Rack room, and the KVM (Keyboard, video, and mouse) are located in the control room. Works just fine. just a suggestion.

Jody Gallant
CET Shadcomm Ltd.
Hello Dave,
to check if the PC is running, you can write a small program to toggle cyclically the status of one of the control signals in the serial or
parallel port. In this way you create a square wave generator. Now connect to the port a simple electronic circuit which detects the square wave
pulses and generates a signal if the pulses frequency drops under a certain value.
In this way you can detect whether the PC is working and applications are running correctly.

There should be some commercial devices working in this way to restart a PC by cutting its power supply.

best regards
Luca Gallina

D. C. Pittendrigh

Hi All

I too can't resist the temptation, I have several PC's running in my office with two parrallel networks running via the same hub, the one network is under development for a project which will utimately go to a clients site however in the interim I am challenged for desk space and so have 3 PC's only running on my desk, I do with my office network as most other people do with theirs and that is dedicated to one machine, the other 2 are for technical stuff, the one is used for programming the S7 PLC in my test room and the second runs a simulation package I am using for software development. The Server on the technical network runs without monitor keyboard or mouse and processes InTouch development and runtime packages to which I connect using Terminal services from any one of the three machines on my desk, a very comfortable arrangement indeed, all PC's run windows of one or another flavour, various machines on the network are running Win95, Win98 Win2K pro Win 2K server (2 servers) and Win CE on 2 thin clients as
well. All are HAPPY MACHINES, if they wern't I would be out of a job and my office work would be standing. I have never really been a great windows fan and am on record as being an ardent anti-Bill campaigner in past E-Mails, but since Win2K, well maybe the leopard can change his spots.

Donald Pittendrigh

Johan Bengtsson

The PC will run quite happy without monitor, I suggest originally setting it up with standard VGA so no plug and pray thing gets in the way however

When it comes to see if it working, well I guess it is supposed to do something, if it doesn't do that it is not working. You might need to
reconnect the monitor to figure out why however.

/Johan Bengtsson

P&L, Innovation in training
Box 252, S-281 23 H{ssleholm SWEDEN
Tel: +46 451 49 460, Fax: +46 451 89 833
E-mail: [email protected]
I agree with Petr. If you want a stable platform that runs without hiccups try Linux or (dinosaur that I am) DOS. DataLight ( sells a DOS clone with utilities that is quite happy to pretend that the serial port is keyboard/monitor. We've used it on PC104 stacks.

Andy Seibert

Great Suggestion Jody,

Could recommend a good extender. I have a need to move several CPU's out of operating pulpits (control rooms) and into a centralized computer room at a steel making facility. You got my attention when you stated that the extension could be made via CAT5 cabling.

Andy Seibert
Corus Tuscaloosa
[email protected]

Mahboob Ahmad

I tried it running without monitor it just runs fine, i have a small 2 line LCD diplay and some switches with a small programm which tell me whether PC is running fine or not. The big problem which I am facing now is if i want to
connect the monitor again I have to reinstall the VGA driver first then it will work otherwise monitor will not display anything since Windows knows that previously there was no monitor installed(its my opinion). So my requirement is
to get monitor working without reinstalling the driver. since this pc will be portable one, so sometime monitor will be present and sometime not.
If any body has any suggestions, do write. I appreciate that.

Hello, what do you think went on BEFORE?? My last PC was a 286 that I bought when it was the
best thing out there.... No monitors. Still runs without problems and I can adjust the