The Intel NUC: Widi as your only display

I've had several people ask me about widi on the NUC and, more specifically, whether widi can be used as the only monitor.  The short answer is yes, with some caveats.

First, as far as I can tell the only operating system that will work is Windows 7.  Windows 8 doesn't use the Intel widi software, instead opting for the built-in wireless display feature via the charm bar (or whatever it's called these days), which doesn't have an auto-connect feature.

Second, you'll need a "dummy" hdmi plug to trick the NUC into thinking a monitor is physically connected.  Part of the widi process requires that the graphics drivers are loaded, which doesn't happen if there is no monitor attached. "Dummy" HDMI plugs are readily available on the internet from $15.  This is the one I used: http://www.amazon.com/CompuLab-fit-Headless-Display-Emulator/dp/B00FLZXGJ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412100815&sr=8-1&keywords=hdmi+dummy+plug

There are also instructions for a DIY version of a DVI adapter that you can find, but I haven't personally tried that method.  If you go that route be sure you know what you're doing.  I did read comments from people cautioning that if you do it incorrectly you can damage your unit.  Consider yourselves warned.

Third, you need to make sure your wifi card supports it.  The Intel 6235 card works, as do the Intel 7260/7265 cards.  Those are the only ones I've personally tested.

Disclaimer: I make no guarantees that any of this will work for you.  This is what worked for me.

My setup for testing was:

Intel NUC D54250WYK

8GB Crucial RAM

180GB Intel mSATA SSD

AC7260 wifi card

Windows 7 Premium 64-bit

Netgear PTV2000 wireless display receiver

Proscan 1080p LCD TV

Ok, here's how you do it (or at least how I did it):

  1. Update your video & wifi drivers. You can find them at downloadcenter.intel.com. When you update your wifi drivers you need to make sure to install the Intel Proset software package along with the drivers.  There is an option to install just the drivers, but if you do then widi won't work.
  2. Install the latest widi software from Intel.  Again, go to downloadcenter.intel.com.  Just search for "wireless display" and download the latest version for your operating system.
  3. Open the widi software and connect to your widi receiver.  Check the option to connect automatically.
  4. Go to your display properties and set your widi display to be your primary display. Also set your multiple monitor configuration to duplicate your display to both monitors (rather than extending).
  5. Create a basic task in the task scheduler to start the widi software.  Include the path to the widi executable and set it to start at login.  Note: It's tempting here to just add a shortcut to the Startup folder on the Start Menu, but don't.  Setting it up that way doesn't work.  The widi software will start automatically but it will not see your widi receiver.  It seems to be a timing thing.
  6. Power off the NUC.
  7. Disconnect your monitor and connect the "dummy" plug.  I did this testing on a D54250 (mini HDMI connector), so I used an HDMI "dummy" connected to a mini HDMI-to-HDMI adapter.
  8. Power on your NUC and test the configuration. If all went well, you should see your desktop displayed on the monitor/tv connected to the widi receiver.  Keep in mind the widi connection is the last thing that will happen on boot, so it will take a few extra seconds to get to your widi desktop.

If you don't see anything after a while then something isn't working as it should. Reconnect your monitor and troubleshoot.

- Jason

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