How to connect two monitors

Make sure your computer can support multiple displays. This isn’t usually an issue for laptop computers, but your desktop computer may not meet the requirements for adding a second monitor:

  • Laptop — If your laptop has at least one video output port, you can use it to connect a second monitor.
  • Desktop — Your desktop computer must have at least two video ports in total (one to connect the primary monitor and one to connect the second monitor). The ports do not have to match, but they do have to be a part of the same graphics card; this means that if you have two graphics cards installed, you’ll need to use the same one for both monitors.
Identify your computer’s video output port. Video output ports are found on the side of your laptop or, if you’re using a desktop computer, on the back of the tower next to the port into which your primary monitor is plugged. Common output ports include the following:
  • HDMI — Resembles a six-sided, flat port.
  • DisplayPort — Resembles a rectangular port with a crimped side.
  • USB-C — Resembles a thin, rounded oval port.
  • VGA — Resembles a colored trapezoid with pinholes in it. VGA isn’t common on post-2012 computers, but you may have to work with VGA if you’re connecting a new computer to an old monitor (or vice versa).
Find your monitor’s video input port. Modern monitors tend to use either DisplayPort or HDMI ports for their inputs, but some monitors will also have VGA ports.
  • If you have an exceptionally old monitor, you may find a DVI port on the back of your second monitor. DVI ports resemble white boxes with clusters of holes, as well as a section with a few separate holes.
Buy a cable to connect your monitor to your computer if necessary. If you don’t have a cable which can connect your computer to your monitor (e.g., an HDMI cable), you’ll need to buy one.
  • If your computer and your monitor both have a common port (e.g., HDMI), it’s easier (and cheaper) to buy a cable that fits both ports even if a higher-definition option is available.
  • If the monitor’s input doesn’t match your computer’s output (e.g., if the monitor uses a VGA input while your computer uses an HDMI output), you will need to buy an adapter.
  • Some video output combinations, such as HDMI to DisplayPort, come as cables that you can purchase instead of buying an adapter.
Plug one end of the cable into your computer. The cable should plug into your computer’s video output port.
  • Remember, if you’re using a desktop computer, this must be a video output port that is part of the same graphics card that your primary monitor uses.
Plug the other end of the cable into your monitor. The free end of the cable should fit into your selected port on the back of the monitor.
  • If you’re using an adapter, you’ll plug one end of the cable into the adapter and then plug the monitor’s cable into both the monitor and the adapter.
Power on the monitor. If your monitor isn’t plugged into a power source, attach it via the included power cable; you can then press the Power button on the monitor to turn it on.
  • Depending on your computer, you may see your desktop reflected on the second monitor when it turns on.
Open Start Image titled Windowsstart.png
 Click the Windows logo in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
Open Settings Image titled Windowssettings.png
 Click the gear-shaped icon in the lower-left side of the Start window. This will open the Settings window.
Click System. It’s a screen-shaped icon in the upper-left side of the window.
Click Display. This tab is in the upper-left corner of the window.
Scroll down and click the “Multiple displays” drop-down box. It’s the box below the “Multiple displays” heading near the bottom of the page. Doing so will prompt a drop-down menu.
Select a display option. Depending on what you want your second monitor to do, click one of the following options:
  • Duplicate these displays — Copies everything that’s on your computer’s primary display to the second monitor.
  • Extend these displays — Creates an extension of your desktop on the second monitor. This essentially gives you more space with which to work.
  • Show only on 1 — Blacks out the second monitor and shows content only on the first monitor.
  • Show only on 2 — Blacks out the first monitor and shows content only on the second monitor.
  • Depending on your computer, you may have additional options here.

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