Connecting a second monitor to a laptop and setting up Windows


Not always laptop users are satisfied with the quality of the «native» screen. As a rule, such problems arise for gamers or those who like to watch action movies via the Internet. The problem can be solved by connecting an external screen. How to connect a monitor to a laptop is described below.

Laptop and monitor

Why connect a monitor to a laptop

It can show many users that there is not much point in connecting a monitor to a laptop. However, quite often the image quality on a laptop leaves much to be desired. Firstly, in modern models, manufacturers make a matte finish, which negatively affects color reproduction. The second reason is that only expensive models have high resolution. Besides, even 17 inches is a pretty small screen. In such a situation, it would be logical to connect a monitor to the laptop, which immediately solves all three nuances. Such a connection does not require much effort or expense, so for those who do not like the quality or size of their native matrix, it makes sense to think about an external screen.

Advice! For convenience, it remains only to buy a wireless mouse and keyboard. You will also need the necessary cable for the connection.

Why connect a monitor to a laptop

In addition to solving problems with screen size and not the best image quality, such a connection makes sense if laptop screen broken, or you need to use multiple screens (relevant for games or multitasking). It is worth noting that not all laptops have the latter opportunity.

How many monitors can be connected

Connecting a monitor to a laptop implies that the second screen will be used either instead of the built-in one, or in addition to it. However, often gamers prefer 2-3 monitors and wonder if laptops have such an opportunity. For a PC, this option is implemented by a video card, and if there is support, then 4 monitors can be connected.

Most laptop models are designed for only 2 monitors — main and external, even if the case has two suitable connectors for connecting external screens. But in more expensive models (usually gaming devices) there may be video cards with the ability to connect multiple screens. Thus, this moment is individual for different laptops, and you should look for a specific answer on the website of the manufacturer of the installed video card.

However, if there is laptop with connector Thunderbolt and several monitors with this interface, the connection can be made without problems. In this case, each subsequent screen will work from the previous one, and not from the laptop. The total number of monitors that can work simultaneously with a serial connection via Thunderbolt reaches six pieces.

How many monitors can be connected

What connectors are suitable for connecting

To connect a laptop to a computer monitor, you can use the following connection options:

  • HDMI;
  • VGA;
  • DisplayPort;
  • Thunderbolt;
  • DVI.

What connectors are suitable for connecting

All these ports can be found both in a laptop and in a monitor. At the same time, the most common option for modern devices is HDMI, for older monitors and laptops — VGA. DVI itself is rare in laptops, but common in monitors. Thunderbolt and DisplayPort are the lot of expensive technology in recent years. The most convenient option is Thunderbolt. It will allow not only to transmit a video signal, but also can simultaneously power the screenwhich means that you do not have to connect the monitor to the outlet.

If Thunderbolt is not provided in devices, but there is a choice between HDMI and VGA, then the preferred connection option is via HDMI, as it allows you to transmit a signal in high quality. When connected via VGA, the monitor may not have this connector, but it will be HDMI or DVI, in which case you can use an adapter.

Important! Some users wonder if devices can be connected via USB. This possibility exists, but the number of monitors with such support is small.


Which cable to choose

To connect a laptop to a computer monitor, you need to select the interfaces that both devices have and buy the appropriate cable.

The best connection method HDMIHDMI. It allows you to transmit a picture and sound, but subject to the presence of speakers on the monitor. An old monitor may only be equipped with a VGA or DVI connector. In this case, you should use a cable with these plugs, provided that they are also on the laptop. If there are no identical connectors, then a second monitor can be connected using an adapter; it is not difficult to find adapters from HDMI to VGA or DVI on sale.

HDMI to HDMI connections

If the laptop is expensive, then it may have DisplayPort or Thunderbolt. Provided that they are also in the monitor, you can use them. Both options provide excellent throughput and can transmit UHD signal.

Important! Thunderbolt, among other things, can also transmit sound, which means that you can power the device through one wire, transmit video and audio. Obviously, this is a very convenient option, but still quite rare in modern devices.

Connection options

It was mentioned above that a laptop can connect two monitors. The first option is Thunderbolt, but it must be in each of the devices, and the displays must have two of them, since the connection is made in series. In this situation, adapters will not help.

The second option is to connect the monitor to the laptop via HDMI or VGA, and the second screen via USB if this port is available. With a high degree of probability, in order for everything to work, you will have to install additional utilities(DualMonitorTaskbar, MurGeeMon, DisplayFusion), which allow you to configure multiple displays.

How to setup

Connecting an additional monitor to a laptop is not the biggest problem. It is necessary not only to do this correctly, but also to configure everything.

On Windows 7

The Win+P keys open a menu where you can choose how to use two monitors.

  1. Disable external monitor — the picture will be on the main screen. Convenient if you need to work directly behind the laptop, but do not physically turn off the second display.
  2. Expand — The desktop will be divided into two parts. On the main screen there will be one side, on the auxiliary screen the second. This will allow you to run a browser on a small laptop display and chat with friends, and at the same time you can watch a movie on a large display from a computer.
  3. Duplicate — one image will be displayed on both screens.
  4. Second screen only — the image will be displayed on a large monitor, which is convenient if the laptop matrix is ​​​​broken, or you just need an alternative to your native display.

On Windows 7

Due to the difference in resolution between the built-in matrix and the external one, the picture may not be the best for one of them. In this situation, you should open Control Panel — Appearance and Personalization — Display — Screen Extension. Having selected the second display, set the optimal resolution for it (and sometimes the frame rate).

optimal resolution

Windows 10

The setup in Windows 10 is no different from the previous version. You can choose the appropriate mode of operation if several monitors are connected, using the same Win + P combination. If you have problems with permission, then in Windows 10 you should click on the notification panel in the tray, select: All settings — System — Display. Further, only set the desired resolution for both matrices.

Wireless connection

Connecting a second monitor to a laptop can be done wirelessly. At the same time, the laptop has all the tools necessary for this, but for the screen you will need to buy separately Wifi technology-enabled adapter Miracast or WiDi.

Finding such an adapter is quite difficult, but the method is still relevant if instead of a monitor it is used smart TV. In this case, the built-in module and the function of receiving the broadcast are already in it. If the TV is not smart, then you can buy a smart set-top box with a Wi-Fi receiver function for it. Their prices are quite low, but this allows you to get rid of the need to stretch the cords.

To broadcast the desktop of a laptop or computer, enter the screen settings using the methods described above and select the “wireless screen” item. In the window that opens, monitors available for connection will appear — select the one you need and look at the picture.

Important! Connecting a second monitor to a laptop wirelessly is advisable to do in a situation where the user does not plan to play. The speed of data exchange over Wi-Fi is not high enough to provide a comfortable picture update and response.

Wireless connection

Possible problems

Sometimes connecting a laptop to an external screen can be accompanied by problems.

  1. The second screen does not show. First of all, you should check the correct connection and operability of the wires. For example, connect the monitor to another laptop by analogy with the first one and check if there is a signal. If this is not the reason, then you need to check the Windows settings — perhaps only one screen is enabled, and try changing the resolution.
  2. If the secondary display shows, but does it with artifacts, then the reason is inappropriate resolution and sweep frequency. The correct parameters can be set in the second screen setup menu (similar to the one described above).
  3. If a picture is there but no sound, and the connection is using HDMI or Thunderbolt, and the PC monitor is equipped with speakers, the problem is that Windows does not have sound output to external speakers. To fix this, you should click on the volume icon in the tray, select «playback devices» and force the monitor speakers to be set as the sound output.

Any of the above problems can also be caused by outdated software. Therefore, before making any connection, it is worth updating the video card driver. This can be done through the «Device Manager», but it’s much more efficient to find the right software on the website of the laptop or video card manufacturer.


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