How to connect a second monitor to a laptop


Any laptop owner has ever had the problem of lack of space on the screen, and there was a desire to connect a monitor to a laptop. After all, the display of such a mobile device is noticeably small. This happens especially often with gamers for whom display area is of great importance. You can display an image on a monitor from a laptop in different ways. The choice of the optimal one depends not only on the characteristics of the means of displaying the image, but also on the hardware of the mobile device.

Some restrictions

There are situations when a user connects an additional monitor, but there is no positive result from this action: the picture is not displayed on an external device. The option when the laptop does not see the monitor happens on older models. They simply do not provide for working with two screens.

Advice! The first thing to do is to look at the specifications of the laptop on the manufacturer’s website. There is information not only about whether the system works with two displays. From the documentation, you can learn how to switch the laptop screen to a monitor or make other useful settings.

There is also an option when you do not have to study the instructions for the model. Especially if there is no version in Russian. Carefully enough consider the keyboard. The button that is responsible for switching display devices usually has an icon in the form of a recognizable icon. Therefore, if the laptop does not display an image on an external monitor, you need to press Fn + the found key.

Fn+external monitor

Some mobile computer models simply cannot work with two display devices. If you want to connect a second monitor to your laptop, you will have to switch active card in bioC. How to enter it, you should look in the documentation for the model. After logging in, you need:

  • go to the Advanced section;
  • find the Init Display First option;
  • set its value to PCI.

Important! This method has an inconvenience. While the external monitor is working, there is no image on the laptop display. To return it, you need to change the value of the option in the BIOS settings to Int.

Port usage

Modern laptops always have a group of ports designed to connect monitors or TVs to them. Their set may differ depending on the manufacturer and model year of the mobile device.

  1. Classic analog. Exactly via VGA connects to most monitors.
  2. Analog-digital. Via HDMI you can display not only the image, but also the sound on a TV or monitor with speakers.
  3. Digital Display Port. With it, you can connect more than one monitor. Some cards, in particular ATI Radeon, thanks to proprietary technology, allow you to connect 3 monitors or TVs (up to 6 devices in total).
    display port

However, often the problem occurs for those who have an old monitor that does not have a suitable port for connection, and a modern laptop. To fix this problem, you need special adapter. For example, HDMI-VGA. It is not difficult to buy such a device, but it is worth choosing solutions from well-known manufacturers.

Important! It is worth remembering that when the laptop is running, an external device is never connected. To do this, you need to turn off your computer.

With external solutions

What if the laptop does not physically have ports to connect two monitors to it? Today it is not difficult to buy external solutions. Video cards connected via USB allow you to get a resolution of up to FullHD 1920 × 1080 pixels on the screen of the second monitor.

External video card

Using an external card will not help gamers in any way. Yes, it is easy to connect 2 monitors or more with it, according to the number of ports available on the laptop. However, it will not be possible to obtain a high-quality image. In order to have high performance and detail in games, you will need an external video card of a different type. It connects either to modern exchange ports, or directly to the miniPCI slot on the motherboard.

You can independently connect an external video card to a laptop with your own hands, with some care and accuracy. For users who doubt their abilities as a techie, there are more expensive, but convenient solutions. Video card docking station allows you to simultaneously install a performance adapter and connect multiple monitors to a laptop.

Video card docking station

Operating system settings

Important! The Windows XP operating system does not support switching between video cards or running on multiple display devices at the same time. Therefore, you can connect a monitor to a laptop only in the mode of functioning of one display.

Operating systems Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 are able to work with multiple cards. You can connect a group of monitors and adjust the image settings on them using simple methods. To configure the system to work on two or more monitors, you will need:

  • right-click on an empty spot on the desktop;
  • Select Display Settings from the drop-down menu.

Screen Options

In Windows 10, Windows 7, the settings are almost identical. First you need to click the Detect button so that the displays are recognized. After that, you can change their order. In simple terms, this describes how the cursor will move from one screen to another.


By selecting a particular display, you can customize it. Windows 7 is poorer in terms of a set of modes and features and requires additional steps. In Windows 10, the settings are located in one window.

  1. Scale for text and application graphics. On Windows 10, you can access this option by clicking Make text or other items larger or smaller;
  2. Make Monitor Primary — Only present in Windows 7. Specifies which screen to place the taskbar and Start button on. In Windows 10, this is display number 1 by default.
  3. Night mode. The system corrects the signal to reduce the blue spectrum in it. It also switches color schemes and reduces brightness.
  4. Screen resolution. The operating system tries to automatically determine the optimal value for a particular display. But the user can customize the convenient for themselves.
  5. Orientation landscape by default. However, if you want to position the monitor sideways to display textual information, you can set the portrait orientation.


The last setting is the most important. This is a scheme for dividing a picture into two or more screens. The following options are available.

  1. Cloning or duplicating to these screens — means that the same picture will be displayed on two monitors. This mode is inconvenient because the same resolution will be selected for two devices. If you use a laptop screen and a good external monitor, both will display a picture with the parameters of the worst of the video adapters.
  2. Expand to these screens — this option is the most understandable. The desktop is stretched across all the displays in use. In this case, the user can fully understand why it is necessary to set the order of monitors. The mouse moves the cursor linearly and conveniently when, when moving it to the left, the arrow went to the screen corresponding to the direction on the side.
  3. Display only on — The meaning of the option does not need to be explained. The desktop image will only be on the designated monitor. All others are not involved. This is convenient and reduces resource consumption when the laptop is used as a PC system unit with an external keyboard and mouse connected.

If one or more monitors with speakers are connected via HDMI (or a TV is used), you can set the sound output from their speakers. To do this, right-click on the speaker icon near the clock, select Playback devices. In the window that opens, right-click on the name of the external monitor or TV and select the Use default communication device item.

Useful programs

The above setup is the same in any case: laptop video cards, external discrete or connected via USB are used. In Standard Mode, the Windows operating system offers somewhat awkward methods for switching resolutions, refresh rates, and other settings. And that’s besides the fact that the taskbar and Start button are only on the same display. Third-party utilities make working with two monitors easier and more convenient.

  1. DualMonitor Taskbar. This simple program extends the taskbar to all monitors in use. Its mode of operation is configurable. The taskbar can be duplicated, stretched, installed at the bottom, at the top, from the sides of the screens.
    DualMonitor Taskbar
  2. DisplayFusion. This utility allows you to neutralize another unpleasant feature of Windows with multiple monitors. Now you don’t have to watch the same desktop wallpaper on all screens. The utility will stretch the picture, which will appeal to beauty lovers.
  3. MurGee Mon. The program gives easy access to the system settings of each of the used monitors. You can change the resolution, refresh rate, change the order of the screens with a couple of clicks.
    MurGee Mon

For users who have installed modern high-performance video cards from nVidia, AMD, more options are offered. adapter drivers, vNidia Control Panel and AMD Control Center allow you not only to flexibly and transparently manage monitor settings, but also set individual settings for applications that run on them.

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