Trying to increase your productivity with a multi-monitor setup, but confused about the process? You've come to the right place! In this guide, we explain how to connect dual monitors to your desktop or laptop. With so many different ports on modern computers, it can be confusing how to connect two (or more) displays to your Windows PC at the same time. Don't worry, we'll help you set up dual monitors on your computer.
Table of Contents
How to connect two monitors to a desktop computer
Step 1: Find DisplayPort
First, shut down your computer and access the ports on the back. Now look for more video ports, where the first monitor is connected. If you have a dedicated graphics card from Nvidia or AMD, your display cables will fit under all the USB ports and audio jacks as shown below. We have plenty of additional display output on the NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti GPU.
But if you don't have a dedicated graphics card, the monitor must be connected to the monitor output port on the motherboard. That's himMotherboard rear I/O panel.We have highlighted these display output ports below.
Step 2 - Connect the display cable to a compatible port
Now you need to connect a compatible video cable (HDMI, Displayport, VGA, etc.) to the back of the second monitor. Then connect the other end of the cable to the rear I/O of the motherboard or dedicated graphics card.
from Nvidia, AMD orIncludes Intel Arc GraphicsIt includes multiple HDMI and DisplayPort ports andWe recommend using the video output port on a dedicated GPU (if available).
If you don't have a dedicated graphics card and only have one Display Out port on the rear I/O panel of your desktop, you'll need an adapter to add another Display Out port to your computer so you can connect an additional monitor. You can then set up two or more displays on your Windows PC.
use: The video output port on the rear I/O of the motherboard can be used in conjunction with the video output on a dedicated graphics card to connect additional displays. However, be sure to run GPU-intensive programs like games and content creation software on a display attached to a dedicated GPU for optimal performance.
Step 3: Manage dual monitors in Windows
Turn on your computer and when you enter Windows, both monitors should be detected. Now, use the "window + PKeyboard Shortcut and select Extend, which will enable a multi-screen workflow on your computer. You can also choose other options to show a screen or mirror your screen.
use:If connecting the display to the rear I/O panel of the motherboard does not work, you may need toEnter the BIOS on a Windows computerAnd enable the integrated GPU from there.
Step 4 - Select Series View and Home Screen
Also, to configure where your monitors are placed (so you can easily move your mouse between monitors), right-click on the desktop and go todisplay settings.
From here, you can drag the screens and rearrange them to suit you best. Click "confirmdisplays the numbers on your screen, making it easy to organize them. You can select a screen and click onset this as my home screen" to launch the app on that screen by default.
Voila! You have successfully set up dual monitors to use the Windows desktop. The process is almost the same on your Windows laptop, with a few caveats, so let's take a look at the steps below.
How to set up dual monitors with a laptop
For a dual monitor setup on a laptop, you simply connect an additional monitor and use it in conjunction with the laptop display. Alternatively, you can connect two monitors to the laptop if you want. But for that, you need multiple Display Out ports on your Windows laptop, so check if your Type-C port supports it.
Step 1 - Check the display port on the laptop
To set up dual monitors on your laptop, you first need to check what display ports are on your laptop. While modern computers and laptops include multiple display ports, some laptops only have one additional port.
If you don't have extra ports, you should check if your laptop's Type-C port supports display output. Check your laptop manual to confirm. If so, you can buy a Type-C to HDMI adapter, like this one from Anker ($17.99 from Amazon).
There are also more expensive USB-C docks like this one from Baseus ($39.99 on Amazon), for MacBooks or Ultrabooks that only have Type-C ports. If you have a new M2 MacBook Pro or Air, this is a suitable and common solution for those looking for extra ports. However, if you just need another port to connect more monitors, you can get the more affordable adapter listed above.
Finally, if your laptop doesn't have a Type-C port, we also have a perfect solution for you. You can buy a USB-A to HDMI adapter like this! It's only $16 on Amazon and supports 1080p output. For people with 4K screens, consider this$55 Muelle StarTech, whichAllows you to add two additional monitorson your machine.
Step 2 - Connect display cables to monitor and laptop
In our case, our laptop supports HDMI and DisplayPort. In addition, our laptop's Type-C port is compatible with HDMI and DisplayPort, allowing you to connect a third monitor. Therefore, connect a compatible video output cable, such as HDMI, to one end of the monitor and the other end to the laptop.
Step 2 - Extend the laptop screen to the monitor
Your laptop should automatically detect the new monitor we connected. You will see the external display finally turn on. If this doesn't happen, don't worry. You can configure the screen according to your needs. Just press the "window + P" keyboard shortcut and select "Extended" here. This will enable both your laptop screen and the external display and you can move your mouse between them.
If you go to the display settings via a keyboard shortcut, you can choose to turn off the screen or if you want to mirror the screen. So you can easily set up dual monitors on your laptop.
Step 3: Rearrange your screens and choose your home screen
Also, to change the display position, right-click on the desktop and select "exhibitSettings in the context menu". Here you can drag and drop screens and rearrange them as you like. As in the desktop section, in Windows 10 and 11 you can click "Set as my home screen" as the default screen of your choice to launch the application on the screen.
a good job! You have successfully connected an external monitor to your laptop for a dual monitor setup. Use the remaining video output ports if you want to connect two monitors to the laptop. If you don't have one, see step 1 in this section to learn how to add more video output ports to your laptop.
Is the monitor connected to HDMI or VGA?
HDMI is better than VGA. You can also transmit audio and video signals through a single cable connected to the display. However, if your monitor does not have speakers, you will need to select a different default audio device in the settings.
How can I connect more displays to my laptop using a single HDMI port?
To connect more displays to a laptop with a single HDMI port, you can purchase a suitable adapter for your Type-C port or consider a Type-A to HDMI adapter. We all have suggestions at the beginning of the guide.
Can the monitor be connected to the motherboard and graphics card?
Yes, it is very good to connect a monitor to the rear I/O of the motherboard and a dedicated graphics card. Users who wish to use three or more displays on their computer may want to consider it, but this requires enabling the integrated GPU.
What is the difference between HDMI and DP?
High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) can transmit video and audio signals, while DisplayPort (DP) is designed for video only. However, DP 2.1 is a modern port capable of supporting 4K 480Hz. AMD's RDNA 3 GPUs support this feature.
Can I use a VGA to HDMI adapter?
Yes, a VGA to HDMI video adapter or other video adapter can be used. Converting from one type of display output port to another can cause some problems. This is very common if the adapter is of poor quality. But you can definitely find the right adapter for your system's multi-monitor setup.
How do I set up dual monitors on my laptop? ›
- Select Start , then open Settings .
- Under System , select Display . ...
- Use the dropdown list next to the image of your desktop to choose how your screen will project across your displays.
- Once you've chosen your setup, select Apply.
- Identify the HDMI port on your computer.
- Once you've found it, plug the end of the HDMI splitter into this port. ...
- Next, connect one end of each cable to a monitor. ...
- Finally, turn on your monitors and computer; you should see your desktop extended across both screens!
Dual monitors should always be set up with the main monitor positioned directly in front of the user. If an equal amount of time is used with both monitors, center both monitors in front of the user.How do I get my computer to recognize my second monitor? ›
- Open Settings.
- Click on System.
- Click on Display.
- Under the "Multiple displays" section, click the Detect button to connect to the external monitor.
What does it mean to have a dual-monitor setup? With dual monitors, there are two computer monitors on a workstation. More than one screen allows the user to work on multiple tasks simultaneously and view both workspaces in full screen instead of having a split-screen on one monitor.Can my laptop and monitor both display the same thing? ›
When connected to an external display, Mac and Windows computers have two different display modes: Mirror and Extend. In Mirror Mode the computer monitor duplicates the monitor on the external display so that you see the same picture on both the desktop and projector.Do I need 2 HDMI ports for 2 monitors? ›
An important prerequisite for your dual monitor setup is making sure your PC has the correct outputs. This means your machine should have at least two HDMI outputs, or one HDMI output in addition to a DisplayPort output.What type of cord do I need to connect 2 monitors? ›
On Windows, this is typically an HDMI cable, but check before you purchase, as it could be a VGA or DVI cable that you need. If you use a Mac, you will need a video cable for each display, which might require purchasing an adapter.How do I connect two monitors to my laptop with USB-C? ›
A USB-C to dual HDMI adapter converter is a simple connection device that allows plugging in two HDMI monitor cables at once, and the device plugs into your computer's USB-C port. Use a USB-C hub docking station with multiple HDMI ports: For many, this will make the most sense.Is it safe to connect two monitors to a laptop? ›
Generally speaking, most Windows laptops now support dual monitors, at least. But you need to make sure your laptop is capable to add two external monitors. And that depends on your Windows operating system, the capability of your graphics cards and drivers.
Is it good to add a second monitor to a laptop? ›
Adding a second monitor to your laptop can help reduce distractions and allow you to maintain focus. An extra monitor allows you to view more information at once without having to frequently switch between tabs and interrupt your workflow.How do I connect a second monitor to my laptop without HDMI? ›
Connect with a USB-C Cable
Some laptops may also come with a USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) video output option. If your monitor has this port, then you can configure it to extend your laptop display. You can either directly connect your laptop's USB-C output to your monitor's USB-C input.
HDMI splitters (and graphics cards) can send a single video signal to two HDMI monitors at the same time.What does a docking station do for a laptop? ›
A docking station extends the functionality of your laptop, achieving a desktop-like experience. You can connect an external monitor, have your external storage, connect your SD and micro SD card, have a mouse, and more devices plugged in simultaneously. You won't need to buy a desktop computer with such a setup.Why won't my laptop detect my additional monitors? ›
Make sure the cable connecting your PC to your external monitor is secure. Try changing the cable connecting the external monitor. If the new one works, you know the previous cable was faulty. Try using the external monitor with a different system.Why won't my PC let me use 2 monitors? ›
Ensure that your settings are on Extend these displays.
In the Multiple displays sections of Displays on Windows 10, ensure that you choose the Extend these displays option. It's a good idea to check all your Display settings to ensure they work on multiple monitors: Sometimes, a Windows update can reset them.
Secondary-display problems usually come down to a few basic causes: The computer can't support the display in color depth, pixel count, or interface options. The monitor's cable is damaged or malfunctioning. The computer's display drivers aren't handling the secondary display properly.What is the shortcut for dual screen monitor? ›
Switch between display modes with keyboard shortcut, Win+P.
Windows makes using multiple monitors easy. Just plug the monitor into the appropriate port on the computer and Windows should automatically extend the desktop onto it. You can now drag and drop windows between monitors.
Press (Fn) + F10 (refer to the model's keyboard to find the key with an icon like image 1) or use Windows + P to toggle the display between the computer and an external device.What is Windows key P? ›
Windows logo key + P. Choose a presentation display mode. Windows logo key + Ctrl + Q. Open Quick Assist. Windows logo key + R.
Is it hard to set up dual monitors? ›
Setting up dual monitors is a relatively easy process. It's worth getting all of your cables handy before you get started, and you can adjust this guide to make sure that it works best for your setup.Is it hard to run dual monitors? ›
Setting up a second monitor is a straightforward task. The most important factor you must consider is the connection type. Most modern PCs will have multiple ports that can output to a display. All you need is the proper cables to connect the ports on both your PC and monitor.What happens when you connect two monitors together? ›
Daisy-chaining, officially known as multi-stream transport, or MST (in the case of DisplayPort technology) involves connecting a monitor to another monitor instead of directly to your system's video out port. It's a great way of minimizing cable clutter and extending the range of your monitors from the source system.How do I separate my monitors 1 and 2? ›
- Click "Start | Control Panel | Appearance and Personalization | Adjust Screen Resolution."
- Choose "Extend These Displays" from the Multiple Displays drop-down menu.
- Click "OK" to split the desktop between both monitors.
All you need is one cable to the first monitor, and then one additional cable for each additional monitor. With DisplayPort or Thunderbolt daisy chaining, you enjoy the flexibility of having several displays for all of your work or entertainment needs.How many cables do you need to connect a monitor to a PC? ›
All computer monitors have at least two cables, a power cable and a data cable. The power cable connects to the power outlet, or better, a surge protector, and is what allows the monitor to turn on.Can I connect a second monitor to my laptop with USB? ›
If you don't have a dedicated display connector on your laptop, you can sometimes use a USB connection. USB-C in particular can be used to connect to monitors just as easily as they can connect to portable hard drives or your phone. Often these require only a cable running from the port to your monitor.Do I need a docking station for 2 monitors? ›
Typically, there will be at least one connection available from the laptop for another display such as HDMI or VGA. You can connect your first external monitor to this connection to get a second display. For a third display, you will typically need a docking station to add more ports to the laptop.How many monitors can my laptop support? ›
Some laptops may also have additional video output ports, such as a VGA port or a Thunderbolt 3 port, which can be used to connect additional monitors. In general, a laptop can support up to two external monitors in addition to the built-in display.What are the disadvantages of dual monitors? ›
Video collaboration, online training, and productivity are some big gains to be had with two monitors, while disadvantages include the cost, additional resources required and the potential for distractions. Here's how to determine if dual monitors will be effective for your business needs.
How do I change the monitor 1 and 2? ›
Right-click on your desktop and select "Display settings". At the top of the page, your available monitors will appear as numbered boxes. Each box represents a monitor (e.g., box "1" corresponds with the left monitor and box "2" corresponds with the right monitor). Click on the numbered box that you wish to adjust.How do I split my single monitor into two? ›
- Press and hold Windows key .
- Press the left or right arrow key. If you press the left arrow key, the active program window shows on the left side of the split screen. If you press the right arrow key, it shows on the right side of the split screen.
To switch between virtual desktops, open the Task View pane and click on the desktop you want to switch to. You can also quickly switch desktops without going into the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcuts Windows Key + Ctrl + Left Arrow or Windows Key + Ctrl + Right Arrow.How do I switch monitors? ›
Right-click any blank space on your desktop. Right-click any part of your main desktop that doesn't have any apps, programs, or icons. This will display a menu. Use this method if you're using two monitors and want to rearrange them and set the secondary monitor as your primary display.How to connect two monitors to one computer without splitter? ›
Take a standard HDMI cable, run one end from the PC's output, and run the other to your first monitor's input. Windows will automatically detect the display. By default, the first display connected will be the main one. Repeat this process for your second monitor.