Dual Monitor Setup on Windows 10 for Desktops and Laptops

Dual Monitor Setup on Windows 10 for Desktops and Laptops

This article shows you how to connect and set up two monitors for Windows 10 desktops or laptops. The condition is that the computer must have at least one video output port available to support the second monitor.

1. Make sure the computer can support the second monitor

Although Windows 10's setup allows for multiple monitors, not all graphics cards support multiple monitors. You can quickly check if your desktop or laptop supports a second monitor by looking at the video output port.

  • For desktops — At the back of the desktop case tower, look for a video output port. If you see a port next to or just above the port connecting the desktop to the first monitor, you can use the second monitor.

  • For laptops — Any laptop with a video output port (such as HDMI, DisplayPort, or USB-C) can support a second monitor.

2. Specify the required connector type for the second display

Most new-generation computers and monitors use HDMI or DisplayPort cables. You’ll likely see a colorful and trapezoidal VGA connector if you have an older computer or monitor.

If there's a video output port matching the connector on the back of the second monitor, it's best to use a cable that fits both connectors.

If your computer uses a different connector from your monitor, you can purchase an adapter (such as VGA or HDMI).

3. Set the second monitor

If you want to extend the first monitor to use the second as an additional monitor, you need to place the second monitor to the right of the first.

If you just want an extra screen like the first, you can place the second monitor anywhere.

4. Connect the second monitor to the computer

Plug the video cable (such as HDMI) into your computer's video output jack, then connect it to the second monitor's video input jack.

If you're using an adapter, you may need to plug both cables into the adapter and/or plug the adapter into a power source before connecting the monitor to the computer.

5. Turn on the second monitor

6. Click to Start (Windows symbol) in the left corner of your first screen.

7. Click the gear-shaped icon (Settings) in the left corner → System

8. On the left sidebar, click Display

9. On the Multiple displays section, you can choose the screen options.

People often click Extend these displays to use the second monitor as an extension of the computer's main display, giving them more room to look on the right side of the desktop. You can also choose one of the options below if needed:

  • Duplicate these displays — Displays exactly what is on the main computer screen on the second monitor.

  • Show only on 1 — Turn off the second monitor and display only the first.

  • Show only on 2 — Turn off the first monitor and display only the second.

10. Save the changes

Click Apply, then click Keep changes. This is the step that tells the computer to start using the second monitor as it should.

If you intend to enlarge the screen, move your mouse to the rightmost part of the first screen and keep moving to the right, so the mouse pointer appears on the second screen.

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Mike Barrett
Mike Barrett
Mike Barret is a senior writer at Product Reviews in the field of technology and science. He has had years of experience in this area and spent most of his time discovering and studying the latest gadgets. His tech reports and reviews are always highly evaluated by readers and experts.