Gone are the days when you had to resort to only one monitor for your work on computers. Dual monitors have become increasingly popular in recent years. It helps users create a larger and more productive workspace all the while improving your computer’s functionality. Dual monitors are useful for various purposes, including programming, gaming, streaming, editing, and multimedia.
If you are planning to get yourself a dual monitor setup for your computer, you can follow these really easy steps to set up and customize your dual monitor according to your preferences.
Step 1: Check out the back of your CPU for available video connector ports
The motherboard in your CPU has various video output ports. If you turn over your PC, you’ll see various ports. Most PCs will have a VGA port, an HDMI port, a display port, and a DVI port. Older PCs or lower-end PCs will have an integrated GPU, so you can connect the monitors to the motherboard itself.
However, dedicated GPUs have also become popular for the various utilities they provide. You will also find various ports on your graphic card. If you want to enjoy high-quality images at high resolutions with high refresh rates, then you might want to connect the monitors to your graphic card.
Step 2: Connect the monitors to your CPU
Once you know the ports that are available, you’re going to connect the monitors to the CPU. If the cable and the port don’t match, do not worry, you can use a simple adapter with the desired kind of port and your monitor. Then connect the monitors to power outlets.
It is important that you connect both the monitors to either your motherboard or your graphics card. You cannot use both simultaneously for your monitors.
Step 3: Boot up your computer
Make sure the monitors are connected properly and start up your computer. Windows will automatically detect the two monitors, and you’ll see both the monitors working. In case Windows does not detect your second monitor, follow these steps: Right-click on your desktop. Click on Display options. There, you should see an option for ‘Detect’. This will make Windows run a detection to see if any additional monitors are connected to the CPU.
Step 4: Open Display options and customize your monitors
As you’ve already done in the previous step, open Display options. You will see a dialog box showing your screens as boxes numbered 1 and 2. You can drag these boxes around to suit the kind of orientation your first monitor has with the second. This will facilitate the smoothness with which the transition of objects like a window or a file takes place between the monitors. Make sure to place the monitors to resemble their actual physical orientation with each other to enhance your experience.
You can change the resolution for your monitors by using the resolution drop-down menu in the Display options. For this, you’ll have to first click on the monitor that requires a resolution change on the dialog box mentioned previously. If it’s the first monitor, click on the box labeled 1. If it’s the second, click on the box labeled 2. When you click on the monitor, it will be highlighted, and then you can make changes to its resolution.
Scale and Layout settings
Using these settings you can also alter the size of text, apps, and icons on the selected monitor. Also, here you can decide the kind of orientation you want to have for your monitors. For example, if your second display is set up vertically, you can change the display orientation to portrait. There are also options namely Portrait (flipped) and Landscape (flipped) for ease of use while setting up your monitor.
In case you want your second display to be your main display, then make sure that your second monitor is selected, and simply check the box where it says ‘Make this my main display’. Now, this will become your main display.
This option will allow you to change the way the displays will work. Extending the displays will make your monitors become a singular workspace. If you choose to duplicate the displays, whatever you do on your main display will also be imitated by the second display. In case you want to concentrate on only monitors for your work, you can also choose only one display to be on in these options.
What if Windows is not able to detect the second monitor?
Check your CPU and the monitors and ensure that the cables are properly connected to the ports. If you’re using VGA or DVI ports, make sure that the cable is properly inserted and the screws have been tightened.
Once done, boot up your computer and go to Display settings to run an automatic detection.
Can a second monitor be connected to a laptop?
Yes. Almost all laptops have an extra video output port and can support a second monitor.
You will again need to determine the kind of port that is available. Most laptops have an HDMI, VGA, or DVI port. Display ports are also increasingly becoming popular in laptops.
My mouse is not moving over to the second monitor.
This can have multiple reasons.
Your orientation is not correct. Make sure that the displays are oriented in the manner they are physically related to each other. For example, if your primary monitor is on the left, and the second monitor on the right, that is how you should orient the displays in the dialog box. Keeping it as accurate as possible will help in creating a smoother dual display experience for you.
The secondary display might be set to duplicate the other. In this case, go to Display Options, and in the Multiple Displays panel, select Extend the displays.
Do all computers support multiple displays?
Almost all PCs and laptops nowadays are capable of supporting multiple monitors. Almost all motherboards with integrated graphics support the setup. However, there are a few exceptions in older PCs where separate ports give the same picture. If your PC does not support a dual monitor setup, you can get a dedicated GPU to solve that problem. Almost all GPUs available today give an amazing experience for multiple displays.
Dual displays are very easy to set up as we’ve already established and come with a host of benefits like more space for your work, higher productivity, and a better viewing experience to name a few. If you’re looking to get yourself dual displays, now you know it’s no rocket science!
This article was last updated on May 25, 2021 .