Adding a second monitor to your computer lets you double your computer’s desktop, allowing you to work on one monitor while checking its effects on the other. You can double the size of your cockpit in the latest flight simulator. Or you can keep Facebook or Twitter running on your spare monitor to keep up with your friends. Take note of the following steps:
- Obtain a new monitor that’s compatible with your computer.
Alternatively, you can use an old monitor from your old computer.
- Push the plug on the end of your new (or old) second monitor cable into your computer’s video port on the back of your computer.
The cable should only fit into one port, be it DVI, VGA, or HDMI.
- Plug the cable’s other end into your monitor’s matching port.
Again, this port may be DVI, VGA, or HDMI. Plug the monitor’s power cord into the wall or a power strip, and then turn on your monitors and your computer.
- Right-click a blank part of the desktop and choose Screen Resolution from the pop-up menu that appears.
Both displays appear listed onscreen.
- Click the Detect button if Windows can’t find the second monitor. Click the icon that represents your main monitor and choose Make This My Main Display. This step specifies which monitor should display your Start button and taskbar.
- On that same screen, drag and drop the onscreen monitors until they resemble the way you’ve arranged them on your real desk.
You can tell Windows to spread the desktop to the left or to the right, depending on how you’ve arranged your two monitors. Or, if you work on long spreadsheets, stack the two monitors on top of each other with a shelf to double your rows of numbers.
- Click OK when you finish.
Windows saves your monitor arrangement.
How to Add another Monitor to Your PC
If your PC have two graphics ports, the system can handle two monitors. It would be like if your body had two necks, you could go shopping for a second head.
The second monitor expands the desktop real estate, allowing you to get more work done! Or to see more stuff at once, if you do multiple work on systems.
Connecting the second monitor works just like connecting the first:
Plug it in, to both the graphics adapter and the power supply. Windows should recognize the second monitor at once. Your job is to configure how the monitor is used. For most folks, the second monitor works as an extension to the first monitor.
In Windows 10, the monitor is instantly recognized and the desktop extended, assuming that the second monitor sits to the right of the main monitor. To adjust the second monitor’s position, resolution, or other settings in Windows 10, follow these steps:
- Right-click the mouse on the desktop.
- Choose the Display Settings command.
The Settings app opens, showing a preview of both displays.
If you need to extend the desktop to the second display, from the Multiple Displays menu choose the option “Extend these Displays”.
Drag the preview icon to position the second monitor.
Where you place the second monitor’s Preview icon determines how it interacts with the first monitor.
If you need to set the second monitor’s resolution, scroll down the right side of the Settings window and click the link “Advanced Display Settings”.
Working with dual monitors:
- Click the monitor before choosing a resolution.
- Click the Apply button to preview your changes.
If you need to make adjustments, keep repeating the last three Steps above.
- Close the Settings app window when you’re done configuring the second monitor.
In Windows 10, the first monitor features the taskbar notifications, date, and time. Also, the Action Center slides in only on the first monitor. Both monitors show the Start button and pinned icons, plus buttons showing any open window.
In Windows 7, connect the second monitor, and then follow these steps to configure the monitor:
- Right-click the mouse on the desktop and choose Screen Resolution from the pop-up menu.
- Click the menu button next to Multiple Displays and choose the Extend These Displays option.
Use the mouse to adjust the two monitor preview icons so that they line up onscreen as they do in the real world.
- Click OK.
In Windows 7, the taskbar stays on only the main monitor. Otherwise, you can use both monitors in Windows as though your PC had one, huge monitor.
The dual-monitor trick works only when the display adapter features two monitor connectors, such as two white DVI connectors.
If the adapter features a single DVI and then an HDMI, it might not work for two monitors. That’s because DVI splitter cables are available and you might be able to use one to pull off the dual-monitor trick.
“Some versions of Windows may not support dual monitors.”
Graphics memory is the limiting factor for the success or failure of a single PC running two monitors. When graphics memory is plentiful, the trick works well. When graphics memory is low, you may see video performance suffer. In that case, lower both monitors’ resolution, to see whether that helps.
How to Replace Your Computer Monitor
Computer monitors grab their video signals from the video circuitry in your computer, so you can tell what type of monitor you need by looking at your computer’s video port — the little connector on the back of your computer where you plug in the monitor’s cable.
- Determine what video port (or ports) are on your computer.
Fortunately, many computers come with several video ports, so they’re compatible with several types of monitors. You may have an analog (VGA), digital (DVI), or High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connection.
- Figure out what features you need (or want) and how much you’re willing to spend.
Smaller monitors are cheaper; larger monitors are more expensive. You can choose between LCD monitors (including widescreen monitors) and HDTV sets. (You can also use an old-style CRT TV, but their low resolution can barely display an icon — don’t bother.)
- If you have a desktop computer (rather than a laptop), shut down Windows, turn off your computer, and unplug and remove your old monitor.
Unplug your old monitor’s power cord from the wall before you unplug the monitor’s video cable from its little port on the back of your computer’s case.
- Remove the old monitor from your desktop.
Don’t throw your old monitor into the trash because many monitors contain noxious chemicals.
- Remove the new monitor from the box, place the monitor on your desk, and push the plug on the end of its cable into your computer’s video port on the back of your computer.
The cable should fit into only one port. If the cable doesn’t fit right, you’re either trying to plug it into the wrong port, or your monitor isn’t compatible with your computer.
- Plug the cable’s other end into your monitor’s matching port, and plug the monitor’s power cord into the wall or a power strip.
This port can be DVI, VGA, or HDMI.
- Turn on your monitor and then turn on your computer.
You should be able to see words on the screen as the computer spews its opening remarks.
- If you bought a fancy monitor with speakers, cameras, or other goodies, plug the cords from the monitor’s speakers or camera into their spots in the back of your computer.
If Windows doesn’t recognize your new monitor’s special features, you probably have to install the drivers that came on the CD that came with the monitor.
Considering Video Card Features
When you decide to buy a new video card, you need to make sure that the video card fits your motherboard and has the chipsets that you want. Also look for these video card features and specifications while you shop:
Onboard random access memory (RAM): Today’s video cards typically have anywhere from 64MB to 512MB of memory.
Buy a card with as much onboard RAM as possible. More RAM equals higher resolutions with more colors on-screen.
Driver and standards support: Any PC video card should fully support the Microsoft DirectX video standards.
Gamers will also appreciate robust OpenGL support (an open video standard used in 3D action games).
Maximum resolution: The higher the resolution a card can produce, the more your monitor can display.
Video capture and TV output: A card with these features can create digital video footage from an analog TV signal and transfer the image you see on your monitor to a TV, VCR, or camcorder.
TV tuner: A card with a built-in TV tuner can turn your PC into a TV set. You can use a traditional antenna or connect the card to your cable or satellite system.
Multiple monitor support: Many new video cards allow you to connect two monitors to one card. You can either see two separate desktops or make the two monitors into a seamless desktop.
MPEG hardware support: A video card with built-in encoding and decoding features can really speed things up when you’re working with MPEG files.