How to Add a Second Monitor in Windows

How to Add a Second Monitor in Windows

Adding a second monitor to your laptop or desktop computer is a straightforward task in the Microsoft Windows environment.

Connection Considerations

The first step in using a second monitor is getting it physically connected to the computer.

  1. First, take a look at which ports your computer has. On laptops, they're usually along the sides, but sometimes, you can find them on the back. Desktops always have them on the back.
  2. Figure out what display ports you have. Some might be familiar to you, like HDMI. Others might be entirely alien.
  3. Next, take a look at your monitor. Which ports does it have? The ports are usually on the back of the monitor. They're also commonly on the underside of monitors too.
  4. Select the right cable to connect your monitor and your PC.
    • VGA and DVI: Older computers may have DVI or VGA ports. These connectors rely on a series of metal pins, which are usually on the cable. The ports, then, have a series of holes to accommodate the pins. VGA is a lower resolution standard definition connection. DVI is capable of basic HD. If you have a newer monitor, you may have a hard time connecting, because support for DVI and VGA has been dropped by most. You may have luck converting from DVI to HDMI, though.
    • HDMI: HDMI is the most widely supported type of display connection. Almost all TVs rely on HDMI and most computer monitors have at least one HDMI port.
    • DisplayPort and USB-C: Things get a little more complicated with DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and USB-C connections. You won't find these as commonly, but dedicated graphics cards and higher-end laptops may have DisplayPort connections. Relatively recent computer monitors also support DisplayPort. As with HDMI, Mini DisplayPort connections save space on mobile devices, and you can find cables with Mini DisplayPort on one end and standard DisplayPort on the other.

    You probably know USB-C as the connection on current Android smartphones, but its a fast enough connection to support a monitor. In fact, it's the main option in recent Macbooks. If your computer only offers USB-C video output, consider a monitor that supports USB-C input. Otherwise, purchase a cable with a USB-C connection on one end and either HDMI or DisplayPort on the other.

  5. Plug your cable in to both your computer and monitor using a matching pair of ports.
  6. Turn your monitor on.

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