How to set up your second monitor in Windows 7, 8 and 10?

By ivan.diskin | July 25, 2018 |

greater than 8 minutes

We know of several reasons you might want to set up a second monitor on Windows. Maybe you are working with numerous tabs at once. Or perhaps, you feel the space available to you is congested in terms of size or limited regards what you could do with it.

After all, many people hypothesize that the use of multiple monitors to do specific tasks greatly enhances productivity. We are inclined to believe that they are right.

A second display or an extended field of view solves all the problems we brushed on earlier. Now we will guide you on how to set it up and use it. In the underlying sense of it, Windows allows the addition of a second or even a third monitor (if your device came with 2 VGA ports or similar components) and supports the setup.

  1. Make preparations for the setup:

  • Before you begin connecting the devices involved, you have to determine what mode of connection you are going to use. Most people employ ports. If you prefer to go through this means, then you have to check or find out if your computer and the monitor involved have corresponding or similar port types.

There are several port standards like DP, HDMI, VGA, DVI, and so on. If you find one of the outlined items on your computer and intend to make use of it, you must ensure that there is a port on the other device which matches or corresponds to what you found. If you do have enough ports for the number of monitors you possess, then you would need to purchase a video adapter and add it to the setup.

  • You also need to find out and confirm that your PC is capable of supporting the setup you intend to go with for now. Windows requires extra graphics processing power to run stuff on multiple monitors, and this fact is sometimes reflected in the number of ports that a computer manufacturer provides on a given PC.

If your device has only an integrated graphics card, then you will see only two video ports for connecting displays. Apparently, the vast majority of computer motherboards equipped with just regular video capability support only dual-monitor setups.

If you have a powerful discrete or dedicated graphics card, then we expect you to find at least three ports. Nevertheless, the confirmation of this does not guarantee that you will be able to make use of all of them at once (the same time). We know of some NVIDIA cards, for example, that fail at such tasks.

You can find out if things will go well by taking note of the name of GPU and its model, opening your web browser, and doing a search for the keywords or details you acquired. If you find out that your current hardware components are not enough to do the job you want, you might have to consider purchasing a new card, but this is a topic for another day.

  • The last thing you need is a cable for obvious reasons. Most firms that manufacture monitors often ship them with a compatible cable for the ports you intend using. Check if yours came with one. Connect that cable to the two points required (the ports on both devices).
  1. Work out the connection:

In theory, if you did everything correctly, your computer should detect that a monitor or an external display device has been connected, and it is supposed to make the necessary arrangements and adjustments. If this fails to happen, then something is probably wrong.

Ø To identify the problem, you must start by checking out the state of your device drivers, especially the ones for display that handles the operation you are involved with currently. The chances are that your computer is running outdated or corrupted graphics drivers and this issue prevents things from going as smoothly as they should.

The obvious solution to the stated problem would be for you to upgrade your drivers. You can go about this in different ways:

  • We advise that you download and run Auslogics Driver Updater. With this app, you can employ the automatic method of updating drivers, which is easily the best way of getting the job done. The recommended app works by performing a scan on your PC to identify the missing, corrupted, or outdated drivers.

Once it completes the identification process, it will show you a report on the issues it detected. Finally, you can move on to use the option to upgrade your graphics drivers (or even all your device drivers if you want) to their latest manufacturer-recommended versions.

  • The proposed approach above is the fastest, most efficient, and risk-free of updating device drivers. If for some strange reason you decide not to go with it, then you would have to do the job the manual way. This method of updating drivers software is far from being an easy or straightforward one because you would have to carry out all the operations a program would have done for you had you gone with the approach we advised.
  • At the end of it all, after you have downloaded and installed the necessary driver software, you will have to restart your system to let the new changes take effect. After Windows comes on, your operating system will settle down as usual, and the fresh drivers will begin their work.
  1. Configure the settings for the displays:

If everything went well with the previous operation, then we expect that Windows will have detected the monitor you connected. Therefore, it is time you configured it for use or set out the parameters for its work.

(If Windows failed to detect the device you connected, then you must continue with the steps below and click on Detect when the program window opens. Otherwise, you must restart your PC once more and try again)

We will provide instructions for the most recent versions of Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10).

  • Right-click on any area void of icons or objects on your desktop screen (free space). From the short menu list that appears, you must select Screen resolution
  • After the required program window comes up, you must click on the drop-down menu for Display and select the needed option. You must do the same for Resolution and Orientation and choose the necessary values
  • Under Multiple displays, there are several options to choose from, and your needs should determine what you go with here. If you are in doubt, then going through the brief explanation below would do you a whole lot of good:
  1. Duplicate these displays: Go with this option if you want to see the same thing on both screens at once
  2. Extend these displays: This option allows Windows to present the displays which form part of one big contiguous screen.
  3. Show desktop only on 1: If you select this option, Windows will make use of only your primary monitor as the display screen. It will disable the second monitor (the one you connected)
  4. Show desktop only on 2: If for some critical reason you prefer to use the second monitor as your display screen and it alone, then this option is what you have been looking for in the strictest sense of it
  • Now you have to set or choose a particular monitor to serve as your primary display screen. The main display screen is noticeably the primary one where Windows will show your shortcuts and some other essential icons or objects. By default, it should be the first screen that serves your computer. Nevertheless, you can always change it to the second monitor you connected not so long ago

If you are viewing these settings on a particular screen and you do not see the checkbox for Make this my display (to tick), then it means Windows has already set the display you are on as the main one.

  • Once you are done making the necessary changes and setting the required variables, you must click on the Apply button. Windows might prompt you with a dialog box requesting confirmation for the changes you made. Click on the Keep changes button to confirm (of course, you would want to save the work you spent good time working on)
  • You can always save the changes by clicking on the OK button regardless of what happens. Now you are free to get on with using the displays.

If you are running the latest version of the Microsoft operating system (Windows 10), you will have to go through a slightly different set of instructions. We have what you need all the same:

  • On you desktop screen, you must right-click on any area that is free of icons and object. A short menu list should appear. Select Display settings from the options available there
  • After the required program window comes up, you must click on a specific display to alter the settings for it. Here, a defined mode of identification for the displays exists. Windows typically assigns the number 2 to your second monitor, and similarly, your primary monitor gets the number 1.

If you have doubts about these selections or you are not sure that they are in order, you must click on the Identify button. Windows will now force your primary monitor to display the number 1 to prove its correctness, and the number 2 should appear on your second monitor to set things right

  • Click on any display to highlight it if you want to edit the settings for it. Note that some settings are applied the same way to both screens in every condition, so if you make some alterations to such configurations, their effects would be felt and seen on the two screens

Choose the required variables and options and move on

  • Click on the drop-down menu for Multiple displays to see the list of options available. The guide below would probably come in very handy if you are sure of what to do at this stage:
  1. Duplicate these displays: If you go with this option, the same content becomes viewable on both monitors
  2. Extend these displays: This one allows you to open a specific application on one monitor and launch a different app on the other without both programs interfering with the operations of one another
  3. Show desktop only on 1: We feel this option is one users should return to after they have finished doing whatever work they needed to execute using the other functionalities available. With it, they do not have to disconnect the cables they linked earlier only to reconnect it later.
  4. Show desktop only on 2: This option is useful in cases where you do not want to view anything from your PC screen or scenarios where you prefer to use only the display on the second monitor because it is the bigger screen (regarding size, of course), or its quality is significantly better.
  • By default, on Windows 10, your primary monitor (the one your operating system assigned the number 1) is usually the main display where you see your shortcuts, icons and other essential objects

If the need arises for you to use your second monitor as the primary display, then you must select the other monitor (the one your operating system used the number 2 to represent) to highlight it. You would then have to tick the checkbox for Make this my main display, and you should be good to go

  • As usual, Windows might prompt you with a dialog box requesting confirmation for the changes that you made. Click on the Keep changes button to ensure Windows saves the new settings
  • Click on the OK button if it is available. Exit the windows you opened.

Note that you can always make use of this combination of buttons to access some essential settings for the display quickly whenever you wish: CTRL and the letter P key. Now you can begin to make use of the two monitors the way you like.

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