3 Easy Steps to a Dual Monitor Setup and an Extended Desktop
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Using two monitors How to Use Your Laptop Like an External Monitor How to Use Your Laptop Like an External Monitor Don't have an extra monitor? If you have a separate laptop, you can repurpose the laptop as a second screen to boost screen space. Read More is a simple enough concept. You would think that all you’d have to do is just plug any video display into the applicable port on your laptop or PC and you’re good to go. The multiple monitors should just instantly turn on and start working, right? Well, that’s usually not the case.

There are many things to consider when you want to use two or more monitors. Does your computer even support dual monitors? How many outputs does your graphics card support? What type of video ports does your computer have?

Once you’ve assessed these basic questions, you’re ready to start configuring your multiple monitor setup.

How to Use Two Monitors

There are three things that you need to consider when you want to use extra displays with your computer.

  1. Does your computer support dual monitors?
  2. Is your video card capable of more than one monitor?
  3. Have you set up your dual monitors correctly?

This article will cover each of these areas and should help you troubleshoot the issues you may be having with your extended displays.

Step 1: Check What Ports Are Available

Before you start shoving wires into ports in the back of your PC or the sides of your laptop, stop and take a closer look at those ports so that you know what you’re looking at.

Modern computers handle video via an HDMI port, but older computers feature a variety of other ports:

  • HDMI: A High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port is a computer interface that transmits uncompressed video and audio.
  • DisplayPort: A DisplayPort was originally designed as a superior video port to older VGA and DVI ports, but is far less popular on modern computer systems than the HDMI port.
  • DVI: The Digital Visual Interface was originally designed by the Digital Display Working Group, and was a next generation to the inferior VGA port. Many older computers have one of several configurations of the DVI port.
  • Thunderbolt: A Thunderbolt port is a combination of several technologies, including DisplayPort and PCI Express, in combination with a power supply to power the external display if required.
  • VGA: Older computers typically come with the famous blue VGA port. The 15-pin VGA has been used for computer video for many years, but has been largely replaced by the newer video ports like Thunderbolt and HDMI.

Many computers include a mix of these ports. Examining the back of your desktop PC or the side of your laptop, you should see one or more of them.

laptop video ports

Typically, if your computer has two ports on it, the video card is usually capable of sending an output signal to both. If there’s only one port, then it probably can’t.

However your desktop might have available slots for additional video cards. So, even if there’s only one port on your desktop, don’t hesitate to pop the cover and check for any available slots for another video card.

When it comes to laptops, another option is to purchase and use compatible docking stations. You may have a docking station option that could extend your laptop (which may only have a single video port), into a docking station that features two or more ports.

So even if you only have one video port available, definitely research the graphics cards Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics Card: 7 Things You Need to Know Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics Card: 7 Things You Need to Know Wondering if you should use an integrated vs. dedicated graphics card? Here's what you need to know to make your decision. Read More if you want to set up a dual monitor laptop.

Step 2: Check Your Video Card Settings

If you have two ports but you can’t seem to get both ports to work at the same time, the next step is to determine if your video card even has the ability to display to multiple monitors.

It’s easy enough to check—just plug in both monitors. The, click on the start menu and type Display. Click on “Change display settings”.

Windows 10 display settings

In the display settings, you may actually see the multiple displays come up, with some disabled and others set up as either your primary display or as an extended display 3 Things You Can Do With Old Computer Monitors 3 Things You Can Do With Old Computer Monitors Unused electronics are the bane of the modern life. Perfectly functional gadgets sit quietly in a corner of the store room, doing nothing. Old LCD monitors are a perfect example of that. Read More .

You can ignore those for now and instead click on Advanced display settings at the bottom of this window.

Windows 10 advanced display settings

On the next page, you should see Display adapter properties for each connected display if your graphics card “sees” the number of monitors that you’ve plugged in.

dual advanced displays

If more than one shows up, then the card is capable of displaying to multiple monitors.

If you only see one, then you should quit here because even though there are two ports, the card is only able to utilize one at a time. Much of your success in this comes down to hardware capability, so checking this first is the most important thing.

However, if you’ve confirmed that your video card can “see” all displays that you’ve plugged in, yet you can’t seem to get additional monitors to work, don’t give up. There are a few little techniques you can use to fix your own issues.

Step 3: Research Your Graphics Card

If you’re still not certain whether your computer can support dual monitors, another option is to research your graphics card.

First, look up the brand of your graphics card.

  1. Click on Start and type display manager. Click to open the Display Manager.
  2. Expand Display adapters.
  3. Note the brand and make of your graphics adapter.

Windows 10 Device Manager display adapters

Head to Google and research the brand of your graphics adapter, followed by the word “multi-display” or “multi-monitor”.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some evidence of whether or not your graphics card can handle multiple monitors.

Alternative: Using a Daisy Chain Setup

If your laptop or PC has a DisplayPort, then you might be able to take advantage of what’s called multi-stream transport (MST) to daisy-chain two monitors off the single DisplayPort.

Requirements:

  • Your graphics card needs to have at least a DisplayPort 1.2 port.
  • You need a monitor that’s DisplayPort 1.2 MST-capable.
  • Update your graphics card drivers to the latest version.

Daisy-chaining with a DisplayPort is very simple.

  1. Connect your PC to the DisplayPort in the first DisplayPort-capable monitor.
  2. If your monitor is MST-capable, you’ll see a DisplayPort Out port. Connect that output port to the input DisplayPort port on the second monitor.
  3. Go into the Display Settings on your computer and Enable DisplayPort 1.2
  4. In the menu settings on the last monitor, disable DisplayPort 1.2 mode.

Now, in the Display Settings screen, you should see both monitors detected. You can arrange them to either mirror or extend your desktop.

There is also the option to split an HDMI signal How to Split an HDMI Signal to Multiple Displays (And 3 High-Quality HDMI Splitters) How to Split an HDMI Signal to Multiple Displays (And 3 High-Quality HDMI Splitters) HDMI splitters can help you solve HDCP errors. Here are our best HDMI splitter recommendations and why they're valuable to have. Read More to multiple monitors.

Alternative: Using USB Monitors With DisplayLink

Even if your PC or laptop graphics card only supports a single output port, you can still extend your system with a second display using a USB-powered monitor and DisplayLink software.

You can find many external displays that will connect to your computer system and provide a second screen. The great thing about these monitors is that many are powered by the USB port itself, so you don’t need another power supply. This is great for using a laptop with a second display when you’re mobile.

Installing one of these monitors is as easy as plugging it in, and installing free DisplayLink software that’ll make it all work.

man using multiple displays

Configuring Your Dual Monitor Setup

Whichever approach you take to set up a dual monitor setup, you configure it all in the Display Settings area.

Open Display Settings by pressing Start, and typing Display Settings. Click on Display Settings to open the configuration menu.

Once you have one or more external displays connected and detected by your computer, click on either of the detected monitors to configure it.

Windows 10 select and rearrange multiple displays

The example above is a laptop with a connected USB-capable monitor mounted in a vertical position. You can change a monitor from landscape into portrait mode in the display settings under the Scale and layout section.

portrait display settings

Thanks to the variety of technologies available today, there’s always a way to attach additional monitors to your computer. This is even true if the system itself doesn’t have any secondary ports.

Better Productivity With Multiple Monitors

As you can see, there are a lot of points in the process where some people would give up and conclude that it just doesn’t work.

It comes down to just making sure your video card is capable of doing this (most are these days), and then playing around with those display settings and making sure that the monitors are configured correctly. If you have one DisplayPort, consider the daisy-chain option. And if all else fails, buy a USB monitor and install DisplayLink software.

If you’re shopping for monitors, make sure you’re aware of the differences between monitor refresh rates 60Hz vs. 144Hz vs. 240Hz: Do Monitor Refresh Rates Matter? 60Hz vs. 144Hz vs. 240Hz: Do Monitor Refresh Rates Matter? Buying a new monitor? You're probably wondering whether or not the refresh rate matters. Here's how 60Hz, 144Hz, and 240Hz differ. Read More .

Explore more about: Computer Monitor, Multiple Monitors, Multitasking, Workspace.

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  1. Simon
    December 13, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    "It’s easy enough to check—just plug in both monitors. The, click on the start menu and type Display. " - not always the case. On Fedora 29, if I use one monitor, the second port does not appear in any list and either monitor and either port can be use on it's own. As soon as I plug both monitors in (one on VGA and one on DVI) the DVI monitor (no matter which one is plugged in) comes up with "Out of range" and the VGA shows the secondary desktop with NO access to any menu or other diagnostic options.

    If I use a Live CD of Mint 19, both monitors work correctly.

  2. Surendra Gulati
    June 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Find your guidance helpful will try and revert on success

  3. Luv
    May 26, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Hi

    So I read it however could not get the whole of it I guess. In my case I have laptop which I dock and use. There would be three screens, one have to duplicate and the other I need to extend to it works. Now when I disconnect and move to other docking station (same make and model ) it does not display and when I change display settings it does not let me save and I have to restart to make changes to display settings. Can that be sorted out that when I switch docking station, It detects monitors on its own not having me restart my laptop.

  4. Sachin
    May 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Ryan
    Good info. I have got it working as per your guide. Only one problem persists.
    I have Acer aspire 5745g laptop with 6 GB ram. (Upgraded). Graphics card Nvidia. I have external LCD monitor which I connect with VGA connector to make it dual monitor setup. It works a few hours then suddenly shuts (power off). I believe heating might be issue. So I used cooling pad below laptop which increased this power off time but still it switched off suddenly. What else can I do?

  5. eric
    December 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

    My is trying to make two external monitors display output from easy worship. Am using an HP desktop with geoforce graphic card. The card has VGA,HDMI and DVI ports. I had to use DVI to VGA converter to gain two VGA ports. Now I need to make the port that connects to my primary monitor as the main display, but getting the other VGA and HDMI ports to display simultaneously is the issue. When I duplicate the main display with the DVI ports it will be showing my background activities, which the audience are not meant to see.
    Could it be that the graphic card is not capable of handling this?

  6. Raul
    November 20, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Champion! Great article, thanks for the help, totally resolved my problem!

  7. Barry
    August 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I have a Sony VAIO laptop linked to an HP Pavilion 22xi Monitor and external keyboard and mouse. The resolution on the monitor is not as sharp as the laptop. At one time if I closed the lid on the laptop the monitor resolution changed and was as sharp as the laptop, which was great. However, my version of Windows 10 was automatically upgraded and since then I cannot get the monitor resolution to match the laptop resolution.

    Would appreciate any ideas to resolve the issue.

  8. Gopalakrishnan Manickam
    July 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Gentlemen,

    Another amazing article clearly explaining the step-by-step procedure... Kudos guys.

    But strangely doesnt fix my dual monitor issue.

    Laptop specs :

    Dell Inspiron 5558 with i7, Intel (R) HD Graphics 5500 and NVIDIA GeForce 920M (other specs are irrelevant so skipping them)

    Ports :

    Comes with just 1 HDMI port. So have used a HDMI Splitter.

    Monitors

    LG IPS Full HD 27" Monitor
    Samsung SyncMaster 932NW (VGA) - Have used a VGA to HDMI Convertor and works fine (no issues at all) when connected to the Laptop HDMI Port.

    Challenge :

    Now that I have a dual monitor set up, using the HDMI Splitter (not switch) here is the cables are connected.

    HDMI Splitter has an input port (source being Laptop) and 2 output ports (to connect to any HD Devices)
    Connected the laptop to the Input port (Splitter)
    Connected the VGA Monitor (using the VGA-HDMI convertor) to one of the Output Port (Splitter)
    Connected my LG IPS Full HD 27 inch to the other Output Port (Splitter)

    Everything works fine, in the sense I am seeing display in all the three viz. Laptop, LG and the Samsung (VGA). But the problem is both the external displays (LG and the Samsung) displaying the same image. Strangely in the screen resolution I am able to see only 2 displays (either the LG and the Laptop or if I disconnect the LG and connect the Samsung, the Laptop and the Samsung Monitor). Why is only one of the external displays appearing in the Screen resolution screen (using Windows 8.1 almost missed this info).

    I tried to see if there are any tweaks in the Bios, none.
    Tried just attaching one monitor (to the splitter) and restarted and later connected the other monitor. Did the same for both the external monitors. Still I continue to see only one monitor displayed under "Screen Resolution".

    Sorry for the big write-up, I just want to be as clear as possible.

    Question : With my configuration, shouldnt I be able to configure both the external displays for different images (instead of the clone). I have also tried the Dell settings no go.

    Would appreciate if experts can kindly respond please.

    Warm Regards
    KK

  9. Karan
    July 4, 2017 at 7:24 am

    hi..i have recently assembled a computer for my editing work. Im using nvidia gt 730 gpu and it supports upto three monitors.. So i connected my cdmi 22" monitor to HDMI port and the standard square LCD to the vga port. Now the problem is that if i extend my primary monitor which is the 22" HDMI to the LCD then the desktop is blasted on the LCD screen and i cannot use it to work. If i duplicate the HDMi monitor to the second monitor then the entire display settings on both the monitors become low resolution which i don't want.

    Could you please help me and advise as to what to do that i keep the resolutions independent on each monitor as i would be doing a lot of photo and video editing work for which i purchased the HDMI screen.

  10. Y.S.Suriyabandara
    March 26, 2017 at 6:24 am

    cant we extend the screens using a 4port VGA splitter with my core 2 duo pc and 4 monitors

  11. Karen V.
    February 20, 2017 at 9:22 am

    HOW DO I BOOT UP WITH THE TWO MONITORS CONNECTED TO MY DESKTOP?

    I'm running Windows 10 and have a DELL P190S Monitor attached to my computer with a DVI-D cable. After boot up, I plug the Blue VGA Cable into the 2nd Monitor - a HP L1906. Everything works OK until I forget to unplug the 2nd Monitor before Rebooting. I've searched everywhere and cannot find any instructions for how to keep the 2 Monitors connected. Any suggestions - all welcomed. Thank You Karen V.

    • nozzel
      March 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

      i thinck that its happened when the vga port and hdmi we can use it booth

  12. Lisa Conway
    January 18, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I have dvi d and vga in each monitor no hdmi. This goes the same for my computer. Can i use vga splitter?

  13. robert henry
    November 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    How about when using a Win 10 Desktop computer, not a laptop. This is where I am having problems and I have used your suggestions but can not get them both to work . The TV is off the HDMI port and the monitor, the standard monitor port of any desktop...even using Intel HD graphics setup it seems the 2nd monitor stalls - shows part of the desktop but the mouse can not open anything within that 2nd monitor

  14. Ted
    November 29, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Third display needs to be finessed each time I log back on. I have to press the reset button on the monitor once, then wait for the led to go green, then press button four more times. Then I'm good till the next time I power up.

  15. Brian
    November 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I have a weird issue with a few computers at where I connect 2 monitors to a video card and one of the displays is dim but still displays. After a short while the screen seems to turn off, and the only way to get the screen to work again is reconnect the VGA cable or restart the computer. I am unsure what this problem is but am wondering if it's a power supply problem.

  16. Deb
    November 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Great info, thanks. Is it possible to have a card that once supported two monitors, and through, I don't know, some strange act of God, now only supports one? Because I had been running two screens for more than a year, and after unplugging my computer to move it, it now won't accept a second screen through the HDMI port. And after I saw your article, I looked up and saw it only had one PnP listed. Is that possible??

  17. Ronald Campher
    October 9, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I can generate a clone screen but not extended screen with my acer1 , I'm using windows 7, what do I do.

  18. PB
    October 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Worked great thanks!

  19. Mark
    August 25, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I have two old LG W1943S Monitors (VGA Port Only).

    I have Lenovo G40-70 laptop. Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4030U CPU @ 1.90GHz

    It has two video cards. Specs is Intel(R) HD Graphics Family 1GB RAM and AMD Radeon R5 M230 2GB

    I am using an ADT-V003-M VGA to USB Adapter.

    After struggling with the correct hardware driver to install, I finally did it! [ https://www.dropbox.com/s/ep7wbhglk466n8g/C360_2016-08-25-19-15-06-915.jpg?dl=0 ]

    Here's my problem:

    - The monitor I used with the VGA Adapter lags.
    - It crash if I set Screensaver to show to all the monitors. It works before when I only have two monitors.
    - I checked msinfo32>Components>Display and the VGA Adapter RAM says "Not Available." So I think it doesn't use Intel nor my AMD video card. I searched online and say that VGA Adapter use CPU and memory instead of video card. [ https://www.dropbox.com/s/z5xzjqydhe65tkn/Capture.JPG?dl=0 ]

    My question is:

    - If I use HDMI to VGA Converter like this: [ http://www.cdrking.com/?mod=products&type=view&sid=13407&main=154#.V77JMPl97cc ] will it use my Video Card and hopefully remove the lag?

    - Will I still be able to have the same setup where I have 3 monitors all in extended mode?

    Looking forward for your insight,. :)

  20. Preetish Anand
    June 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    i have my dell latitude E6430s on the docking station and its connected to 2 external DELL monitors all they work.
    but i want the laptop screen to work as well.
    Please advice preetishanand@gmail.com

    • Aadi
      August 1, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      hey mate i am not that old but i can definitely help you. All you have to do is go into the control panel and search change what closing the lid does and then choose do nothing. :)

      • Preetish Anand
        August 1, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        i m not closing lid.
        i want three of the screens to run together.

        • Aadi
          August 5, 2016 at 11:29 pm

          OK preetish. What you need to do is right click on the home screen and go to screen resolution. Under orientation where it says multiple displays, what you want to do is either choose extend these displays or duplicate these displays. Hope it helps :)

  21. Pat
    May 31, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Hello,
    I have 2 22inch Asus Monitors. Lenovo W530. I've got a couple scenarios where I can extend to 2 displays and also use the laptop monitor. But getting it to work was strange.

    Initially, I used VGA for one monitor and DVI -> USB for 2nd monitor. This worked.

    I then purchased the startech doc, that includes VGA, DVI, HDMI (it also has more USB ports, ethernet, sound, etc). So I can unplug the USB and walk away. I thought with these ports, I would just plug the VGA for one monitor, DVI for the other, and it'd work. But W530 would have one screen, then the other two monitors were clones of each other, and display would only show one external, and the laptop monitor.

    I then unplugged the DVI and used the DVI->USB adapter again, and I am back in business.

    So I am not sure what the deal is, but getting the additional monitor connected via DVI->USB is the only way I get Windows 7 to allow me to extend to all 3 screens.

  22. Giovie Young
    May 2, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    My husband was trying to setup my computer to be extended to 2 monitors but having problems in displaying my desktop to the monitors. So what I did was play around with changing the display settings until I cannot see my desktop anymore in my laptop. Probably I have clicked something that would display my desktop to one of the monitors which are not working still. I have restarted my computer and still no display coming out. It's black. What should I do?

  23. dogetech
    March 30, 2016 at 2:56 am

    I have a GeForce gtx 960 and I plugged in my monitor in the computer not into the video card. but I cant plug it into the video card because the slot is to big. i plugged it into the dvi port but when I turn the monitor on it says no signal....help

    • Aadi
      August 1, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Hi, I am only 11 but i might be able to help. First of all, i would reccommend getting a VGA cable instead of a dvi. It looks like a trapezium with holes in it. Next, find the VGA input in your PC/laptop. Plug it in to the monitor. Now, you can either duplicate the display or extend it. Extending the display means that you can complete two tasks at a time whereas duplicating the display means that you have exactly the same screen on both displays. Right click on the home screen and above personilization, choose screen resolution and choose duplicate/extend this display, whichever you want. If this does not work, it can either mean that the monitor could be faulty or your VGA/DVI input on your laptop/PC is faulty. If this happens, I would reccommend you to buy a USB to DVI/VGA/HDMI to plug in. :)

  24. Tom Palmer
    March 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I have an HP laptop and I have connected a 2nd monitor. Everything works, but there is one problem. The "scale" or "zoom" is different. My laptop screen is smaller print/ the extended screen is larger print. This includes the screen saver. on the extended screen, it is a zoomed in version of the one on the laptop screen.

    Any suggestions?

    thanks,

    • Mark
      June 25, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I've been battling this issue for 2 years, the best suggestion I have is to "co-ordinate" the resolution of both monitors.
      Start: go to the highest the resolution "setting number" of the second monitor, see if that works. This is tricky because there is no hard and fast rule with this, no matter what anyone says. The reason is that the resolution "capability" or "range of settings" of each monitor is different!
      In a sense you have to find the "happy medium".

      If you can't get that to work, the fall back solution is to "zoom out" from 100% to 90% or 75% or 67% , til the second monitor fits...... this sucks because it makes the 1st monitor's view, smaller too.
      Good Luck.

    • Aadi
      August 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Tom, Im 11 so I'm not that good at tech so this might be wrong. I had this when I first connected my laptop to my PC. The answer is simple, the screen resolution on your monitor is not as good as your laptop's. What you neeed to do is right click on the home screen and the choose screen resolution and then the control panel will pop up and then choose the highest screen resolution.If you want to maintain the same screen resolution as your laptop, extend the display instead of duplicating it. Hopefully i helped :)

  25. AndreaD
    January 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I have a Lenovo Flex 2-15 laptop, with a core i5 processor 1.70GHz. Then I recently purchased Upstar Dual monitors which each have their own power supply, and both VGA and DVI connection options. But my laptop has neither VGA or DVI ports so I also purchased a j5 Ultra Station (which I don't fully understand - that's a later session) which gives me additional USB ports, one VGA, one HDMI and it has an audio & a mic port and something called a "wormhole switch" (again, I don't know what that is).
    Previously I used one external monitor for the benefit of a larger screen and I told the computer to duplicate the screen onto the external monitor and to "do nothing" when I closed the lid so I could set my laptop aside when working at home. So as of right now, I have the same setting - do nothing and I set my laptop aside.
    I followed the above instructions to determine if my computer could handle the additional monitors and it detects 1/2...does this mean my laptop is 1 and the dual are being perceived as one instead of two individual? If so, what settings do I need to change/enable so that the dual monitors are detected individually so that I can use the "extend" option?
    Thank you from the bottom of a very technologically challenged, but eager to learn, fan member's heart! :-)
    AndreaD

    • Aadi
      August 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Andrea, I'm 11 and IT but the 1/2 means the duplicate displays. 1 is your laptop and 2 is the monitor. I would highly reccommend extending the displays as this essentially gives you two laptops in one. So right click on the home screen and choose screen resolution. Then where it says multiple displays click on the arrow and then choose extend :)

  26. Deepak Krish
    November 25, 2015 at 6:44 am

    My extended display turns off when i unplug my charger. Can anyone help me with this ?

  27. Doug
    February 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I am able to get a computer screen and a TV screen set up where the computer screen is a mirror of the laptop screen and the TV Screen is the extended screen. Everything seems to be working fine but I am trying to watch video surveilance footage on the large TV screen, the data gets choked up and the video will not show on the TV. If I mirror the large TV with the computer monitor everything works fine. But there is some issue when I try to use the Extend function. Cant figure it out

  28. Joe McDade
    January 25, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I have an ASUS with 8MB of RAM and have been running two (2) 24" monitors forever without an issue. I plug one via HDMI and the other DVI. The HP has sound so I use the HDMI for that monitor since HDMI carries sound. The Hyundai does not have sound so I use the DVI for it. I constantly have my e-mail up on the Hyundai and do all the rest of my work on the HP. Works well for me but admittedly, I'm not a gamer.

    • Will
      February 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      How did u set yours up? Im trying to do the same on my asus but one monitor goes to sleep as soon as i connect the other. If I start the comp with both connected then only the hdmi works

  29. Keith
    January 5, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Hello Ryan,
    I recently (February 15th, 2014) , upgraded Hard Drive on my Dell Dimension 2400XP, cooling fan, new video card, Nvidia 720 single VGA out), after retiring my 32" Vizio, (bought a "New" 50" Vizio, for home entertainment center), updated Ram, to 2G, was able to get Chrome downloaded, FINALLY, and got original Dell monitor, to switch to #2 extension, with my 32" Vizio, as my #1 HDMI base unit, and I added an older Sony 15" monitor, that I hooked up with S video out, (it was ghosting my #1 with very poor quality), so I was going to pickup this 1 X 4 VGA splitter, to get my 50", linked up, with my 32"(mirrored), and the Dell monitor (extension),to see if my hookup is right, (with a high grade VGA 50' 400hz Shielded Gold cable), Do you think I'm on the right track?
    I've done all this work on my own, after having the original WD40G, crash, I bought an external HD hookup kit, with all the connecting cables, power source, and online instructions, I rescued old HD, cloned OS, and everything to new 160GHD, I figured with what I spent to do all that, it was a matter of, "Why buy new, when I'm more than 2/3 of the way there" ? I may buy another 500G WD HD, ( I have recovered and cleaned up the crashed 40GHD, have 36% left on the 160HD), also used 32G & 16G flashdrives for personal file backup. Your instructions were very clear, that if you start trying to do more, and you strike out, go back to square one, but as others have pointed out, how do you get back to square one ? When you don't know how you got where you are, by mistakes the mistakes you've made.
    Trial and error, Ryan, set everything back to default,
    yes, thanks for the guiding light, your help is appreciated,

  30. Gabe
    December 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I have a situation where I am trying to do extended desktop with my laptop and a second monitor on a vga connection with one monitor being a generic pnp monitor and the other non pnp. I've been able to do dualview but for some reason I can't get my computer to do extended desktop/display. When I do it the second monitor turns off and says there's no signal. Any thoughts?

  31. Alex
    February 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I have a graphics card with 1 vga and two monitors with vga will the computer that has 1 vga be detected when the card is installed, thanks

  32. Nick
    January 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I have an AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB graphics card and I have been able to dual screen before. But lately it's not showing the VGA port monitor anymore. The monitor is on and working fine, and sometimes it'll display at start up, but when I'm actually on the computer I get nothing. It's really confusing me and I'm wondering why it's doing this. On the step in the advanced settings it's not showing my second monitor now, even though it's been working previously.

  33. Dawn
    January 23, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I have two laptops one with windows 7 and one with windows xp. I also have a gateway monitor. I would like to create one desk top with all 3 screens. Is this doable? Most of what I read is two monitors and one laptop. I have all we programs on one system, and accounting on the other system. I would like to open a app program on one computer, and my accounting on another, and have Internet on my monitor all using the same mouse for all three screens. doable?

  34. BC
    January 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Ryan,
    Here is what we are trying to do with dual monitors:
    One of the my physicians would like to work from home. Her office set up is with dual monitors. Main desktop is on the left and extends her desktop to the second monitor. She prefers to run 2 applications simultaneously, 1 on the main desktop monitor (ultrasound imaging software) and 1 on the extended desktop monitor (electronic medical record software, Epic). She likes to copy and paste information from one application to the other. We tried connecting to her work PC using a remote client server. She was unable to extend her desktop to the second monitor at home.
    My next thought is to connect using a VPN connection to the organization then use RDP to her desktop. Should she be able to extend her desktop to the second monitor at home then? We are currently waiting on authorization for the VPN.

    I found this interesting thread about using dual monitors over a VPN using RDP with Windows 7:

    Office workstation had Windows 7 Professional. The host computer needs to have Ultimate installed to allow the dual monitors to work using remote desktop. Upgraded to Ultimate and it works great.

    Our current set up is this:
    The host computer (work) has dual monitors and is running Window 7 ( I think Professional, but not sure)
    The remote computer (home) has dual monitors and is running Windows 7 Ultimate.
    You would think that using a VPN with RDP connection alone regardless of OS version would do this. Your thoughts?

    • Tomek
      February 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Maybe someone will find this helpfull...

      Once connected to remote desktop keep this in a plain window (do not maximize) and then resize the window to span both displays. Dependingly on the mutual position and display-specific resolution it may full or partially cover both displays. Then you can open both remote applications and reposition/resize their windows for your needs.

  35. Ann Nguyen
    December 13, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Ryan,
    How do you make the laptop screen as the 3rd screen rather than close the lid? I would like to use it as the 3rd monitor as well. I have the same set up like to have with one VGA and one HDMI. But only have the ability to use 2 LED monitors and not the laptop.

    Thanks,

    • Tomek
      February 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      Typical laptop with Intel 2500 or 3000 built-in graphics can support only TWO video streams. To be able to connect more displays one needs Intel Graphics 4000 or higher. Intel i7 with 4000, 4400 or 5000 GPU can support THREE video streams via its standard display port.

  36. Michael
    October 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I have an His Radeon HD 6850 an i still can't get two monitors to work lol i have hdmi 1.4 ,2dvi an one display port my dvi is 24+1 pin drives me nuts lol

  37. druv vb
    September 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Am waiting to buy my new GPU card (old one dozed off 3 weeks ago), with twin DVI out. With that am gonna get a second monitor, maybe a 23 or 27 inch. Very useful while video editing, working with different files, even when panning games (though it would look bad).

  38. GayashanNA
    September 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for these very useful information. Thank you acer designers, for not making me shave off my vga connector.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 15, 2012 at 2:13 am

      You're so lucky....I was cursing at the Sony designers when I had to shave off my VGA connector.

      • SPK
        December 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm

        I have a Lenovo IdeaCentre K330B desktop with a single HDMI output. I think the graphics is on board. Is it possible to connect 2 monitors to this 1 output and get extended view across the 2 monitors?

  39. Scutterman
    September 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    When my laptop was my main computer I had it hooked up to an external monitor via VGA and a I also had a USB DisplayLink adapter to add second external monitor. I found it quite easy to do that and have both monitors and the screen as extended displays. The thing that puzzled me is the laptop seemed slower when I used it without the external monitors, though that may have been altered perception.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 15, 2012 at 2:12 am

      I didn't notice any slowdown when I extended my display, but you never know. If you're setup includes the use of a card that draws additional power or CPU usage - I suppose there's a possibility. There's always the issue of different hardware designs. It could have been altered perception, but you never know without running benchmarks and testing it out.

      • Scutterman
        September 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        Well, I'd expect a bit of slowdown the more displays I attach, since the computer has more to draw on the screen every render cycle. But I actually noticed the opposite. If I still had it set up like that I'd run some benchmarks.

        As a web developer I'd love that, but that's going to be expensive - in terms of rewriting IE-only apps, training the workforce to use the new apps, and lower production while they get used to the change.

  40. Ben
    September 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I have seen setups with more than three displays. If just getting two to work, then those setups must be a real nightmare to pull off!

    • Ryan Dube
      September 15, 2012 at 2:11 am

      Wow - yeah, it's my dream to get 4+ going. I'm thinking of using two PC's with synergy running. Then again, I wonder what the limit is between using synergy on one PC after another...?

      That's something to try out and write an article about. Now where can I find 4 to 6 monitors to try this out. :-)

  41. Michael Jan Moratalla
    September 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I will soon be doing that after I got another 2 monitors for my 3 monitor setup.

  42. Emmanuel
    September 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    From my experience the dual screen setup makes things easier and more productive. I do a lot of programming and app development, and one thing i can say is i will never go back to single screen. Once your hooked to it you can't go back.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 15, 2012 at 2:10 am

      I agree 100% - I can't believe how much more productive it made me once I went to two screens. It's really painful when I have to resort to doing work on a single little laptop screen when I'm mobile. :-)

  43. Igor Rizvi?
    September 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Im considering to buy a second monitor for my setup.I have a hdmi output,and the question is next: is it better to huck it up via hdmi or stick to vga?

  44. Julian
    September 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Haven't seen a CRT in years now. I'd rather keep 1 monitor than have to extend to that at this point.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      It was a big-screen monitor that I had spare in my shop - nearly as much screen-space as the flatscreen display. I used it because I'm too cheap to go out and buy a new one for demonstration purposes - give me a break. :-)

  45. Richard Steven Hack
    September 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I did have a client once who had a desktop machine and also a large screen monitor which he wanted to be able to show videos to clients on in another room controlled from his desktop.

    I never got it to work properly. We managed to get the video on the large screen, but we couldn't get it to fill the large screen as he wanted.

    The user interface for using multiple monitors is just brain dead as well. If you click something wrong, you end up all over the place and spend most of your time recovering back to something that works. It really ought to be simpler.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      I agree - the nice thing about the Intel driver is that the graphics options have a section for "displaying onto a projector", which might have worked for a situation like you describe. A lot has to do with the abilities of the video card(s) and the driver software.

  46. James Poole
    September 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    That actually sounds easier than I would have thought. I assume that the desktop version would be basically the same thing.

  47. Ahmed Khalil
    September 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    i still not sure if MAC book pro is having this cabapiity