The dual monitor setup greatly helps your productivity. From having multiple browser windows open to using complex sets of editing tools for photos or videos, to having guides open on a second screen for research or gaming, it’s a great way to maximize your productivity.
If you’re interested in these kinds of settings, our guide can show you the way, and Windows 10 makes it easier than ever.
Step 1: check your I / O panel and GPU connections
Your PC has an area for all important cable connections, usually called the I / O panel. If it’s been a while since you last looked there, take a look. prior to you buy a secondary monitor. If you have a discrete (non-integrated) GPU, there may also be a GPU section with its own ports to take stock. Take a quick photo of this entire section for quick reference if necessary.
Now check what kind of display connections you have to work with. For modern monitors and PCs, the two common options are HDMI and DisplayPort, and newer models also offer USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 for A / V data. It may also have a DVI-I port to handle older digital / analog connections. , and some PCs may still have a VGA port (although we don’t recommend using it for a second monitor).
Make sure you have at least two of these display ports for two monitors. Consider which replacement port the new monitor will connect to and what type of connection you will need.
You can also use a monitor as a second display with a laptop, as long as that laptop has two compatible display ports of its own. The laptop screen itself can also be used as a second monitor with the correct settings, although that’s not as common.
Step 2: make sure your monitors are compatible and connect them
With the port information in hand, you’re ready to choose the best new monitor for your dual-screen setup. We have some tips to help you get started and a list of budget templates that are helpful for saving money. Verify that the monitor includes the correct type of port for the open connection of your PC and also purchase the necessary cables. For a smooth full-screen experience, it’s a good idea to choose a monitor with a “bezel-less” or thin-bezel display.
Now you are ready to place both monitors on your desk and connect them to your PC.
Step 3: go to Display Settings in Windows 10
Turn on your PC. When you get to the start screen, right-click on an empty part of the screen and choose Screen settings.
The window that appears will show your connected displays, which display is your primary display, and which side the secondary display is located on (you can choose a different side by dragging the display numbers). If you don’t see your second monitor appear, try disconnecting the cables and reconnecting them. There is also a wireless option if you scroll down and choose Connect to a wireless display – less common but potentially useful. If it still doesn’t work, check for Windows 10 updates, restart and try again.
Step 4: choose your viewing option
If your two monitors appear, you must choose how they will work. Select your secondary monitor at the top, then scroll down the Screen settings window and select the Multiple screens list to see your options.
You have two main options. The first is Extend the desktop to this screen. This will make your two monitors function as a single full monitor with an extended desk between which you can move things freely, the ideal choice for most dual monitor users. The other option is Desktop duplicated in 1 and 2. This option is typically reserved for teaching and training setups where one screen faces students.
Step 5: review additional settings and adjust
While you are in Screen settings, adjust other functions so that both monitors are configured the way you need. You can change the orientation and resolution of either monitor by clicking on it and then selecting one of the options below. For example, if you are a photographer editing a photo, you may want to buy a secondary 4K monitor and set it for a higher resolution for the photo while keeping your editing tools and menus on the main screen. Please note that the resolution limits will also be limited by the video and GPU output standards.
You can also change the scale, adjust the brightness, enable Night Light mode to work in darker conditions, and more.
Set individual settings for each monitor as needed, then exit the setup menu and start experimenting. Try dragging and dropping apps and browser tabs between your monitors to make sure you have the settings you want. Also change the shortcuts and icons you need. Now every time you start your PC, your dual monitor system will be ready and waiting for you.
If you continue to have issues with your dual monitor performance, we suggest that you take a closer look at your GPU and what it can support, as well as other hardware limitations on your PC. Our troubleshooting guide can help you find more specific causes of multi-monitor problems.