How to setup two monitors – How to set up two monitors on your Windows PC

How to Setup Dual Monitors

Using dual monitors refers to using two physical display devices to increase the viewing space running on a single computer. Microsoft Windows Operating Systems and Mac OS X now support dual and multiple monitor configurations.

Setting up dual monitors is easy. However, it requires the user to add a second video card or install a video card that can support a dual head or two separate physical outputs. The following instructions are for those with only one video card installed in their computers:

Make sure that the computer is working fine and that it can support more than one video card. Boot in safe mode to make sure that only one video adapter and monitor is shown in Device Manager.

Next, turn off the system and install the second video card. Once installed, connect the second monitor.

If the installation is done correctly, the computer should boot the same way as always and the second monitor should still appear dark. Depending on the presence of the correct drivers bundled with the OS, drivers for the second video card may have to be installed.

Configuring Dual Monitors under Microsoft Windows

Check Device Manager. To do this, right-click My Computer then choose Properties > Hardware > Device Manager. There should be 2 monitors under the Display Adapters.

To configure the second monitor, right-click the desktop and choose Properties. Go to the Settings tab where there are two boxes, one bigger than the other. These represent the two monitors plugged into the computer. Click the second window marked “2” and change the second monitor’s resolution and color depth. Make sure that the display parameters chosen are within the monitors’ limits.

Do not forget to click the “Extend my Windows desktop into this monitor” option. If this is done properly, the 2 monitors should have the same size. Click OK and the 2nd monitor should work properly.

Troubleshooting Dual Monitor Setups

If the above instructions were followed but the second monitor is still not working, check if the operating system supports both monitors.

Also, check the kind of video card that was installed. If the computer has only one AGP slot and a PCI or ISA slot has to be used for the second video card, change the BIOS setting so that the PCI boots before the AGP display adapter.

Set up Dual Monitors Using a Splitter

In order to connect two monitors to the same computer, a VGA or DVI-D splitter can also be used, depending on the computer hardware’s specifications. A VGA splitter simply connects to a computer via a male-to-female VGA cable end. It then splits the digital signal into two parts, without compromising the quality of either part, and directs each part to its respective VGA cable end, allowing a single VGA cable to connect one computer to two separate VGA-based monitors. If a user wishes to connect more than two monitors to a computer, he/she should use a VGA splitter that uses more cable ends.

How to Display Separate Applications on Each Monitor

Although a VGA splitter connects two or more monitors to a single computer, the secondary monitor will be completely blank until the user makes the necessary changes to Windows. In order to display separate applications on each monitor:

1) Click the Start Menu and open the Control Panel.

2) Open the “Appearance and Personalization” category and select “Adjust screen resolution.”

3) Select the “Multiple Displays” menu and choose “Extend these displays.” This will activate the secondary monitor.

4) Launch the programs to be accessed and drag them to the secondary monitor. This is done by simply dragging the program window to the side of the primary monitor, causing the program to appear on the secondary monitor.

Videos Related to Dual Monitors Set Up on Windows

Two Monitors Are Better Than One


Dual Monitor Setup Checklist

There’s a good chance you already have everything you need to set up your second monitor.

If you need more detail about the necessary equipment, you’ll find it in the “Know your equipment” section.

  • Two monitors (one, if you’re setting up a laptop), which may be flat-panel LCD monitors or CRT monitors or one of each—it doesn’t matter. You can even use a TV screen as a monitor. If you’re going to buy a monitor, there are many points to consider in addition to the price. For example, picture quality, screen size, screen resolution, compatibility with your computer port, higher contrast ratio, and richness of color are some of the most important factors. Although we refer to two monitors in this article, you can use more than two as long as you have the connectors available on your computer.
  • Two monitor cables to connect the monitors to the computer (one for a laptop). These need to match the connection types available on your computer.
  • A monitor connection on your computer for each monitor you want to connect. These may be Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connectors, Video Graphics Array (VGA) connectors, HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connectors, or S-Video connectors for using your TV as a monitor. The connections will need to match the monitor cables. These ports connect to video cards in your computer. They are usually located on the back of your desktop computer and on the side or back of your laptop computer.
  • If you don’t have the connectors you need for your monitors, you can install a video adapter to change the connector type, or, if you’re using a desktop computer, you can replace your video card or install additional cards. This involves opening your computer, so you may want to seek assistance from a local computer retailer.

Know Your Equipment

The following table provides more information about the components for setting up an extra monitor.

EquipmentDescriptionMore information
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitorLCD monitors are thin, light, and high-resolution.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor: An older, bulkier monitor, still popular because of its low costCRTs are larger, heavier, and require more desk space but are cheaper than LCD models.
VGA (Video Graphic Array) portVGA ports are the most common computer ports, using an analog system to transfer dispislay data.
DVI (Digital Video Interface) portA DVI port provides a high-quality display using digital techniques to transfer the display data.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) portHDMI ports are the interface standard used for audio-visual equipment, such as HDTVs or home theater systems.
S-Video portAn S-Video port is one of the most common ways to connect computers to TVs.
Monitor cableA monitor cable carries information in graphic form from the computer to the monitor. The connectors on the cables you use must match the connectors on your computer.
Video adapter cable or converterYou’ll only need a converter if you’re trying to connect a computer with one type of graphics card, such as VGA, to a monitor using another technology, like DVI.

How to Set Up Your Second Monitor

Connect the Monitor Cables

When you’re ready to connect the monitor cable to the connector on your computer, make sure the monitor is plugged in and turned on. Your computer should automatically detect the second monitor, although you may have to restart your computer first.


When your computer detects the monitor, it should also automatically detect and apply the display settings appropriate for the monitor.

Configure Your Displays

You may want to adjust display settings yourself.

The settings shown here are for Windows 7, but they are basically the same as those available for Windows Vista. If necessary, you can drag the monitor icons so that they are arranged in the same way as the monitors on your desk. ClickIdentify to verify which monitor is 1 and which monitor is 2. You’ll see the numbers appear on your monitors.


Under Multiple displays, you can also adjust what you see on the second monitor. You have the following choices:

  • Extend your displays. This spreads your desktop over both monitors and lets you drag items between the two screens. This is how most people use two monitors, and it’s the default setting for desktop computers. After your monitor is set up, you can use your mouse to grab the title bar (the top portion) of a window and drag it to your new display. If a window does not move when you drag it, double-click the title bar first, and then drag it.
  • Duplicate your displays. This displays the same desktop on both monitors. For a laptop, this is the default setting. This is useful if you’re giving a presentation with your laptop connected to a projector or large monitor.
  • Show your desktop on only one monitor. This is most commonly used with a laptop if you want to keep your laptop screen blank after you connect to a large desktop monitor.

When you disconnect the additional monitor, the original display settings are restored to your primary display. In addition, all open files and program windows are moved to the primary display. The next time that you connect the same monitor, the Windows operating system automatically applies the display settings that you used the last time that you connected this monitor.


Normally, the process of setting up and using a second monitor is seamless and automatic. However, because it involves hardware and software from multiple sources, you may need to troubleshoot problems and make adjustments. For example, if your computer fails to detect the second monitor, first make sure it’s plugged in and turned on, and then, in the display settings, click “Detect”. Or your computer might not support multiple displays. Visit Microsoft Update, click “Custom”, and install any available hardware updates. You may also need to visit your computer manufacturer’s website to install an updated display driver. Or you may need to install an additional display adapter.

You’ll find that having two monitors can forever change the way you work with your computer. Be creative and experiment with the sizing of application windows and what information you can keep in constant view while doing multiple tasks. And if you have any questions or difficulties with this process, contact the Internet & Telephone experts!

How to Setup Two Monitors for Better Productivity – Intelligent Systems Monitoring

In many things, two is better than one. So it’s no surprise that 91 percent of study participants in the IDC InfoBrief Improving Productivity with Dual Monitors said they were more satisfied with two displays than a single one.

Many of them said that dual monitors were more efficient when that research was release last year, and based on my personal experience, I agree. It doesn’t take a technical wiz to set up multiple monitors, either.

With Windows 10, when you connect an additional monitor to your Dell computer, Windows will automatically detect it and display your computer’s desktop. You can then choose how you want your desktop to appear and customize the settings.

Don’t let terms like Thunderbolt, display port, digital video interface, video graphics array or high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) scare you away from less eye strain and reduced effort to catch and fix errors.

There are many helpful resources on; and on Twitter, our @DellCares team is here to help individual customers, and @DellCaresPro is available to assist businesses. And there are webcasts and videos that can also help.

YouTube Videos

And if you like video assistance, our @DellCares team has created many helpful videos that are available on the TechSupportDell YouTube channel. For instance, this one tells you what to do if your monitor screen is flickering.

Additional videos there can help you fix a pixelated monitor, determine the best screen resolution and change it if needed, show you how to setup the frames per second (FPS) counter for games and set up a dual monitor stand.

Webcast Sessions

Our @DellCaresPro team member Shawn Burton is here to coach you through the different ways to configure multiple monitors in a free webcast. There are also some troubleshooting hints and tips throughout the session.

This is just one of the many helpful webcasts our @DellCaresPro team regularly offers for free. You can find a list of their upcoming sessions, as well as an archive of past ones like this in our TechCenter community.

But if you’re still not sure you’re ready to set up multiple monitors, or you just don’t want to devote the desktop real estate it, there is another option for multi-tasking – our Dell 43 Multi-Client Monitor.

How To Configure And Use Multiple Monitors In Windows 7

Windows lets you add a second or a third monitor (if two VGA ports available) in your PC. In fact you could add more of them, and, since it is said that multiple monitors could greatly enhance your productivity, you might find that you can work more efficiently with them.

There are many options available in Windows 7 to enhance your multi monitor experience. For example, you could use the second monitor to duplicate your desktop or use it as an extended monitor. You could even connect your laptop to a big TFT when you’re at home.

How to set up multiple monitors on a desktop computer

First, check the number of VGA ports at the back of your computer. If you find two VGA or DVI ports then you can easily set up one additional monitor. However, if you don’t find an extra VGA port then you would need to add a video adapter.

A video adapter having more than one VGA port is easily available. Install it if you want to add two or more monitors in the current arrangement. If you don’t know how to add a video adapter to your PC , then you should get the help of an expert.

After you are done connecting the monitors, turn them on. If everything works fine, the screen appearing on the second monitor should be the same as your primary monitor.

How to configure multiple monitors

In Windows 7, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Win+P” (where Win is the key that has a Windows symbol) to decide the way you want to use your second monitor. A dialog box pops up when you press them, as shown in the screenshot below. Select your preferred arrangement by clicking on any one of the given options.

There are options for connecting projector, duplicating or extending the dual monitor arrangement and disconnection of projector.

The second way to configure multiple screens by right clicking on the desktop and selecting “Screen resolution” from the context menu.

In the given screenshot below, there are two screens in blue colors having numbers (1 and 2). It means 1 is the primary monitor attached to the computer and 2 is the second secondary monitor. Both the monitors could be dragged to either side.

Also, you can make 2 as your main display. It shifts the taskbar on display 2. Click the “identify” button and a number will appear on each monitor which helps you to identify them.

In laptops, you can connect any external monitor if VGA port is available. When you connect a monitor to the laptop, it is set to “duplicate this display” by default. You have to change the settings if you want to extend the display. By extending the display, you can transfer any programs or icons from one screen to another.

Go to screen resolution settings. Under Multiple displays drop down, select “Extend these displays” to make most out of multiple monitors. Use one screen to monitor stuff like email, twitter, Facebook etc. And use the primary one for work.

There are a lot of tips and tricks that help you add more spice to the multiple monitor set up. We will cover them in future articles. If you use more than one monitor than we’d love to know how have they worked for you so far.

Also Read Our Post on Utilizing Multiple Monitors…

We have also written a post on How to Make Full Use of Multiple Monitors In Your Windows Setup. Make sure you read that too.

How to set up two monitors?

So I have two graphics cards set up both work and both monitors and VGI cables and the slots to put the graphics cards work. But when I plug them both my PC doesnt recognize them both, why could this be?

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14 Answers

More info needed. Motherboard make and model, gfx card make and model and which slots on the motherboard you have them installed in? Do they work when you remove the other card?

I might not have the right drivers so let me try updating

So if all you want is two monitors then you only need the one card. The GeForce 6500 and the amd5450 can both run two monitors so I would get rid of one of the cards and try plugging both monitors into the remaining card.

but that card only has one VGI output

ok and will this give me two monitors showing two different things? I dont want a second monitor showing the same things

Use the DVI output first if at all possible because the signal and resulting picture are vastly superior to VGA.
Whether or not both monitors show the same thing (mirror) depends on your (display) configuration. In windows it’s possible to mirror the image onto both. By default it does not do that however.

The second video card whould work with the first anyway (there is no order, you see why in a second)

Unless the cards are connected via SLI or CrossFire they will not communicate and only one will be active at a time. It would be kinda like having 2 phones for your house, but each having their own number, then expecting to pick one up for a call on the other.

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My IT guy is here today and said in the properties, right click and ‘click’ to extend to second monitor. Let me know if you need more, he’s a genius!

@Deshi_basara the cards only need to be crossfire/SLI if you want the two card to work together to share the 3d work load to drive 1 monitor.
Using multiple cards to drive multiple monitors to have more windows desktop is very common for workstation type pc’s found in business and does not require crossfire/SLI as the cards do not need to know what the other is doing they just show what the CPU tells them to show.

~looks at spare graphics cards piled up on shelf~

@Lightlyseared If you say so homie

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general — how to setup two monitors configurartion?

Thanks for answer. It seems so, what we need, but…
It don’t work in my case (here with one monitor, but with two
monitors same one screen):

ts_002522589af7:/# xrandr -q

xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output

Screen 0: minimum 1920 x 1080, current 1920 x
1080, maximum 1920 x 1080

default connected 1920×1080+0+0 0mm x 0mm

   1920×1080       0.0*


So, when try change something, i get same «xrandr:
Failed to get size of gamma for output default
«. And no output like VGA or DVI.

Google it, and probably problem that [graphic chip] + [driver fbdev]
+ xrandr => Don’t work fine with each other.

As i remember with previous version of Thinstation, driver nvidia
work fine with my hardware. May be i’ll try to experiment it.

Will read man xrandr and dig deeper. =)

Have a nice day.

On 06.09.2012 12:22, Greg wrote:


I’ve also two monitor on my HP T5740.

For having dual screen, I’ve create a group with this parameter :

XRANDR_OPTIONS=»—output VGA1 —auto —left-of HDMI1″

For testing the right option, I advice you to add console and
execute «xrandr» to replace VGA1 and HDMI1 with the right value.

Best regards,


Le 06.09.2012 09:42, Ralf a écrit :


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How to Set Up Multiple Monitors with Windows 7

  1. Computers
  2. Operating Systems
  3. Windows 7
  4. How to Set Up Multiple Monitors with Windows 7

By Woody Leonhard

Windows 7 makes working with multiple monitors easier than ever. Although previous versions of Windows will allow you to use multiple monitors, Windows 7 allows you to really control the display by changing the resolution, orientation, and appearance of items in each monitor.

Once you’ve plugged in all the monitors you want to use and hooked them up to your computer,

  1. Right-click in any blank place on the Windows 7 desktop and choose Screen Resolution.

    You see the Display Settings dialog box, where you can set up multiple monitors.

  2. Click the 1 box to set up your first monitor and 2 to set up the second.

    You can set up as many as four monitors.

    If you can’t figure out which monitor is which, click the Identify Monitors button. Windows 7 puts a big 1 on the actual Monitor 1 and a big 2 on Monitor 2.

  3. You can also choose where to show the primary desktop.

    You have several options for each monitor.

    Setting NameShown on Monitor 1Shown on Monitor 2
    Duplicate These DisplaysThe usual Windows desktopExactly the same as Monitor 1
    Extend These DisplaysThe usual Windows desktopA blank area where you can drag and drop anything you like;
    behaves as though it’s to the right of Monitor 1
    Show Desktop Only on 1The usual Windows desktopNothing
    Show Desktop Only on 2NothingThe usual Windows desktop
  4. To change the orientation of one of the monitors, click the desired monitor and select the desired orientation from the drop-down box.

    Windows 7 allows you to have one monitor in typical landscape view and the other rotated to portrait view, which is particularly handy for document viewing.

  5. To change the resolution on either display, click the desired monitor and then adjust the resolution using the vertical slider.

    If Windows 7 properly identified your monitor and you have a sufficiently powerful video card, this dialog box should already show the monitor’s native resolution.

  6. Click the Apply button.

    Windows 7 changes the display’s resolution and opens a dialog box that asks whether you want to keep the new settings.

  7. Click the Keep Changes button to keep the new settings or click Revert to return to the old ones.

    If the display becomes unreadable, press Esc to return to the old settings. (Or, if you wait 15 seconds, Windows 7 returns to the old settings automatically.) If you can’t read the screen, you chose a resolution that your monitor can’t display.

  8. When you’re done, click the OK button to close the Display Settings dialog box.

Windows 7 contains many handy keyboard shortcuts, and if you use multiple monitors, there are a couple of shortcuts just for you.

  • If you want to use the Aero Snap feature on the side of the window next to the extra monitor, you’ll find that your window will just fall off the desktop and on to the next monitor. To dock the window to either side of a given monitor, just press the Windows key + Left/Right arrows.

  • To quickly jump a window from one monitor to the next, press Windows key+Shift+Left/Right arrow. The window will move to the adjacent monitor.

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