Setting up dual screens helps your productivity immensely: From having multiple browser tabs open, to utilizing complex sets of editing tools for photographs or video, to having guides open on a second screen for research or gaming, it’s a superb approach to maximize your productivity.
If you’re interested in any such setup, our guide can show you the best way — and Windows 10 makes it simpler than ever.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Check your I/O panel and GPU for connections
Your PC has an area for all essential cable connections that’s normally known as the I/O panel. If it’s been some time since you’ve peeked back there, have a look before you purchase a secondary monitor. If you’ve gotten a discrete (non-integrated) GPU, then there may also be a GPU section with ports of its own to take stock of. Snap a fast photograph of this complete part for fast reference if necessary.
Now verify to see what sort of display connections you need to work with. For modern displays and PCs, the 2 common choices are HDMI and DisplayPort, with even newer models also providing USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 for A/V data. You may have a DVI-I port for managing older digital/analog connections, and a few PCs would possibly still have a VGA port (though we don’t advise using this for a second monitor).
Make positive you’ve got at least two of these display ports for 2 screens. Note which spare port you’ll be attaching the new monitor two, and what connection type you’ll need.
You can even do this with a laptop computer, so long as that laptop computer has two compatible display ports of its own.
Step 2: Make sure your screens are compatible, and join them
With port information in hand, you’re ready to select the perfect new monitor for your dual-display setup. We have some suggestions to help get started and a list of budget models which are helpful for saving money. Double-check to see that the monitor consists of the appropriate type of port for your open PC connection, and purchase any essential cables as well. For a easy whole-screen experience, it’s a good suggestion to choose a monitor with a “bezel-less” or thin-bezel screen.
Now you’re able to place each screens in your desk and connect them to your PC.
Step 3: Go to Display settings on Windows 10
Fire up your PC. When you reach the home screen, right-click on an empty a part of the screen, and choose Display settings.
The window this brings up will show your connected displays, which display is your “primary” display, and on which side the secondary is positioned (you’ll be able to select a different side by dragging the screen numbers). If you don’t see your second monitor show up, try unplugging the cables and plugging them back in again. There can also be a wireless option in case you scroll down and select Connect to a wireless display — much less common, however potentially useful. If it’s still not working, verify for Windows 10 updates, reboot, and take a look at once more.
Step 4: Choose your display option
If each of your screens are showing up, then you should choose how they may work. Select your secondary monitor on the top, then scroll down in the Display settings window, and choose the Multiple Displays list to see your options.
You have two major choices. The first is to Extend desktop to this display. This will make your two screens function as a single whole monitor with a stretched-out desktop that you can freely transfer things between — the best choice for most dual-monitor users. The different option is to Duplicate desktop on 1 and 2. This option is normally reserved for teaching and training setups where one screen will probably be facing the learners.
Step 5: Review additional settings and modify
While you are in Display settings, adjust different options in order that each screens are set up in the way in which you want. You can change the orientation and resolution of either monitor by clicking on it after which choosing from the choices below. For instance, if you’re a photographer modifying a photograph, you could wish to purchase a 4K secondary monitor, and set it for a higher resolution for the photograph, whereas preserving your editing instruments and menus on the first screen. Keep in mind that resolution limits will also be limited by GPU and video output standards.
You can even change scale, regulate brightness, enable the Night Light mode for working in darker conditions, and more.
Set individual settings for every monitor as you need them, then exit the settings menu and start to experiment. Try dragging and dropping apps and browser tabs between your monitors to ensure you have just the setup that you really want. Shift any shortcuts and icons you need to as well. Now, each time you start your PC, your two monitor system will be ready and waiting for you.
If you continue to have issues with your twin monitor performance, we advise taking a better look at your GPU and what it can support, in addition to other hardware limitations in your PC.