How to Connect Two Monitors to One Computer

by C. Taylor
A single monitor can confine your productivity, but dual monitors improves your computing experience.

A single monitor can confine your productivity, but dual monitors improves your computing experience.

Connecting two monitors to a single computer lets you mirror or extend your desktop. Mirroring is useful when you need to work on one computer while broadcasting your work to an audience via a larger display. Extending your desktop makes each monitor operate independently as one over-sized display between which windows can be moved and rearranged. This feature is useful when you need multiple full-sized windows to be visible simultaneously.

Verify you have two video connections on your computer. These connections are typically 15-pin VGA or 24-pin DVI ports on the back of your computer. For laptops, you only need one connection, because your LCD screen functions as a second monitor. If you do not have two video connectors, you may need to add or upgrade your video card or purchase a splitter to add multiple monitor support. Be aware that many splitters only support mirroring the display.

Connect the video cable from the video input connections of each monitor to the video output connections on your computer. The cable you use should match the VGA or DVI ports on the monitor and computer. If the ports on the monitor and computer do not match, use a cable with different connectors on each end or employ a video adapter that changes the connection on the cable.

Secure each connection with the screws on either side of the connector. If you are using a video adapter, tighten the screws to the adapter and the port.

Plug each monitor's power cord to a wall outlet or surge protector and power them on. Start your computer. Both monitors should automatically be recognized.

Hold "Win" and press "P" repeatedly until your desired arrangement, such as "Extend" or "Duplicate," is highlighted. When you release the "Win" key, the selection is automatically configured.

Warning

  • Windows 7 Starter edition does not support extended desktops.

Items you will need

  • Two video cables
  • VGA or DVI adapter
  • VGA or DVI splitter

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images