How to Switch From a Dual Monitor to a Single

by Kirk Bennet

If you work with multiple programs at once, you can use dual monitors to extend the desktop and place some of the windows on the second screen. You can also duplicate the desktop on the second screen. If you don't plan on working with multiple programs for a few hours, there is no need to have both monitors powered on. In this case, you can toggle from dual monitors to a single monitor with just a few keystrokes. Windows 7 is able to manage multiple monitors, but your video card software can also include a utility that enables you to control multiple displays.

Using Windows Hotkey

Press the Windows key and the "P" key simultaneously and click "Computer Only" in the Display Mode dialog box to switch from dual monitors to a single monitor.

Turn off the unused monitor and adjust the display settings on the primary monitor, if the process changed them.

Turn on the unused monitor, press the Windows logo key and the "P" key simultaneously again and click "Extend" to switch back to dual monitor mode.

Using the Screen Resolution Menu

Right-click an empty area of your desktop and select "Screen Resolution" from the context menu to open the Screen Resolution window.

Select the "Show Desktop Only on 1" option in the Multiple Displays drop-down menu to use only the primary monitor, or the "Show Desktop Only on 2" option to use only the secondary monitor.

Click "Apply" to switch to single monitor mode and then "OK" to close the Screen Resolution window.

Turn off the unused monitor.

Turn on the unused monitor, open the Screen Resolution window, select "Extend These Displays" in the Multiple Displays drop-down box and click "Apply" to switch back to dual monitor mode.

Tips

  • The primary monitor is labeled "1" and the secondary monitor is labeled "2" in the image at the top of the Screen Resolution window.
  • Click the "Detect" button if Windows doesn't display the second monitor.
  • If the second monitor is still not detected, restart your computer and try again.

About the Author

Kirk Bennet started writing for websites and online publications in 2005. He covers topics in nutrition, health, gardening, home improvement and information technology.

Photo Credits

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