Setting up dual monitors on your Windows PC

Any modern desktop or laptop PC has the graphics capability to run dual displays. All that’s required is a second monitor.

Even a generous 27-inch monitor can feel cramped when you’ve got multiple windows open on your desktop (and who doesn’t?). It’s much worse if you’re stuck on a tiny laptop screen. Fortunately, it’s simple enough to add a second monitor to your PC setup and stretch your legs... I mean eyes. You know what I mean.

Any modern desktop or laptop PC has the graphics capability to run dual displays. All that’s required is a second monitor.

Today’s monitors typically come with some combination of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. In other words, you’ll have a couple of options for how to connect the monitor to your PC. While it is common for VGA and DVI cables to come included with the display, you may have to purchase your HDMI or DisplayPort cable separately.

How to set up dual monitors

Step 1: Connect your second monitor to a power outlet and an available port on your PC. 

Step 2: Next, tell Windows how to manage the two monitors. Right-click the desktop and select either Screen resolution (Windows 7/8) or Display settings (Windows 10).

In the resulting dialog box, you can specify the displays’ arrangement. The Multiple Displays pull-down menu allows you to control how the two screens work together. Selecting Extend these displays will prompt Windows to treat your monitors as one contiguous screen. 

Step 3: Choose the monitor order. You can tell Windows which monitor is on the left or right by dragging the screen icons at the top of the dialog box.

Step 4: Choose the primary display. The Make this my main display option controls which monitor gets the taskbar and Start button. If you don’t see that option, the currently selected monitor is already the main one.

You can also control many of these settings by right-clicking the desktop and selecting your graphics control panel.

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