How to set up dual monitors on your desktop PC

If you never seem to have enough room on your desk, a second monitor can make a big difference. No more switching between tabs or losing windows. Finally, you will have enough screen space for all your tasks. Once you’ve figured out the hardware, a dual monitor setup is easy to set up. We will show you how to configure dual monitors on all major operating systems.


To configure dual or multiple monitors in Windows, assuming you have already mounted and connected the physical monitor, press Windows key + I to open the Settings menu. In Settings, navigate to System> Display, which should show you a representation of all connected monitors. If not, press Detect and if it still doesn’t appear, make sure all cables are connected properly. Once you see all the connected monitors in the Display menu, rearrange their graphical representations to resemble your physical setup, then select one of the monitors, scroll down, and customize your settings. Repeat this last step for all other connected monitors.

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What you need for a multi-monitor setup

We’ll assume you already have a computer, a suitable second monitor, and a way to mount it. But do you have everything you need?

  • A graphics card that supports more than one monitor. That should be most of them these days. If you’re not sure, Google your model to find out.
  • An additional power outlet for the second monitor, ideally on a power strip with a surge protector.
  • The right cables, depending on the ports you use. Standard ports for connecting displays include HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB-C.
  • If you are using a laptop that has few ports, we recommend that you get a USB-C docking station with additional ports, including an HDMI port.
  • Possibly adapters. MacOS users trying to connect a non-Apple monitor will definitely need to search for adapters.

Once you’ve connected everything correctly, your computer should detect both monitors and display your desktop on both. Even if everything looks good right away, let’s dive into the settings or system preferences and make some improvements. You’ll want to adjust the orientation, resolution, and more of your monitors. We’ll also show you some troubleshooting tips.

How to set up dual monitors on a Windows PC

If your Windows PC recognizes the second monitor, it should automatically show a mirror of your desktop. Go to Start> Settings> System> Display where you should see a graphical representation of your monitors. If a screen is missing, click Detect or Multiple displays> Detect. If the monitor still does not appear, troubleshoot the graphics card configuration, ports, or cables.

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To adjust individual display settings, click to select the respective display box (above, # 2 is selected), then scroll down to Scale and layout where you can change the scale, resolution and orientation of your screen.

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Rearranging the screens displayed in the Settings menu changes the way you can move your mouse and windows between screens when you extend your desktop. Instead of having two monitors side by side, you might have a laptop screen with a desktop monitor on top. Be sure to click Request to save your changes.

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If you’re not sure which screen is which, click Identify and a different number should appear on each of your monitors.

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To change how your desktop is displayed on your monitors, scroll down to the Multiple screens section and choose an option from the drop-down menu. Please select Spread these screens to get more screen space. Here, you can also check a box to Make this my main screen, which will make it the active desktop.

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If you want to change this later, you don’t need to go back to the Settings menu. Pressing the Windows logo key + P It also opens a menu that allows you to switch between these options.

How to set up dual monitors on a Mac

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Your Mac should automatically recognize the second monitor once you connect it. If it doesn’t, try putting your Mac to sleep and waking it up. Here’s how to configure the second screen.

  1. Expand the Apple menu, select System preferencesand click on the Shows icon.
  2. Click on the Gather windows at the bottom right to open a menu for the second monitor. Here, you can change its rotation, resolution scale, and more. If the desktop background looks dull, click Scaly and find the correct resolution for your screen.
  3. Back in the main Display window, switch to Provision tab. Here you can rearrange the screens to match your actual layout. You can also move the menu bar.
  4. By default, macOS will magnify your screen. If you prefer to duplicate the desktop, check the Mirror screens box in the Provision tab.

With Sidecar, you can configure your iPad as a second screen.

How to configure dual monitors in Ubuntu Linux

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When you connect a second monitor to your Ubuntu Linux computer, your system should detect it on its own. If not, or to change the settings, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Activities overview, type Shows in the search bar and click the top result to open the panel.
  2. You will see a screen layout diagram where you can drag the screens to your preferred position.
  3. You can choose a Main screen by clicking on the respective option. This screen will house the top bar and the general description of the activities.
  4. With just two monitors, you can choose from one of three display modes:
    1. Join screens: Two separate desks with linked edges, so you can move things from one to the other.
    2. Mirror: The second screen is an exact copy of the first, including the resolution and orientation.
    3. Single display: Set only one screen and keep the other off. This can be useful if you are connecting an external display to a laptop.

With more than two displays connected, Join screens it will be your only option.

  1. Set the orientation, resolution or scale, and refresh rate for each of the displays.
  2. When done, click Request Y Keep changes to confirm or just wait 20 seconds if you want to go back to the previous settings.

How to set up dual monitors on Chromebook

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Your Chromebook should come with an HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, or VGA port. If that’s the case, you can connect it to an external monitor or TV.

  1. Click on the clock in the lower right and go to Settings> Device> Displays.
  2. Arrange the displays to mimic your physical setup.
  3. Please select Built-in display or your external monitor to adjust its settings. You can change the screen size, resolution, refresh rate, orientation, or overscan.
  4. You also have the option of Built-in mirror screen, in which case you will not need to adjust your external monitor settings.
  5. Click Done to save your changes.

To turn off your Chromebook screen and only view content on the external monitor, press and hold button to decrease brightness.

Frequent questions

Can dual monitors be connected to a laptop?

Most of today’s laptops support a second monitor. If your laptop runs any modern Windows operating system, it can also support two external monitors, but that depends on the graphics card and built-in ports on your laptop.

To find out if your laptop’s graphics card can support two external monitors, check its specifications on the manufacturer’s website. Not sure which graphics card you have? printing Windows + X To open the WinX menu, open the Device administratorand check the entry below Display adapters.

If your graphics card supports two external monitors, check if the port on your laptop matches the ports on your monitors. You may need to use adapters, a screen splitter, or a docking station to connect multiple monitors.

Will a dual monitor setup lower FPS?

Yes, connecting a second monitor and extending the game on both monitors can lower your FPS, but the drop may be less (within 10 FPS), depending on your graphics card. If you connect a second monitor, restrict the game to the main monitor and only see 2D elements on the other monitor. It shouldn’t affect FPS.

Above article first published by . We curated and re-published.

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