Knowledge Base

How to set up dual monitors in Windows 7


Table of Contents :

  1. Connect the Monitor Cable
  2. Types of Video Connections
  3. Configure the Display Settings

This article addresses how to add an extra monitor to a laptop or a desktop running Windows 7 to have dual displays.
For other operating systems, refer for instructions to set up dual monitors in Windows 8, Windows Vista or Windows XP.

1: Connect the Monitor Cable

Connect the external monitor cable to the correct video port on your laptop or desktop computer.

Most flat-panel monitors now come with at least one digital DVI connection. Check the video connection on your computer to see if it is has a DVI port or an older-style analog VGA port.

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2: Types of Video Connections

DisplayPort
DisplayPort is a new digital standard for connecting monitors to computers; it usually resembles a USB port but one side has an angle. The DisplayPort cable should be used if DisplayPort is available on your laptop and the external monitor.

DVI
Digital Video Interface (DVI) is the digital standard for connecting monitors to computers. DVI connections are usually color-coded with white plastic and labels. A DVI cable should be used if DVI connectors are available on your laptop and the external monitor.

VGA
Video Graphics Array (VGA) is the analog standard for connecting monitors to computers. VGA connections are usually color-coded with blue plastic and labels. A VGA cable should be used if DVI ports are not available on your laptop or the external monitor.

HDMI
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the current digital standard for connecting many kinds of video devices and provides the same quality video signal as DVI. HDMI can provide audio through the cable, but the video card installed in your computer must be capable of supporting the audio through HDMI in order for it to work properly. An HDMI cable should be used if HDMI ports are available on your computer and the external monitor.

A connector type such as DVI or VGA may require a cable adapter to connect multiple monitors.

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3: Configure the Display Settings

When you connect an external monitor to a laptop, the default setting creates a mirror image of your laptop screen on the external monitor. In contrast, when you connect an external monitor to a desktop computer, the display defaults to extend these displays. You should be able to drag a window from one monitor to the other without changing any settings.

Method 1: Win + P Keyboard Shortcut.

  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Hold down the Windows logo key and press the P key on your keyboard.
    Select one of the following options:
    • Computer only: This setting will show the screen image only on your laptop monitor.
    • Duplicate: This setting will duplicate your laptop screen image on both monitors based on the monitor with the lower resolution.
    • Extend: This setting allows you to move a window from one monitor to the other by clicking the Title Bar of the window and dragging the window to a new location.
    • Projector only: This setting is typically chosen when your laptop is used as a desktop computer, so you can enjoy the higher resolution of a large external monitor.

Method 2: Screen Resolution Menu.

  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Right-click an empty area on your desktop, and then click Screen Resolution.
  3. Click the Multiple Displays drop-down list, and then select Extend These Displays or Duplicate These Displays.
    If you cannot see the additional monitor(s) listed, click Detect. If it does not work, try restarting your computer and repeat steps 1 and 2.
    • Duplicate these displays: This setting will duplicate your laptop screen image on both monitors based on the monitor with the lower resolution.
    • Extend these displays: This setting allows you to move a window from one monitor to the other by clicking the title bar of the window and dragging the window to a new location.
    • Show desktop only on 1: This setting is typically chosen when your laptop is used as a desktop computer so you can enjoy the higher resolution of a large external monitor.
  4. Click Identify Monitors to see which monitor is number 1 and which is number 2; then drag the monitor icons to reorder their positions to match the physical setup you have chosen.
  5. Click the Resolution drop down menu, and select a screen resolution by moving the slider arrow right or left; then click OK.
  6. If the new settings are compatible, your computer screen will reappear with the new settings in place. To change display resolution settings back to the previous setting, hold down the Windows Logo key and press the P key to change the mode to computer only.
  7. Click Yes if you want to keep the new settings.
  8. Restart your computer to ensure that the changes are saved.

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Article ID: SLN128740

Last Date Modified: 05/28/2015 09:21 AM


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