How to Troubleshoot Multiple Monitor Issues

How to Troubleshoot Multiple Monitor Issues

This article provides information on how to Troubleshoot issues with using Multiple Monitors

Table of Contents:

  1. No Signal To Monitor
  2. Cannot get Multiple Monitors to Display
  3. Monitor Resolution Issues

1. No Signal To Monitor

Before proceeding with troubleshooting multi monitor issues, please verify that the multiple monitors are set-up correctly by following the guide in the following article:

No signal issues are usually identified by examining the power button LED (for Dell monitors, this will be amber in colour if there is an issue) or by seeing a "No signal" alert on the screen. These steps may help identify whether there is a problem with your monitor or with the configuration of your multiple monitor setup.

  1. Perform a monitor self test. For Dell monitors, this is achieved by removing the signal cable (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA) from the monitor and then switching the monitor on. The self test is successful if you see a self test alert or "No Signal" alert appear on screen. This will show whether your monitor is capable of displaying an image or not.

Figure 1: An example of a Monitor Self Test Image (if successful).

Monitor Self test 1

Figure 2: Another example of a Monitor Self Test Image (if successful).

Monitor Self test 2

Note: The self test image may vary, depending on your monitor's manufacturer

  1. Check your power and signal cables for any damage. The connections for your cables should be free of any damage (for example, bent or sheared pins). If you are able, try swapping cables with those from a known working monitor setup. If the fault follows the suspect cable then the cable is at fault but if it stays with your multiple monitor configuration then the cable is free of problems.

  2. Check to see if an adapter is being used. Adapters are used to change or pass through the signal from one standard to another (for example, a DVI to VGA adapter). If possible, try to remove the adapter and connect the cable only to the monitor and system. If an adapter must be used, try using another adapter from a known working monitor setup. Again, you will be able to verify if the adapter is the root cause if the fault follows the adapter or not.

  3. Re-setting the monitor defaults may resolve any no signal problems. The procedure for doing this varies between monitor models so please see your monitor's manual for further instructions.

  4. Try connecting the suspect monitors individually to another known working system. If the monitors function correctly when attached to another system, it prove that the monitor has no hardware issues.

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2. Cannot get Multiple Monitors to display

You may find that you can get a display on a single monitor, however you may have issues having a display on 2 or more monitors. These steps outline the basics when attempting to resolve this problem:

  1. First, rule out a hardware problem with each monitor that will not display by going through the steps from the No Signal to Monitor section above

  2. Swapping monitor connections if possible (for example, connecting a VGA cable to your monitor rather than a DVI cable) may highlight that the issue exists when using a specific output.

  3. Connecting the monitor to a different video card port in your system if possible also helps to rule out or confirm that the problem is with the system's video connections.

  4. Make sure that your system or video card is capable of multiple monitor displays. This involves researching your system or video card specifications to ensure that the system or video card is able to run a multiple monitor configuration. Dell system specifications are available as part of the Dell Service Manuals

    If you have an AGP, PCI or PCI-Express video card from a third-party company, please see your video card's manual or contact your video card manufacturer for further information.

  5. Ensure that the multiple monitors are detected in your operating system. For Microsoft Windows systems, use the links above in Section 1:

  6. If all multiple monitors are detected by your operating system, you may have to enter the video card manufacturer's control panel and enable the multiple monitor configuration there. To do this, please visit your video card manufacturer for information on their control panels.

  7. Updating your video drivers may resolve the issue that you are experiencing. If you have not installed a third-party video card, you can usually find the latest video drivers for your Dell system by visiting and follow the instructions below.

    1. First, download the latest driver from the Dell Support Site or from your video card manufacturer.

    2. Remove the driver - to do this for Microsoft Windows operating systems, go to the Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Vista/Windows 7) and find and then uninstall your NVIDIA, ATi or Intel video card program.

    3. Reboot your system when prompted.

    4. When your operating system has rebooted, cancel the "Installing New Hardware" wizard dialog box.

    5. Run your downloaded driver and follow all on-screen instructions.

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3. Monitor Resolution Issues

Another issue that you may come across is that your monitors may not display at their maximum or native resolution. These steps can assist you with this issue.

  1. Verify the optimal resolution of your monitors. Again, for Dell monitors, you can verify this by reading the Monitor's manual.

  2. Also, verify that your video card or video chipset can output at the optimal resolution for your monitors. To do this, please visit your video card or video chipset manufacturer for further information.

  3. Updating the video drivers can resolve any resolution issues that you may experience. To do this, follow step 7 from the section above.

  4. Adapters that are used in your multiple monitor configuration can cause resolution problems (for example, using a single link DVI adapter when your monitor may have a native resolution higher than that provided by single link DVI). If you are able to, try removing adapters and only use the cables to connect your monitor and system.

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If you require further assistance, please contact Technical Support

Contact Us

Monitor Support page More information and support for your Dell monitor, laptop or tablet screen can be found on our Monitor Support site.

Article ID: SLN151719

Last Date Modified: 06/20/2018 03:22 AM

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