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How to Setup, Configure, and Troubleshoot Multiple Monitors in Windows 7

Summary: This article provides information about how to setup and configure multiple displays or monitors in Microsoft Windows 7 on a Dell PC. Find information on connecting, changing display preferences ,and troubleshooting multiple monitor issues. ...

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Article Content


Symptoms

Microsoft Windows 7 and later versions support multiple monitor set up. Multiple monitor set up helps enhance productivity. When you connect an additional monitor to your Dell PC, Windows automatically detects the monitor and displays the desktop screen of the computer. You can then choose how you want the desktop screen to appear. Display options include:

  • Duplicate These Displays - This mode allows the same screen on the mulitple monitors.
  • Extend These Displays - This mode allows one monitor as the main screen, and the remaining monitors are an extended workspace.
  • Show Desktop Only on 1 or Show Desktop Only on 2 - This mode allows only one monitor for use at a time.
  • Change the screen orientation, resolution settings, or color depth.
Cause
NOTE: The Dell OptiPlex 3040 or 3046 with add-on VGA port can only support two external monitors at one time without an external graphics solution.
 
NOTE: To learn more about configuring 3 displays on compatible Dell Latitude laptops, see the Dell knowledge base article How to configure three (3) displays on a Dell Latitude Notebook with Intel HD 4x00 Graphics.
Resolution

Expand the sections below for more information.

Ensure that the video connector on the computer matches with an available video connector on the monitor, like VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), or USB-C (Thunderbolt 3). Connect the computer to the monitor, projector, or TV using a compatible video cable. The monitor manufacturer should have provided this cable with the monitor.

To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Connect a Monitor to a PC .

To learn more about the different ports on a Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base article A Guide to the External Ports and Connectors on a Dell Computer.

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Determine the type of video connector that is available on the computer and the monitor. The number of available video connectors depends on the type of graphics card that is installed in the computer. Most desktop graphics cards support two or more monitors, depending on the graphics card and computer specifications. However, laptops can support up to two monitors depending on the computer specifications. To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Connect a Monitor to a PC.

NOTE: To identify the video connectors that are available on the computer and monitor, see the User Guide of the computer and monitor.

After the cables are connected securely, the computer must automatically detect and display the desktop screen on the connected monitors. By default, Microsoft Windows 7 duplicates the displays on all monitors. You can then select the display style that best suits your needs.

Microsoft Windows provides multiple options for displaying the desktop screen across multiple monitors that are connected to the computer.

  1. Duplicate These Displays (also called Clone mode) - Show the entire desktop on both displays. The second or other monitors mirror the primary monitor.
  2. Extend These Displays - Stretch the desktop across the two displays. The desktop screen of the computer is extended across all the detected monitors.
  3. Show Desktop Only on 1 - Use only display 1 and show nothing on display 2. The second monitor is ignored, and only the primary monitor is used.
  4. Show Desktop Only on 2 - Use only display 2 and show nothing on display 1. The primary monitor will be disabled, and only the second monitor will be used.
NOTE: When you connect a second monitor to a Dell laptop, the default display style is set to Duplicate. When you connect a second monitor to a Dell desktop, the default display style is set to Extend.

Changing the Display Style

  1. Right-click on the Desktop and select Screen Resolution.
  2. Change the Multiple Displays drop-down as per your preference.
  3. Select the desired monitor and adjust the resolution using the slider.
  4. Click Apply.
    NOTE: In the confirmation window, click the Keep Changes to keep the new settings or click Revert to return to the old ones.
 

How do I change the display or video settings in Microsoft Windows 7?

To learn how to change the screen resolution, adjust the refresh rate and change the size of fonts and icons, See the Dell knowledge base article How to Change the Video Settings or Improve Text in Windows 7.

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A docking station or port replicator provides a simplified way of connecting multiple peripherals like keyboard, mouse, printer, external hard drives, and one or more external monitors to a laptop that usually has limited connectivity ports. Most docking stations or port replicators have video connectors to connect two or more external monitors. A docking station or port replicator when connected to a laptop allows you to switch off the laptop LCD and use the external monitors instead.

To learn more about the different ports on a Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base article A Guide to the External Ports and Connectors on a Dell Computer.

  1. For optimal performance, it is recommended that you install the latest video drivers on the computer.
  2. Connect the external monitors to the Dell docking station using a compatible VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), or USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) cable.
    NOTE: See the User Guide of the Dell docking station and the laptop to determine the type of video connectors that are available on both devices.
  3. Connect the docking station to the laptop using the provided upstream cable.
    NOTE: Depending on the specific model of your docking station, the upstream cable may be a proprietary docking connector, USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB), Thunderbolt 2, or Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) cable. For more information, See the User Guide of the Dell docking station.
  4. Install the docking station drivers and any additional software that is required.
    NOTE: See the User Guide of the Dell docking station to learn more about specific software or drivers that may be required.
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Dell wireless monitor enables your Windows laptop computer, Android smartphone, or tablet with Miracast capability to display the screen image to the monitor using a Wi-Fi Direct interface. When you connect the laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the Dell wireless monitor, you can access the mouse and keyboard that is connected to the monitor and control the devices.

You can either extend or duplicate your Windows desktop wirelessly to a Dell wireless monitors and connect your Android 5.0 (and above) tablet or smartphone via Wi-Fi simultaneously through Dual Cast.

To learn more about how to set up or troubleshoot a Dell wireless monitor, see the Dell knowledge base article Guide to Dell Wireless Monitors.

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The latest smart TVs and computers provide a wide variety of video connectivity options. Ensure that the video connector on the computer matches with an available video connector on the TV.

To learn more, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Connect a Dell Computer to a TV.

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Microsoft Windows 10, 8 or 8.1, and 7 supports multiple monitor setup. If you encounter problems with multiple monitors, like a blank or black screen, no monitor signal, resolution issues, and so on, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Troubleshoot Multiple Monitor Issues.

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Additional Information

Learn How To Setup Dual Monitors in Windows 7

Duration: 01:55
Closed captions: English only

Change Screen Resolution (Official Dell Tech Support - YouTube)

Duration: 02:28
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No Video Troubleshooting Steps (Official Dell Tech Support - YouTube)

Duration: 02:16
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Graphic Cards Explained (Official Dell Tech Support - YouTube)

Duration: 01:58
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Article Properties


Last Published Date

09 Apr 2021

Version

6

Article Type

Solution