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How to set up Dual or Multiple Monitors

Summary: Find information about the various connectors used when setting up dual or multiple monitors, the guides by Operating System, and how to change the display settings.

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Article Content


Symptoms

When you connect an additional monitor to your Dell computer, Windows will automatically detect the monitor and display your computer desktop screen. You can then choose how you want your desktop screen to appear and customize the display settings such as display style - clone mode, extended mode, first screen only or second screen only, screen resolution settings and color depth. Microsoft Windows 7 and above support multiple monitor setup, which helps enhance productivity.

Cause

NOTE: To learn how to setup a Dell monitor, see the User Guide of the monitor for step-by-step instructions. For non-Dell monitors, see the User Guide of the monitor available on the manufacturers website.

Resolution

It is important to ensure that the video port on your computer matches an available video port on the monitor, like VGA, DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort (DP). Connect your computer to the monitor or another display device like projector or TV using a compatible cable. The monitor manufacturer should provide this cable.

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

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

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Determine the type of video connectors that are available on your computer and the monitors. The number of video connectors depends on the type of graphics card that is installed in your computer. Most graphics or video cards on a desktop computer can 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 Dell Computer.

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

Once the cables are connected securely, your computer should automatically detect and display the desktop screen on the connected monitors. You can now select the display style that best suits your needs.

Microsoft Windows provides multiple display style options on how the desktop screen is displayed across multiple monitors that are connected to your computer.

  1. PC Screen only - Use only display 1 and show nothing on display 2. The second monitor is ignored, and only the primary monitor is used.
  2. Duplicate (also called Clone mode) - Show the entire desktop on both displays. The second or other monitors mirror the primary monitor.
  3. Extend - Stretch the desktop across the two displays. The desktop screen of your computer is extended across all the detected monitors and allows you to have a desktop screen that spans across all monitors.
  4. Second Screen only - Use only display 2 and show nothing on display 1. The primary monitor is disabled, and only the second monitor will be used.
NOTE: Connecting a second monitor to a Dell laptop, the default display style is set to Duplicate.
Connecting a second monitor to a Dell desktop, the default display style is set to Extend.
 
How to change the display or video settings in Microsoft Windows?

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 articles that are listed below based on the operating system that is installed on your computer:

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Most desktop computers have video ports to connect to at least two external monitors. Notebooks have a least one video port and may have a second video port. Connecting a laptop to an external monitor allows you to close the laptop lid or use a much larger monitor in addition to the laptop LCD screen.

Notes:
  • Before you begin, you need to see the documentation of your computer and of your monitors to determine what connections they have in common, such as VGA, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort (DP) (Figure 1), and whether your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST).
  • Knowing if your monitors support MST tells you if you can daisy chain your monitors using DisplayPort cables or if you must use two different kinds of video cables.
  • When you know what connections they have in common and whether your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), you must acquire the needed cables to be able to connect the dock to the monitors.
  • For more information about how to get the manuals for your monitor and computer, see Dell Knowledge Base article Manuals and Documentation for your Dell Product

Figure 1: Video Ports
Numbers reference image above:
Caption1 VGA Connector
Caption2 HDMI Connector
Caption3 Mini DisplayPort Connector
Caption4 DisplayPort Connector
  1. For optimum performance, it is recommended that you install the latest drivers on your computer.
    Note: Using the SupportAssist application provides automatic computer updates. For more information about SupportAssist, browse to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page.

  2. Be sure that your computer is running with the latest updates for Windows. Go to the Windows Update website to be sure that your computer is fully updated. External Link
  3. Depending on your monitors and their features, you have two options, as outlined previously.
    • When your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), perform the following steps.
      1. Using the correct cable to connect to your computer to the DisplayPort In to the first monitor (Figures 2 and 3).
      2. Using another cable connect the DisplayPort Out connection on the first monitor to the DisplayPort In connection on the second monitor (Figures 2 and 3).
        Note: To daisy chain more than two monitors, follow a similar sequence: The first monitor connects to the second, the second monitor connects to the third, and so on.
        multiple monitors destop MST
        Figure 2: Connecting Multiple Monitors Using DisplayPort Video Cables to a Desktop
        multiple monitors laptop MST
        Figure 3: Connecting Multiple Monitors Using DisplayPort Video Cables to a Laptop
      3. Using the On-Screen Display (OSD) menu on your monitor, set the MST to On. (Figure 4).

        Figure 4: On-Screen Display (OSD) Example (English Only)
        Note: To learn more, see the User Manual of your monitor.
      4. Ensure that the last monitor in the chain has MST set to Off.
       
    • When your monitor does not support DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), perform the following steps.
      1. Connect a video cable from your computer dock to the first monitor that has corresponding connections (Figures 5 and 6).
      2. Connect a video cable from your computer to the second monitor that has corresponding connections (Figures 5 and 6).
        multiple monitors desktop two cables
        Figure 5: Connecting Multiple Monitors Using Different Kinds of Video Cables to a Desktop
        multiple monitors laptop two cables
        Figure 6: Connecting Multiple Monitors Using Different Kinds of Video Cables to a Laptop
        Note: Figures 5 and 6 are an example of how the video cables should be arranged just match the type of connections from the computer to the monitors.
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A docking station or port replicator provides a simplified way of connecting multiple devices like keyboard, mouse, printer, external hard drives and one or more external monitors to a laptop personal computer which usually have limited connectivity ports.

Most docking stations or port replicators have video ports to connect two or more external monitors, and is similar to connecting your computer to your monitor. You must have the correct cables. 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.

Notes:
  • Before you begin you need to see the documentation of your Dell docking station and of your monitors to determine what connections they have in common, such as VGA, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort (DP) (Figure 1), and whether your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST).
  • Knowing if your monitors support MST tells you if you can daisy chain your monitors using DisplayPort cables or if you must use two different kinds of video cables.
  • When you know what connections they have in common and whether your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), you must acquire the needed cables to be able to connect the dock to the monitors.
  • For help with determining what dock you have, see Dell Knowledge article Guide to Dell Docking Stations
  • For more information about how to get the manuals see to Dell Knowledge Base article Manuals and Documentation for your Dell Product

Figure 1: Video Ports
Numbers reference image above:
Caption1 VGA Connector
Caption2 HDMI Connector
Caption3 Mini DisplayPort Connector
Caption4 DisplayPort Connector
  1. For optimum performance, it is recommended that you install the latest drivers on your computer.
    Note: Using the SupportAssist application provides automatic computer updates. For more information about SupportAssist, browse to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page.

  2. Be sure that your computer is running with the latest updates for Windows. Go to the Windows Update website to be sure that your computer is fully updated. External Link
  3. Depending on your monitors and their features, you have two options, as outlined previously.
    • When your monitor supports DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), perform the following steps.
      1. Using the correct cable to connect to your dock to the DisplayPort In to the first monitor (Figure 2).
      2. Using another cable connect the DisplayPort Out connection on the first monitor to the DisplayPort In connection on the second monitor (Figure 2).
        Note: To daisy chain more than two monitors, follow a similar sequence: The first monitor connects to the second, the second monitor connects to the third, and so on.

        Figure 2: Connecting Monitors Using DisplayPort Video Cables
      3. Using the On-Screen Display (OSD) menu on your monitor, set the MST to On. (Figure 3).

        Figure 3: On-Screen Display (OSD) Example (English Only)
        Note: To learn more, see the User Manual of your monitor.
      4. Ensure that the last monitor in the chain has MST set to Off.
       
    • When your monitor does not support DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST), perform the following steps.
      1. Connect a video cable from your dock to the first monitor that has corresponding connections (Figure 4).
      2. Connect a video cable from your dock to the second monitor that has corresponding connections (Figure 4).

        Figure 4: Connecting Monitors Using Different Kinds of Video Cables
        Note: Figure 4 is an example of how the video cables should be arranged just match the type of connections from the dock to the monitors.
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Dell wireless monitors enable your Windows laptop, 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 are connected to the Monitor and control the devices.

You can either extend or duplicate your Windows desktop wirelessly to one of these monitors and connect your Android 5.0 (and above) tablet or smartphone over 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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Latest TVs and computers provide a wide variety of video connectivity options. Ensure that the video port on your computer matches an available video port on your TV, like VGA, DVI or HDMI.

Connecting your Dell computer with a TV

  1. Connect the TV to the computer using a compatible cable.
  2. Power on the TV.
  3. Change the video input source on the TV to match the video source connection from the personal computer (HDMI, VGA (may also be mentioned as personal computer), DVI so forth)
  4. Power on the computer.

If you encounter a problem when trying to connect your computer with a TV:

  1. Power on the TV before turning on the computer.
  2. Ensure that the correct video input source is selected on the TV.
  3. Coaxial or S-video cable connections do not support higher resolution, ensure to set the resolution to 800 x 600 or less.
  4. Certain TVs may require you to adjust the screen aspect ratio for best possible scaling and resolution.
  5. Certain TVs may require you to set the TV as the primary display. Change the video settings in Microsoft Windows and restart the computer.
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Microsoft Windows 10, 8 or 8.1, and 7 support dual or multiple monitor setups. If you encounter problems with your multiple monitor setup, like a blank or black screen, no signal to monitor, resolution issues, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Troubleshoot Multiple Monitor Problems on a Dell Computer.

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If your Dell computer has encountered a display or video problem with multiple monitors after upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10:

  1. Uninstall the video driver.
  2. Update BIOS of the computer.
  3. Download and install the latest video or graphics driver.
  4. Reboot the computer.
NOTE:
To learn how to download and install a driver, see the Dell knowledge base article Drivers & Downloads FAQ.
To learn how to update the BIOS on a Dell computer, see the Dell knowledge base article Guide to Dell BIOS.
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Additional Information

SLN129825_en_US__5Monitors More information and support for your Dell monitor, laptop, or tablet screen can be found on our Monitor Support site.

Videos

How to Set up Two Monitors (Official Dell Tech Support)

Duration: 01:37
Closed captions: English only

Article Properties


Affected Product

Alienware Aurora, Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10, Desktops & All-in-Ones, Alienware, G Series, Projectors & Accessories, Laptops, G Series, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Dell G3 3579, Dell G7 15 7588Alienware Aurora, Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10, Desktops & All-in-Ones, Alienware, G Series, Projectors & Accessories, Laptops, G Series, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Dell G3 3579, Dell G7 15 7588, Dell G3 3779See more

Last Published Date

18 Aug 2022

Version

7

Article Type

Solution