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How to Configure Second Monitor or Projector in Windows

second monitor

Maybe you want to run multiple programs but don’t want them overlapping each other in a single monitor. Or maybe you have a presentation and want to present it to a large group. Several reasons call for connecting a second monitor or projector to supplement your main display. This article describes how you can set up multiple monitors in your Windows computer.

Before you configure the display settings in Windows, see this hardware checklist first:

  • Do you have a spare video cable?
  • Does your computer have an extra display port that’s compatible with the video cable and the second monitor? If not, do you have an adapter?
  • Is your video card powerful enough to handle extra displays, especially ones that have high screen resolutions?

If all your answers to these questions are “yes,” then you’re ready to proceed.

Turn on your second monitor and connect it to the spare video port. Depending on your version of Windows, your computer may automatically detect the second display, which should then show the desktop. Don’t worry if nothing happens.

Go to the Control Panel and look for the display settings. For Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, go to Appearance and Personalization> Display> Adjust screen resolution. In the Screen Resolution window, click the Detect button if the second monitor still isn’t showing anything at this point. (If the button still didn’t help detect the second display, check the connection and the monitor’s own control panel.)

The Screen Resolution window is where you can configure your displays. As the name suggests, you can change the screen resolution as well as the orientation for each display. In addition, you can choose to have the extra display mimic whatever’s displayed on the primary display (which is useful when giving presentations, for instance) or have it extend the desktop to let you multi-task better.

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