My main work computer has always been my laptop. My laptop has been the main work machine for Windows lovers since its inception. I use it with a dual-screen setup. A Gigabyte Aorus Aorus 15P XD gaming notebook is my latest addition to my device collection. It helps me multitask like a pro. This article will show how to connect two monitors on a laptop to achieve the same work setup.
Before switching to a laptop as my primary choice of machine, I believed that connecting two screens was as easy as plugging them into the computer. However, it is not as simple as that. It cannot be evident if it’s your first time. If you have an iPad older than a year, you can use it as a second screen for Windows 10/11 laptops.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about improving this dual monitor setup with laptop guidance, please post them below. I will then update this article accordingly.
Thunderbolt Passthrough – If Available
Thunderbolt 3 is a port that some laptops now have. Modern laptops come with at least a USB-3 port. Both technologies use the same connector. HDG Explains Thunderbolt – Need to brush up? You can find more information at HDG Explains Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolt 3 can be “daisy-chained”, which also applies to Thunderbolt 3 monitors. Two Thunderbolt 3 monitors can be connected to one Thunderbolt 3 device. The first can then be connected to your Thunderbolt 3 port.
This is a beautiful solution, but Thunderbolt 3 monitors tend to be rarer and more expensive. Check if your Thunderbolt 3 screen is already in use. You can buy another Thunderbolt 3 screen if you have one, but the cost for most people will be prohibitive.
How to Connect and Use Multiple Monitors On a Windows Laptop
1. The Cable Connections
You should find it easy to connect external displays to your Windows laptop. First, you must determine what kind of cable is needed. Modern laptops come with an HDMI or DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, or USB Type C port capable of output.
If the outputs and inputs of the laptop and the monitor match, you can purchase a simple HDMI cable from Amazon and connect them. If the inputs don’t match or you’ve tried connecting your laptop to your monitor without success, scroll down for more information about adapters/converters.
2. Choose to duplicate or extend the Windows desktop
Extending/Duplicating the Desktop in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10
Once you have your cable in hand, plug it into your monitor and laptop. Windows is simple.
Windows 8/8/8.1 and Windows 10 allow you to press “WIN+P” to open the PROJECT menu. This is on the right-hand side.
Use the “Duplicate” or “Secondscreen” options to play a movie or display a PowerPoint presentation. You will need the “Extend” option if you are working or gaming. This allows you to spread your entire screen over two screens, and you can drag windows from one to another.
Extending/Duplicating the Desktop in Windows 7
Windows 7 users must follow a slightly different process than Windows 8 and 8.1.
Right-click anywhere you see on the desktop, and select “Screen resolution.”
Select “Extend this displays” or “Duplicate these displays” from the “Multiple display” drop-down and then click “OK” or “Apply.”
Two monitors can be connected to a laptop if only one port exists.
Dual monitors can be connected even if you only have one HDMI or USB C port. An HDMI splitter, a USB dongle with an HDMI interface, or a USB dongle with an HDMI connector can be used to connect up to two monitors to your computer.
A second screen can be used as a primary or secondary screen.
When you connect one or multiple monitors to your computer, Windows will allow you to set up additional monitors. You can also choose the monitor you want to use as the main display. Windows automatically recognizes any display devices connected via the laptop or desktop computer and assigns them numbers. The number 1 is the number of the primary monitor. All other numbers are in ascending order.
You can set the order of monitors, adjust the screen arrangement in Windows and position the screens accordingly.
Step 1: Right-click on the desktop area you want to display, and select “Display” settings.
Step 2: Under “Display,” you’ll see multiple displays detected by Windows. You can add additional monitors. Click “Detect” to see if there is none.
Step 3: To change the order or arrangement of the connected displays, click “Advanced display Settings.” For example, you can adjust the screen resolution.
Step 4 The most straightforward way to change the monitor’s use mode is to use the shortcut [Windows]+ [P]. Settings like “Duplicate” allow you to mirror desktop content. With “PC Screen Only” or “Secondscreen Only,” you can decide if you only want to use one of the connected displays. To create a related desk from connected monitors, you can use “Extend.” These options are found under the “Display” menu under “Multiple Screens.”
The shortcut Windows + P lets you quickly access the display options menu. To view the desktop on all connected screens, click “Extend.”
A Semi-Permanent Solution to Business and Gaming Laptops: Docking stations
Thunderbolt covered this briefly, but a docking system is an alternative to multiple adapters. These gadgets won’t be compatible with specific tablet models or laptops unless the purpose is business-oriented. While there are USB-only alternatives, they tend to be slower and less flexible than the more powerful options. If you want to keep your laptop portable with minimal setup and teardown time, you might consider a model-specific extension dock with multiple video outputs.
External graphics cards are a more sophisticated version of the idea. These gadgets can be handy as they let you connect a full desktop-class GPU directly to a laptop. They also allow you to output as many monitors as the card can handle, usually three or four for the NVIDIA/ATI mid-range options.
Unfortunately, these docks are unavailable in all models (typically, only a few laptops from one manufacturer like Razer) or cost $300+ without the card. For them to work, they need a ThunderBolt (or USB 3.0) port. External GPUs could become more popular in the future, but consumers will not be able to afford them unless they’re willing to invest $2000 and get a dock and a graphics card.