How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop [Step-by-Step Guide]

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Daniel Wabuge
Written by
Daniel Wabuge

Updated · Jul 27, 2023

Daniel Wabuge
Web Hosting Expert | Joined October 2021 | LinkedIn
Daniel Wabuge

Daniel is a curious thinker that loves everything about tech. If he spots something interesting, res... | See full bio

Lorie Tonogbanua
Edited by
Lorie Tonogbanua


Lorie Tonogbanua
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Lorie Tonogbanua

Lorie is an English Language and Literature graduate passionate about writing, research, and learnin... | See full bio

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Laptops have changed how people use technology for business, gaming, creativity, and staying connected. However, the limited and non-upgradable screen size can often impact readability and functionality.

Connecting external monitors to your laptop is a potential solution to this limited screen issue. Hooking your laptop to one or two monitors can improve productivity and overall user experience

In this article, we'll walk you through the steps to connect two monitors to a laptop and solve the common problems you may encounter.

Key Takeaways


Before connecting a laptop to an external screen, you must check if the monitor ports are compatible and the GPU can handle multiple screens.


The steps for connecting a laptop to an external monitor may vary depending on the operating system.


Display issues, conflicting resolutions, and incompatible monitor ports are some of the problems you may encounter when working with a dual screen.

Connecting Two Monitors To A Laptop - Boosting Your Productivity

Connecting extra monitors to your laptop is a relatively simple process that can significantly enhance your work setup. 

Mobile vs. Desktop

Before connecting, there are some things that you need to check first. Continue reading to learn more about them in the next section.

Things to Check Before You Start

You might think that connecting your laptop to external monitors is just as easy as plugging them together. However, there are a few things you have to consider, including: 

 1. Identify the laptop’s video output port.

VGA connector and port

Most laptops include built-in support for external display connections. However, you need to consider the ports on your laptop and the monitor you’d like to connect.

Monitors can be connected using the following types of connectors:

  • USB-C: This recent technology supports data transfers by up to 20Gbps. However, support for display capabilities varies across devices.
  • DisplayPort: DisplayPort supports 8k resolutions at 60 frames per second (FPS), 4k resolutions at 144 FPS, and 1080p resolutions at 240 FPS. 
  • HDMI: A standard HDMI port can carry audio and display resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080. 
  • Thunderbolt: This port is almost similar to a USB-C device. It comes with a data transmission rate of up to 40Gbps. It supports audio and video output of up to 8K resolution.
  • VGA: This port cannot carry audio and initially supported a max resolution of 640 x 480. Modern VGA can support up to 1080p resolutions but still has no audio functionality.  
  • DVI: DVI ports are white and have a 24-pin connector and an additional flat-pin connecter. 

Common monitor ports matched with their connector

2. Make sure that your GPU can handle multiple screens.

You need to make sure your computer supports multiple monitors. Here are the steps to check if your laptop supports multiple monitors:

1. Open Settings from the Start

Open Settings from the Start

  1. Select System.

Select System

  1. Click Advanced Display settings

Click Advanced Display settings
4. Then select Display from the System settings menu.

5. Under Display information, you can view the graphics card installed on your computer and other crucial graphics-related parameters.

Display information
After a quick check and confirming the display compatibility, having a dual-monitor setup with your laptop won't be an issue. 

Now that you know the requirements, you can connect the two monitors to your laptop.

Steps in Connecting Laptops to External Monitors

The steps to connect a laptop to an external monitor may differ depending on the operating system and how the monitor is set up. Here are the most common methods to connect your Windows or Mac to dual monitors:



Upon connecting monitors to Windows, a notification will show you the monitors detected and suggest any necessary changes.

Follow these steps to connect your Windows laptop to additional monitors.

1. Turn on the laptop and monitor, and wait for Windows to start. 

2. Connect the monitor to the laptop with the appropriate cable. 

3. Enter Display settings into the Start window.

Enter Display settings

4. Then select Ease of Access display settings from the search results list. 

5. Click Additional display settings in the Display Settings window. 

6. Click Identify, and the numbers will show up briefly on the two screens. 

7. You can drag the two monitors on the screen so they face the same direction as your workstation. After that, select "Apply."  

select "Apply

8. Scroll down to locate the Multiple Displays section, then Click the dropdown menu.

9. Select Duplicate or Extend these displays based on whether you wish to have duplicate or extended displays. 


Depending on the Mac model, external displays are supported by Mac computers. Here are the steps for connecting an external monitor.

1. Connect monitors to the laptop using the appropriate cable after turning the MacBook on.

2. Then wait for the Mac to boot up. 

3. Click the Apple logo and select System Preferences.

4. Click Displays within the Preferences window. 

Click Displays within the Preferences window
5. In the window containing the display settings, select the Arrangement tab.

6. You should now see two boxes representing the laptop and secondary display. The display with the white menu bar is the MacBook's internal display.

secondary display
7. Click Mirror Displays if you want both monitors to display the same content. Leave the checkbox unchecked to extend the display to the second monitor. 

Common Problems When Connecting Laptops to Monitors

Connecting extra monitors to laptops poses potential challenges. Not displaying properly or not turning on at all are two of the most common issues.

Helpful Article:  Is your monitor going black out of nowhere? Check out Techjury’s article on Why Does My Monitor Keep Going Black? 5 Quick Fixes!

You can review the list of the most common multi-monitor problems in Windows 10 and 11 and how to fix them.

Problem #1: The second monitor is not displaying.

When your computer cannot detect an external display, there can be a lot of issues that can cause the problem.

Here are the potential causes of why your second monitor is not displaying and how to solve them.

Problem #1: The second monitor is not displaying.
Transcript for the image above for editing purposes 

Cause of Display Not Working


Connection types detest hot switching while another monitor is active.

Turn the screen off and on.

Loose cables

Check cable connections

Incompatible accessories or use connections on your laptop.

Remove other peripheral devices

Using an adapter to switch from one type of input to another

Check the correct input. Replace or remove if necessary. 

Use an older cable standard like VGA or DVI-D

Try a newer alternative like HDMI or DisplayPort

Damaged graphic ports

Change the graphics port

Outdated and unconfigured drivers

Update your drivers

Problem #2: Incorrect or Conflicting Resolutions

When running a dual monitor system, you might encounter different screen resolutions. Here’s how to fix it on a Windows computer:

1. Right-click the desktop and select Display Settings from the resulting menu.

Right-click the desktop and select Display Settings

2. Upon launching the Settings app, the Display panel is displayed by default. Select the secondary display labeled 2.

Select the secondary display labeled 2
3. With the secondary screen selected, navigate to Scale and Layout and pick the drop-down menu under Display Resolution.

4. Choose the optimal screen resolution for your computer. Windows identifies one of these resolutions as "recommended" based on the display's hardware.

Note: External monitors can improve your productivity. But did you know the benefits of external storage? Read our article on external storage to learn more.

If this does not work, ensure your monitor and graphics card can run at the desired resolution. If you continue to experience issues, consider updating your graphics drivers.


If you’re using a MacOS laptop, here is how you can match the solution:

1. Click on the Apple Logo on your Mac and choose System Settings.

System Settings.
2. Scroll down and click Displays.

3. Click on the displays and set the resolution you want to use on both displays. 

Problem #3: Incompatible Monitor Ports

If your laptop's display port is incompatible with your monitor, you have several options to solve this issue, including:

1. Use an adapter: The quickest way to fix the compatibility issue is an adapter. Ensure that you choose the correct adapter for your specific port types.

VGA and HDMI adapter)

2. Use a docking station: A docking station can provide multiple video output options, allowing you to connect different types of monitors to your laptop. 

Docking station with connectors

3. Update your laptop's graphics drivers: You can visit the manufacturer's website or use an automatic driver update tool to check for the latest drivers for your graphics card. New drivers may include additional functionality and compatibility improvements.

4. Replace the cable: If you are using a cable to connect the laptop and monitor, ensure it is in good condition and compatible with both the laptop and the monitor. Try using the right cables and correct ports to establish a connection.

5. Consider wireless solutions: If your laptop and monitor support wireless connectivity, consider using a wireless display adapter or a smart TV with built-in screen mirroring capabilities.


Helpful Article:  Techjury has other great How-To articles that can improve user experience and your laptop’s speed. Check out our article on How to Check RAM Speed and How To Boost It and Why Is My Laptop So Slow? Here's How to Fix it in Under 5 Mins

Conclusion - Better Productivity with Dual Monitors

Adding multiple displays to a laptop can significantly increase productivity. You can independently run various applications on each device to efficiently manage tasks.

Now that you understand how to connect two monitors to a laptop, it's time to put your knowledge to the test.


Can any monitor be used for dual monitors?

Yes, you can use any monitor if its monitor port is compatible with your laptop. However, you must ensure your laptop's GPU can handle external monitors.

Can a laptop handle three monitors?

Yes, as long as your laptop has three graphic interfaces that can handle three monitors.

Which is better, HDMI or DisplayPort?

DisplayPort is the best gaming connector on the market due to its versatility that has been optimized for gamers. Its support for FreeSync and G-Sync makes adaptive sync technology accessible to many enthusiasts.

Can you have one monitor in VGA and another in HDMI?

Monitors can be connected to both ports simultaneously, but only the HDMI port supports an external display. The VGA port only supports mirroring.


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