How To Connect A Second Monitor To A Laptop in Windows in 2024

By: Editorial Team

Connecting a second monitor to your laptop is something quite popular and easy to do. In most cases, having a second monitor helps a lot.

Here’s how to connect a second monitor to a laptop in Windows 10. We will also show you how to turn off the laptop screen using an external monitor.

Things To Know Before Connecting a Second Monitor

Connecting a second monitor to your laptop can do wonders for your productivity and gaming. Nothing beats trying to cover or work through a lot of information when you have a lot of screens.

Before we get into here are a few things to know before connecting a second monitor.


Three ports allow you to connect to an external monitor.


The DisplayPort used to be common a few years are rarely be found in laptops anymore. They are commonly found in desktops though.


A Displayport can support a single monitor of 8K resolution at 85Hz. Also, most monitors might have or not have display ports. Fortunately, many Displayport adapters make things easier.

mini-displayport in macbooks
Mini-Displayport in MacBooks


The most popular and common type port found in laptops for connecting an external monitor or TV. HDMI ports are also commonly found on monitors and TV.

hdmi port

An HDMI port may support up to 4K resolution depending on the graphics of your laptop. However, you can’t connect multiple monitors at once. You are limited to only one external monitor.

USB-C or Thunderbolt 3

USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 is a port that is becoming very common in laptops. USB-C ports allow data transfer and power delivery (laptop should support it), unlike other ports that can be used for data transfer or power delivery only.

usb-c port
USB-C Port

The purpose of the USB-C is to be a universal port. That means you can also connect an external monitor by using a USB-C cable. Furthermore, USB-C ports support external monitor resolutions of up to 4K.

Regardless of your graphics card. And if your USB-C is Thunderbolt 3 you can connect two 4K monitors at 60Hz at once. Because of its very high-speed data transfer.

Purpose of the Second Monitor

Next is the purpose of the second monitor. Are you going to use the monitor for professional work or gaming?

Some people solely work on the monitor once it’s connected to the laptop. Other people use both the laptop’s display and monitor at the same time.

Although the connection is the same both require different settings that have to made from your laptop.

How Do I Connect My Laptop To An External Monitor

Connecting your laptop to an external monitor is a very simple thing to do. Here’s how to do so in the steps outlined below.

  1. Find out if your laptop has an HDMI, USB-C or both displayports.
  2. Find out the ports on your monitor – HDMI, USB-C or Displayport.
  3. Get the required cable needed to connect the laptop to the monitor.
  4. Connect a cable from laptop to monitor.

Detecting Second Monitor In Windows

Now you have made the connection. The next thing is to do is detect and set-up your second monitor in Windows.

Detecting Second Monitor

  1. Right-click the Windows Start Menu and choose Settings.
Right-Click Windows Start Menu
Right-Click Windows Start Menu
  1. Click on System
click on settings
Click on Settings
  1. Click on Display and scroll to the bottom. Click on Detect. Your second monitor is now detected.
scroll down and click on detect
Scroll and click on detect

Identify The Second Monitor

After detecting the monitor the next thing to do is to identify the second monitor. This tells you whether your laptop’s display is primary or secondary.

  1. Go back to Display under Settings.
  2. Under Rearrange Your Display. Click on identify. You will then know which display is your primary or secondary display. Numbers will show on each display. In this case, the primary display will be 1 and the secondary display will be 2.
Identify Display

Setting Up Second Monitor For It To Be The Main Display

If you plan on using the second monitor as the main display. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go back to Display under Settings. Make sure your monitor has been detected and identified.
  2. Under Rearrange Your Display or Customize Your Display. Click the display you want it to be the main display. In this case, click on 2.
  3. Scroll down and select the checkbox – Make this my main display.
  4. Click Apply. Now your second display is your main display. Follow the same steps if you want your laptop’s display to be the primary one.
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Identifying Displays

Choosing What Should Be Displayed On The Second Monitor

Now that you have identified which display is the primary and secondary. The next step is to choose what you want each monitor to display. For example, you would only like to use only the second monitor for gaming or vice versa. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Click on the notification menu on the far right corner of the Windows Task Bar.
right click on the notification icon in the far right corner
Right click on the notification icon in the far right corner
  1. Click on Project.
  2. A menu will pop-up showing four options which we have explained below:
  • PC Screen Only: Only uses your laptop’s display or whatever you have made primary display.
  • Duplicate: Shows the same desktop on both displays
  • Extend: Stretches the background or desktop to the second monitor. Similar to splitting the display into two.
  • Second Screen Only: Only uses the second display or whatever you have made secondary display.
extend, duplicate, pc screen only, second screen only
Choose the option that suits your needs
  • A pop-up will show to confirm your change in settings. Accept to confirm.

How To Turn Off laptop Screen Using External Monitor

  • Right click notifications at the far right corner in the start menu.
  • Click on Project
  • Click on Second Screen only.
  • Accept and confirm changes.

Windows Not Detecting Second Monitor Fix

What if Windows 10 is not detecting the second monitor? What do you do? Here are a few solutions to the problem.

  1. Check the connection. Make sure the cable is properly connected to your laptop and monitor.
  2. The cable being used might be faulty. Consider using a different cable or getting a new one.
  3. The port might be damaged or faulty. A damaged port might prevent a proper connection or data from being transferred.
  4. Update your graphics card through device manager or from the laptop manufacturer’s website. Likewise, you can roll back the graphics driver to a previous version.
  5. Restart your laptop.
  6. Change Project mode to extend or duplicate to verify if the second monitor works.

How Do I Split Screen Between Laptop and Monitor?

To split screen between a laptop and a second monitor. Open project mode and click on extend display. This split the screen and give you more working area. 

How Do I Know If My Laptop Supports Dual Monitors?

Current laptops can support dual monitors. So far as it has more than one USB-C port or a USB-C or HDMI port. You can connect dual monitors to it. There is also the option of getting USB-A adapters if you run out of HDMI and USB-C ports for connecting multiple monitors.

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What Cable Do I Need To Connect Laptop To Monitor?

The cable you need depends on the ports of your laptop and monitor. For example, if your laptop and monitor has an HDMI port, you need an HDMI cable for the connection.

If your monitor doesn’t have an HDMI port but a VGA port, you need an HDMI to VGA adapter for the connection. So it all depends on the ports your laptop and monitor have.

Final Thoughts

Connecting a second monitor to your laptop is an easy task. Can be done in 5 minutes or less if you have the correct cable and follow the steps outlined here.

That’s it on how to connect a second monitor to a laptop.