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How to Set Up Multiple Computer Monitors

by Paul Sanders

Desktop with multiple computer monitors connected

You can add a lot of virtual workspace with two computer monitors to spread out your computer desktop, and most computers can easily accept dual monitors with very little setup. Whether you want more monitors & displays for games, video editing or just a larger workspace, these simple steps will help you set up your new displays.

Connecting Multiple Monitors:

  1. Check for available video ports. If your laptop or desktop computer has extra video ports, such as VGA or DVI, you can easily connect a second computer monitor. Be sure to mark which video port type your computer needs before you buy a second LCD monitor. If the ports on the new monitor and your computer do not match, you will need a cable adapter to connect them.

  2. Verify video setting options. Some computers -- especially older models -- have integrated graphics, which may not support dual computer monitors. Check the display settings on your computer to make sure your system can support multiple computer monitors. In Windows, you can reach Display Properties through the Control Panel menu. If your laptop or desktop has ports for extra computer monitor cables, it will probably support a second monitor.

  3. Install a video card (optional). If your computer does not already include a video card, or has no second video port for additional computer monitors, you can expand its display capabilities by installing a video card. Most mid-range video cards support multiple monitors and will help your machine handle extra demands on graphics processing.

  4. Connect the second monitor. With the computer and monitors turned off, connect the second monitor cable to the extra port on the back of the computer or on the video card. You may need to screw in the posts to secure the computer monitor cable. Then turn on the computer and both monitors.

  5. Open the Display Settings menu. Your computer may automatically recognize the new LCD computer monitors. If not, you can adjust the settings through the Display Properties menu, mentioned above. Navigate to the Settings tab, where you should see two numbered boxes which represent your dual computer monitors.

  6. Expand your desktop to both monitors. Click on the second monitor box and then mark the "Extend my Windows desktop to this monitor" checkbox near the bottom of the menu window. If these options are not available, you may need to check the connections for both computer monitors. Click "Apply" to finalize the settings and click "OK" to close the menu. You can now move your cursor, icons and program windows from one monitor screen to the other.

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