Windows 7 Dual Monitor

These days many users has more than one monitor available. However, running a dual monitor in Windows 7 can be tricky to get working correctly. This tech-recipes tutorial will get you started. These directions are for Windows 7 although the directions for XP and Vista are very similar.

Connect Second Monitor

First things first, make sure your computer can support two monitors. The box will need the right outputs for dual monitors. If you use a higher end GPU which allows - you have multiple HDMI outputs; however, Windows 7 is smart enough to use outputs of different types. For example, if you computer has a DVI and VGA outputs, you still can get a dual setup working.

Connect the external monitor cable to the correct video port on your laptop or desktop computer. Most laptops have an external monitor connection which can be used as your second monitor.

Types of Video Connections

DisplayPort is a new digital standard for connecting monitors to computers; it usually resembles a USB port but one side has an angle. The DisplayPort cable should be used if DisplayPort is available on your laptop and the external monitor.

Digital Video Interface (DVI) is the digital standard for connecting monitors to computers. DVI connections are usually color-coded with white plastic and labels. A DVI cable should be used if DVI connectors are available on your laptop and the external monitor.

Video Graphics Array (VGA) is the analog standard for connecting monitors to computers. VGA connections are usually color-coded with blue plastic and labels. A VGA cable should be used if DVI ports are not available on your laptop or the external monitor.

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the current digital standard for connecting many kinds of video devices and provides the same quality video signal as DVI. HDMI can provide audio through the cable, but the video card installed in your computer must be capable of supporting the audio through HDMI in order for it to work properly. An HDMI cable should be used if HDMI ports are available on your computer and the external monitor.

Configure the Display Settings for Dual Monitor

In Windows 7, it is easy to add a second monitor by using the new hotkey Win+P. This is convenient when you need to change the display settings during your presentations with a projector connected to your laptop. Here are two methods to set up multiple monitors in Windows 7. Make sure that you connect the external monitors to your laptop or your desktop computer first.

Method 1: By keyboard shortcut "Win+P"

Press the Windows logo key + P on your keyboard. Select one of the following options according to your needs: (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

Windows 7 Dual Monitor

Select one of the following options:

  • Computer only: This setting will show the screen image only on your laptop monitor.
  • Duplicate: This setting will duplicate your laptop screen image on both monitors based on the monitor with the lower resolution.
  • Extend: This setting allows you to move a window from one monitor to the other by clicking the Title Bar of the window and dragging the window to a new location.
  • Projector only: This setting is typically chosen when your laptop is used as a desktop computer, so you can enjoy the higher resolution of a large external monitor.

Method 2: By the "Screen Resolution" menu

Right-click any empty area of your desktop, and then click Screen resolution. (The screen shot for this step is listed below). Click the Multiple displays drop-down list, and then select Extend these displays, or Duplicate these displays. Note If you cannot see the additional monitor(s) listed, click Detect.

Windows 7 Screen Resolution for Two Monitor

After successfully connecting the second monitor, you can monkey with the resolution or orientation if you like, but you definitely need to choose how the multiple displays will operate. You’ve got four (really three) options:

  • Duplicate these displays: This shows the same display on both monitors and can be handy in some situations, especially when you’re giving presentations.
  • Extend these displays: This creates an extended desktop across both monitors. This is great for multitasking or for complex desktop setups, but may take some getting used to before it becomes intuitive.
  • "Show desktop only on 1" or "Show desktop only on 2": If you’re using a second monitor to improve your ergonomic situation, this is likely the way to go. Power off one monitor (usually the laptop’s primary screen) and focus on the other at a neck-friendly angle.

When you’re done, click the OK button to close the Display Settings dialog box. That’s how it works.

If you cannot see the additional monitor(s) listed, click Detect. If it does not work, try restarting your computer and repeat steps.