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How to set up two monitors for double the screen real estate

samedi 3 décembre 2022, 15:00 , par PC World
Even a generous 24-inch monitor can feel cramped when you’ve got multiple windows open on your desktop (and who doesn’t?). It’s much worse if you’re confined to a laptop screen. Fortunately, it’s simple enough to add a second monitor to your PC setup and spread out. 

Note: While the monitors we discuss below are 1080p, our article about 1080p vs. 4K  monitors can help you determine what approach to take for your own dual-monitor setup; you should also check out our comparison of ultrawide monitors vs. a dual-monitor setup to learn the pros and cons of each. Learn why now is the right time to upgrade your monitor. And if you are in the market for a second display, check out our recent review of the Monoprice 24-inch CrystalPro. This 1080p IPS monitor is priced right, at around $150. It’s also got a thin, discreet bezel that’s ideal for a dual-display setup.

mentioned in this article

MonoPrice 24-inch Crystal Pro 44029

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

$116.32 at Amazon |
$149.99 at MonoPrice

Any modern desktop or laptop PC has the graphics capability to run dual displays. All that’s required is a second monitor. Prices for displays have gone up the past few years, but good deals can still be found. See, for example, PCWorld’s review of the Acer K24HYL 24-inch ISP display—it focuses on the features you should care about to hit $150.

mentioned in this article

Acer K242HYL

Read our review

Best Prices Today:

$109.99 at Adorama |
$149.99 at Acer |
$149.99 at Amazon

If you’re determined to get the price even lower, HP’s V20 HD+ Monitor comes in at slightly less, with a 19.5-inch diagonal screen using TN technology, which offers faster response times but less clarity off-axis. Another good option is Dell’s SE2222H, which steps you up to a 22-inch screen that features slim bezels, nice for minimizing the disruption between your two screens. If you want an even bigger screen (although the same 1920×1080 resolution), Dell’s S2721HN 27-inch IPS panel is a fine option at $190.

Today’s monitors typically come with some combination of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. In other words, you’ll have a couple options for how to connect the monitor to your PC. While its common for VGA and DVI cables to come included with the display, you may have to purchase your HDMI or DisplayPort cable separately if you go that route. Those can be easily purchased on Amazon. 

You can also tap your television to act as a second display in a pinch, although doing so has some potential drawbacks. Our guide to using your TV as a computer monitor explains everything you need to know. Regardless, the method for managing your displays in Windows is the same, as described below.

How to set up dual monitors

Step 1: Connect the monitor cables

Simply plug your second monitor into a power outlet and connect its video cable to an available port on your PC. 

Step 2: Intruct Windows how to manage your dual displays

Right-click the Windows desktop and select either Screen resolution (Windows 7 and Windows 8) or Display settings (Windows 10 / 11).

Windows 8: By choosing to Extend the display, your two screens will act as one. 

In the resulting dialog box you can specify the displays’ arrangement. The Multiple Displays pull-down menu allows you to control how the two screens work together. Choosing Extend these displays will prompt Windows to treat your displays as one contiguous screen. 

The display settings in Windows 10: Click the Identify tab under the graphic to establish your monitors’ arrangement.

Step 3: Choose monitor order

You can tell Windows which monitor is on the left or right by dragging the screen icons at the top of the dialog box. Get this wrong, and scrolling the mouse will be very confusing.

Step 4: Choose primary display

The Make this my main display option controls which monitor gets the taskbar and Start button. If you don’t see that option, the currently selected monitor is already the main one.

You can also control many of these settings by right-clicking the desktop and selecting your graphics control panel.

Computers, Monitors

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