How to Add an External Monitor to a Laptop

By Jason Spidle

Almost all modern laptops, including the smaller netbook style notebooks, feature a 15-pin VGA monitor connector that you can use to add an external monitor to your computer setup. Whether you intend to use the larger, external monitor in place of your laptop screen for added screen real estate or as an additional desktop to be used in conjunction with your laptop, an external monitor can provide a variety of benefits to your laptop computing experience. For the most part, simply connecting the monitor to your laptop and powering it on is all you need to do. However, there are additional options that you can configure that will provide you with the ideal multi-monitor setup.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop computer
  • External monitor

Connect the External Monitor

Step 1

Locate the 15-pin VGA monitor connector on your laptop computer. It is blue in color and has two screw-in mounting points.

Step 2

Connect the monitor to the laptop and secure it by tightening the screws.

Step 3

Plug the monitor into a power source.

Step 4

Turn on the laptop. At this point, Windows will most likely automatically recognize the laptop and configure it with some default settings.

Configure the External Monitor

Step 1

Right-click on the Windows desktop and select "Screen Resolution."

Step 2

Select the second monitor.

Step 3

Select your preferred configuration for the second monitor from the "Multiple Displays" drop-down menu. You can choose to extend your desktop or mirror the desktop and you can also select which monitor is used as the default screen.