How to Configure Dual Monitors in Windows XP

By Chris Hoffman

Windows XP includes support for up to 10 different monitors at a time. With dual monitors, you can view different applications on each screen or resize an application window to stretch across multiple screens. Windows treats both monitors as a single large monitor, extending your desktop onto the second monitor. Windows uses one monitor as your primary monitor, where the Windows login screen and most applications you open appear. You can position the monitors to be side-by-side or on top of each other.

Step 1

Locate the connectors on the end of each monitor's display cables and connect them to the matching display ports on the back of your computer or the side of your laptop. Your monitors may use digital visual interface or video graphics array connectors. DVI connectors are larger and usually white, whereas VGA connectors are smaller and usually blue.

Step 2

Right-click the Windows desktop and click "Properties."

Step 3

Click the "Settings" tab in the Display Properties window that appears.

Step 4

Click the "Identify" button to display a number on each of your monitors.

Step 5

Drag and drop the monitor icons to position the monitors. For example, if your computers are sitting side-by-side, you'll likely want to move the icon representing the monitor on the left to the left of the icon representing the monitor on the right. If the monitors are stacked on top of each other, you can place one monitor icon on top of the other. This layout determines how you can move windows between each monitor.

Step 6

Set a primary monitor by clicking the monitor's icon and clicking the "Use This Device as the Primary Monitor" check box.

Step 7

Click the second monitor's icon and click the "Extend My Windows Desktop Onto This Monitor" check box.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your monitors use DVI connectors and your computer requires VGA connectors, or vice versa, you'll need DVI-to-VGA or VGA-to-DVI adapters.
  • Some laptops only support one additional monitor.
  • Move windows between desktops by dragging them to the edge of the screen that corresponds to the monitor's icon. For example, if your second monitor is to the right of your first one, drag the window over the right side of the first monitor to move it onto the second monitor.