How to Connect a Laptop to a Desktop Monitor

By G.K. Bayne

When working at home or at the office on a laptop computer, it is often preferable to have the larger screen available on a desktop monitor. Most laptop manufacturers anticipated this need and have made it simple to connect the laptop to the desktop monitor. Once the drivers for the monitor are installed, changing the display to the larger monitor is just a button push away.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop with an external monitor portDisplay drivers for the monitor

Step 1

Locate the external monitor port on the base of your laptop. This port may be located on the back or side of your laptop case.

Step 2

Plug the connecting cord from the monitor into this port. Turn the monitor on.

Step 3

Insert the driver disk into the CD or DVD drive and install the needed drivers for the monitor. Reboot your computer if prompted. If you no longer have the driver disk that shipped with the monitor, has drivers for most models available for download (see Resources below). You will need the brand and model number of the monitor to locate the drivers on the website. Alternately, you can look on the manufacturer's website and see if the model numbers are available there.

Step 4

Click on the "Start" button on the desktop and choose "Control Panel" from the options. Click on "Display" from the control panel window. Alternatively, in later versions of Windows, right-click on the desktop and choose "Properties" from the pop-up box.

Step 5

Click on the "Settings" tab in the new window. Click on the "Advanced" button to set up the new monitor for color, resolution and other options.

Step 6

Consult your users manual to determine which key to press in order to swap the display to the desktop monitor. On many computers, the key is "F7."

Tips & Warnings

  • Some laptops allow for dual display where you can have the desktop displayed on both monitors at once. This can be set-up on the "Display" options also.Some plug-and-play monitors require no setup and will work immediately after they are plugged in.A docking station for your laptop allows you to hook the desktop monitor up a single time. Once the laptop is connected to the docking station, press the key and the display will change to the desktop monitor. Connecting the monitor to a docking station helps to prevent damage to the monitor port or the plug in on the monitor since you are not repeatedly plugging or unplugging the monitor.

References & Resources