How to Connect Dual Monitors to a Dell Computer

By Tyson Cliffton

Setting up dual monitors on your Dell computer can save you from having multiple documents minimized in your Windows tray along the bottom of your screen, and can keep you from having to print documents unnecessarily. Dual screens give you more workspace, allowing you to move documents that you would otherwise have to print to your secondary monitor while you keep your work at hand open on your primary monitor.

Windows 7

Step 1

Turn on your Dell computer. Connect the second monitor into either an available DVI, HDMI or VGA input on the back of your computer. Consult your Dell user guide to see where exactly these inputs are located on your specific computer.

Step 2

Close any unnecessary programs running on your Dell computer.

Step 3

Click "Start." Click "Control Panel." The Control Panel window will appear.

Step 4

Click "Adjust screen resolution" beneath the Appearance and Personalization section.

Step 5

Click "Detect." Click the dropdown icon to the right of "Multiple Displays." Select the monitor setup that works best for you. The list of choices will include: "Duplicate these displays," "Extend these displays," "Show desktop only on 1," or "Show desktop only on 2." "Duplicate these displays" will display an exact copy of whatever you are doing on both screens. "Extend these displays" will allow some of the Windows icons to spill over onto your secondary monitor, essentially creating one large desktop. Showing the desktop only on either the primary or secondary monitor will display your Windows home screen on one monitor---the other monitor will display only the background.

Step 6

Click the dropdown icon to the right of "Resolution." Click and drag the slider to adjust the screen resolution on your new monitor. A preview of your new settings will appear. Click "Yes" if you want to keep your new settings.

Step 7

Restart your computer to finalize the changes.

Windows Vista

Step 1

Follow Steps 1 through 4 in Section 1.

Step 2

Click the icon of the monitor with "2" inside of it and place a check in the box next to "Extend my desktop onto this monitor."

Step 3

Click and drag the slider beneath "Resolution" to adjust the resolution on the new monitor and click "Apply." A preview of your new settings will appear on your screen. If you want to keep the settings, click "Yes."

Step 4

Restart the computer to finalize the changes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a second monitor that has a DVI cable and your computer has two VGA inputs and no DVI input, you can buy a DVI-to-VGA adapter to connect your second monitor to your laptop. If you have a second monitor with a VGA cable and the only available input you have is a DVI input, you can use DVI-to-VGA adapter to connect that monitor as well.