How to Hook Up a Second Monitor to a Laptop

Laptop computers are one of the best technological innovations. They allow users to work while traveling, or to bring work home with them. However, the biggest drawback of working on a laptop is the lack of real estate on the screen. Fortunately, most manufacturers of computers know this, and give users the option of attaching a second monitor (also known as a display) to their laptop computers. While toting around a second monitor is virtually impossible, having one available where laptop users do the majority of their work is a good thing, and can certainly increase productivity.

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Hook Up a Second Monitor to a Laptop

Step

Determine what type of connector your laptop has. It could be a VGA, DVI or a proprietary connection, which is the case with some Macintosh laptops, and these require an adapter that will connect it to a VGA or DVI display.

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The ports you'll encounter along the way: DVI (top) and VGA (bottom)
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You may need to buy an additional VGA cable.

Step

Shut down the laptop, and then connect the monitor to it. Turn the monitor on and then reboot the laptop.

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The displays settings in Mac OS X

Step

Open the display settings on the laptop. On a Windows machine, it can be found in the Control Panels. On a Macintosh laptop, the Displays settings is found in the System Preferences.

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Two displays are better than one.

Step

Decide what mode and arrangement you plan on using. You can mirror the displays, so both monitors display the same thing, or you can arrange them to create one long monitor. You can also choose which is your "main" screen with the menus and desktop items, and whether your secondary display is on the right or on the left.

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In some cases, a second monitor is impossible.

Step

Tweak the display preferences to achieve the optimal settings for your particular situation. This includes the resolution settings, the brightness/contrast levels and desktop picture.