How to Hook Up One Computer to Two Monitors

By Candace Benson

Connecting your computer to two monitors simultaneously can expand your viewable display area and allow greater visual access to a demonstration, office application, video or other program. In order to hook up one computer to two monitors, you'll need to determine the capabilities of both your computer and your displays. You may use either one video card with multiple video-outputs or two video cards. Laptop users can connect to an external monitor, or desktop users can hook up to two external monitors.

Things You'll Need

  • Desktop video card that supports multiple video connections, two desktop video cards, or a laptop that features a video-out port
  • Cables to interface video-out ports to monitors
  • Video card drivers

Windows XP

Step 1

Connect the video card(s) to each monitor via the required cables. If you have a laptop, connect the single cable to your external monitor.

Step 2

Right-click on your desktop. Select "Properties."

Step 3

Click on the "Settings" tab, then select "Identify." You will now see a "1" and a "2" on-screen. Make a note of these identities.

Step 4

Click and drag the monitors labeled with a 1 and 2 to establish how you wish your display to appear across your monitors.

Step 5

Click "Apply," then "OK."

Windows Vista

Step 1

Connect the video card(s) to each monitor via the required cables. If you have a laptop, connect the single cable to your external monitor.

Step 2

Right-click on the desktop. Left-click on "Personalize."

Step 3

Click on "Display Settings."

Step 4

Click on "Identify Monitors." You will now see a "1" and a "2" on-screen. Make a note of these identities.

Step 5

Click and drag the monitors labeled with a 1 and 2 to establish how you wish your display to appear across your monitors.

Step 6

Click "Apply," then "OK."

Windows 7

Step 1

Connect the video card(s) to each monitor via the required cables. If you have a laptop, connect the single cable to your external monitor.

Step 2

Right-click on your desktop, then select "Screen Resolution."

Step 3

Click on "Identify Monitors." You will now see a "1" and a "2" on-screen. Make a note of these identities.

Step 4

Click and drag the monitors labeled with a 1 and 2 to establish how you wish your display to appear across your monitors.

Step 5

Click on "Duplicate these displays" or "Extend these displays" under the "Multiple Displays" header. Click "Apply," then "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have problems establishing a multiple monitor display, update your driver to the latest version by visiting your video card manufacturer's website or by visiting Windows Update.
  • You can change the default "Primary Monitor" by opening the Display properties box, clicking on "Settings," then clicking the monitor you wish to designate as your primary. Check the box next to "This is my main monitor" or "Use this device as the primary monitor," then click on "Apply."
  • Your monitor may accept VGA, DVI, HDMI or S-cable connections. If you are unsure of your monitor's capabilities or your video card ports, please see your manufacturer's support documentation.
  • To extend your desktop into the secondary display, select the secondary monitor while in the Display settings box, and tick the "Extend the desktop onto this monitor."