How to Hook Up Two Monitors to One Desktop

By Amanda C. Kooser

By having two different applications or documents open and viewable at the same time, you save having to click back and forth between them. This is a smart move for business productivity, but can also make consumer activities like editing photos and updating blogs easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Desktop
  • 2 monitors
  • 2 VGA cables, or
  • 2 DVI cables, or
  • 1 VGA cable and 1 DVI cable

Step 1

Locate the video card on the back of your desktop. Most new desktops are capable of supporting two displays. Look for two connectors that are side by side with space for screws on either side.

Step 2

Determine what type of connectors you have. The video card will have two blue VGA connectors, two white DVI connectors or one of each. If you have two VGA connectors, you will need two VGA cables. If you have have two DVI connectors, you will need two DVI cables. Check to see if the cables that came with your monitors match the connectors on the computer. If one side is different, you will need to pick up an additional DVI to VGA adapter.

Step 3

With the computer off, attach the corresponding cable ends to the monitor outputs on the back of the computer. Attach the other ends to the open ports on the back of each monitor. Tighten the screws for a snug fit. Plug in the power cords for the monitors.

Step 4

Turn on the computer and turn on the power to both monitors. The computer should automatically recognize the new hardware.

Step 5

Make adjustments to the displays by right clicking on the desktop. Choose "Properties" and click on the "Settings" tab. If you want to extend the desktop rather than clone it, choose one of your monitors from the drop down "Display" menu and select the box next to "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor." Drag the "1" and "2" monitor icons to match the actual arrangement of your monitors.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your desktop does not have built-in support for two monitors, you can either upgrade the video card or purchase an external USB video card to attach a second monitor.