How to Use a Digital Picture Frame As a PC Monitor

By Larry Simmons

Digital picture frames were created primarily to display photo files. Improvements to the technology allows many digital picture frames to use a direct peripheral connection to perform as a color display monitor for your computer. These picture frames can be used without the need for a dedicated video-card connection and often without the need to download and install additional device drivers. Most digital frames already have the necessary software for secondary display function, giving it plug-and-play operability.

Things You'll Need

  • PC
  • Digital picture frame
  • USB cable

Step 1

Connect the digital picture frame to a USB port on your PC with a USB cable. Power up the computer and turn the power on for the digital picture frame. The large connector on one end of the frame's USB cable should go into the USB port of the PC with the mini-connector end connecting to the picture frame.

Step 2

Allow the PC to detect the picture frame. The Windows XP operating system and above should go through an automatic detection process, applying the necessary drivers. If the drivers are not available in your operating system you will have to supply the drivers yourself, either by downloading them from the picture frame manufacturer's website or by loading the drivers from a CD included with your picture frame. Apply the necessary drivers by running them from the CD or from your hard drive.

Step 3

Choose the desired settings for your digital picture frame through the display settings. To access the display settings for your new PC display, right-click with the mouse on you operating system desktop. Choose "Display Settings", then click on the listed digital picture frame among the monitor choices. Choose your preferred display type, either "Mirror" which displays an exact duplicate of your primary display, or "Extended Desktop" which expands your desktop to the new display. Choose the resolution and color depth for the picture frame, and then press "OK" to save the new settings. The display should change to your chosen settings and begin to perform as a secondary PC monitor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some digital picture frames serve only as a mirror display, with the image being the same as shown in your primary display, rather than offering extended display space.