How To Configure And Use Multiple Monitors In Windows 7

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Windows lets you add a second or a third monitor (if two VGA ports available) in your PC. In fact you could add more of them, and, since it is said that multiple monitors could greatly enhance your productivity, you might find that you can work more efficiently with them.

There are many options available in Windows 7 to enhance your multi monitor experience. For example, you could use the second monitor to duplicate your desktop or use it as an extended monitor. You could even connect your laptop to a big TFT when you’re at home.

How to set up multiple monitors on a desktop computer

First, check the number of VGA ports at the back of your computer. If you find two VGA or DVI ports then you can easily set up one additional monitor. However, if you don’t find an extra VGA port then you would need to add a video adapter.

A video adapter having more than one VGA port is easily available. Install it if you want to add two or more monitors in the current arrangement. If you don’t know how to add a video adapter to your PC , then you should get the help of an expert.

VGA port multiple=

After you are done connecting the monitors, turn them on. If everything works fine, the screen appearing on the second monitor should be the same as your primary monitor.

How to configure multiple monitors

In Windows 7, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Win+P” (where Win is the key that has a Windows symbol) to decide the way you want to use your second monitor. A dialog box pops up when you press them, as shown in the screenshot below. Select your preferred arrangement by clicking on any one of the given options.

There are options for connecting projector, duplicating or extending the dual monitor arrangement and disconnection of projector.

dual monitors windows 7

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The second way to configure multiple screens by right clicking on the desktop and selecting “Screen resolution” from the context menu.

screen resolution multiple=

In the given screenshot below, there are two screens in blue colors having numbers (1 and 2). It means 1 is the primary monitor attached to the computer and 2 is the second secondary monitor. Both the monitors could be dragged to either side.

Also, you can make 2 as your main display. It shifts the taskbar on display 2. Click the “identify” button and a number will appear on each monitor which helps you to identify them.

multiple monitors display settings

In laptops, you can connect any external monitor if VGA port is available. When you connect a monitor to the laptop, it is set to “duplicate this display” by default. You have to change the settings if you want to extend the display. By extending the display, you can transfer any programs or icons from one screen to another.

Go to screen resolution settings. Under Multiple displays drop down, select “Extend these displays” to make most out of multiple monitors. Use one screen to monitor stuff like email, twitter, Facebook etc. And use the primary one for work.

There are a lot of tips and tricks that help you add more spice to the multiple monitor set up. We will cover them in future articles. If you use more than one monitor than we’d love to know how have they worked for you so far.

Also Read Our Post on Utilizing Multiple Monitors…

We have also written a post on How to Make Full Use of Multiple Monitors In Your Windows Setup. Make sure you read that too.

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Archived Comments

  1. Mark Warne says:

    This is a nice post, thanks for sharing the valuable information.

  2. John Yi says:

    I work with 21 ” projector as a main screen connected to Sony Vaio laptop with Window 7. I drag documents to Sony screen but I can only drag to my left from the Projector. With Window XP, I can configure it to drag the document to my right or to my left. I called Sony and was told that Window 7, you can only drag it to left. That’s stupid. So, all my papers sits on my lap top while I work. Is there a patch or program that I can place my laptop to the right of my Projector? Thanks.

  3. Bannondorf says:

    I have a issue with my dual monitors that i havent found an answer to. I have a system in which i am running two video cards in an SLI and I am attempting to hook up my 52″ Sharp LCD to it as a duplicate display. My main monitor a 24″ASUS is hooked into video card 1 via HDMI and is recognized as Display 1 in windows, my 52″ sharp is hooked into video card 2 via HDMI and is recognized as Display 2. I have tried all the steps above and I can use both displays at once as an EXTENDED display but it does not give me the option to run them as DUPLICATES in the control panel configuration, when I use the WINDOWS + P key it allows me to select DULICATE but it changed my resolution to very low settings (from 1920 x 1080 to 1024 x 768) and left my 52″ sharp Black with no picture. I would apreicate any feedback. Thank You.

  4. .m. says:

    I currently have a three monitor set up; however i’m trying to extend it onto a four screen. My laptop screen is disconnected, whenever I try to extend it onto my laptop, it wouldn’t allow me to. My connections right now are DVI, VGA and VGA-USB adaptor. I’m thinking my issue might be fixed with another VGA-USB adaptor, but I’m not too sure.

  5. Jsjs11985 says:

    I use a laptop and I take it to work and when I get home I have a second monitor set up with a docking station. Each time I get home I have to run the wizard (or go through windows P) to extend the desktop. I wish I could change the default from duplicate to extend so I could just drop my laptop in the docking station and go.

  6. Djc 45 says:

    i am have win7 and use the hdmi out to watch on my tv but when i use extended mode i cannot keep the extended monitor in full screen mode as when i try to say surf the web the extension reverts back to small screen hope you understand my prob and can help

    • Dillonxh says:

      I have the same issue so when you figure out how to fix it do let me know.

      • DJC45 says:

        sorry no one has come up with an answer as yet but i feel sure there must be a way of doing it i will post the answer on here if i find out its frustating me
        regards Dave

      • Djc 45 says:

        its not possible to do something to do with flash player so another glitch in windows 7 seems daft they have hdmi out and cannot use the laptop to surf the web at the same time

  7. Tpw1991 says:

    my laptop screen is broken so i use a tv to see my screen but recently it has messed up. the menu where it says laptop only i change it too projector only but it goes back to monitor only help anyone :(

  8. GG says:

    i’ve got one laptop and 2 HP monitors. currently the laptop is connected to one monitor via VGA cable and the other monitor is connected to the laptop via HDMI cable. on the Screen settings it can detect the 3 screens but it’s only allowing the desktop extend to only one HP monitor. its one or the other monitor. however , if I shut the screen of my laptop, the desktop is then reflected on the other HP mointor. so how do I get all 3 screens working at the same time?

    • kiba says:

      Your graphics processor can’t handle three monitors. And being a laptop I don’t think you’ll be able to upgrade it either.

  9. rockkt says:

    I’m trying to connect my laptop to my tv via hdmi. I’ve done as you suggested but the laptop does not pick up my tv as another display. What am I doing wrong?

  10. binil kumar says:

    thanks alotttt

  11. JR says:

    How do i change which side of the screen I can move programs? Currently, the monitor is to the left of my laptop. If I want to move a program from the laptop to the monitor I have to drag the program window to the right side of my laptop monitor. I want to be able to drag a program to the left side of my laptop screen and move it to my monitor which is on the left side of my laptop. I hope that makes sense.

  12. Samba says:

    My screen resolution doesn’t have extended display as one of the option, it’s only allowing me to choose one or the other screen for projection or just a regular dual without the extended display. What should I do?

  13. MD says:

    I have a laptop and two large ASUS displays. When I dock, I want to use only the ASUS displays and not the laptop display; I got that to work. I’d like Outlook to be on the left display, with everything else being on the right. I can move Outlook and all related windows to the left and it works just fine, until I shutdown and undock. When I come back in the next day, after doing some work the previous night at home, I have to move Outlook to the left again b/c it seems to default to the right. It feels like, with a latptop, I will contstantly be setting up what opens where which is annoyting. Any suggestions?

  14. faith says:

    I don’t have an extended option on my laptop. How can I get that?

  15. Rod C says:

    The descriptions are typical of those given by experts,. They know too much and forget that ignoramouses don’t know how to move from being set up with a duplication on the TV to actually being able to display a different document. The whole object of following this path was to do what is mentioned in the penultimate para. How does one find that out? Not mentioned here.

  16. Scott says:

    i’ve got one laptop and 2 monitors. currently the laptop is connected to one monitor via VGA cable and the other monitor is connected to the laptop via HDMI cable. on the Screen settings it can detect the 3 screens but it’s only allowing the desktop extend to only one HP monitor and the other is blank How do I duplicate the laptop screen on one monitor and extend the other while my laptop is closed?

  17. jkflds;a says:

    i dont have an extra VGA port Q_Q

  18. Matt Chamberlain says:

    I have my laptop setup with a 2nd monitor and all works fine, except when I undock my laptop and if my last setting of a specific program was on the 2nd monitor and not my laptop; when I turn on my laptop, not connected to the 2nd monitor, and start that program up and open a file that new window it is being displayed in the 2nd monitor and I have no access to it and it does not display.

  19. Karthik says:

    Hi all
    Im using VGA splitter to extend my display and connected 17″ crt monitor, but im getting same image in both the screen.
    Can any i help????

  20. Dale says:

    Sir: I am trying to set my desk top up with two monitor so I can run a separate programs on each, I am now in the extended mode is there a program that allows this , I have it on my win XP and I just put my win 7 in a separate partition so I can run either XP or win 7, I cannot seem to locate the program, thanks.

  21. Judith Carrizales says:

    i want to install three monitors on my desktop pc. I want to have my main monitor (M1), a monitor to duplicate my main monitor (M2) and a monitor to extend my main monitor (M3). First is this possible? Second, I have the main monitor (M1) set up and have already connected the duplicate monitor (M2). I am currently using the VGA and DVI ports. However, I have found a VGA to USB converter and I wanted to know if I could use that converter to connect the third monitor (M3) which will be used to extend M1.

    Help would be much appreciated.