Moving a window from one monitor to another is called “extending” the screen. The extension will display your windows on the second monitor and allow you to work with them as if they were on the first monitor. This feature is handy if you work with large documents or spreadsheets that don’t fit on one screen.
Setting up a dual monitor is more challenging than it seems. Extending your screen requires you to have a suitable graphics card and the correct ports, and this is particularly challenging if you want to add more than one external screen to your laptop.
In this article, we will show you how to extend your screen in Windows. We’ll help you figure out what you need and how to configure your multiple monitor setup.
Why Extend Your Screen?
There are many reasons to extend your screen. The main reason is to create a dual-screen workspace and increase productivity. When you work with two applications simultaneously, you can see them on different screens and interact with them more efficiently.
Extending your screen can be done using various methods, including connectivity cables or purchasing additional hardware like an external dock. Below, we’ll explain how to extend your screen with Windows for better productivity.
Can You Connect Two Monitors to Your Laptop or PC?
Before you can extend your screen, there are three essential factors you need to consider:
- Does your computer support dual monitors?
- Is your video card capable of handling more than one monitor?
- Have you set up your dual monitors correctly?
We will go over each of these areas and help you troubleshoot the issues you may be having with your extended displays.
Step 1: Check What Ports are Available
The first thing you need to do is check what ports are available on your laptop or PC. Most laptops have at least one port for connecting an external monitor; many have two. There are three ways to connect several monitors to your laptop.
One is by using a docking station, the other is by using an external display cable like an HDMI or VGA cable, and the third option is to use a DisplayLink. If your desktop or laptop has a DisplayPort, you can use a cable to connect several monitors to your computer.
If your laptop only has one port and you want to connect two monitors, you’ll need to get a USB-based docking station and/or HDMI adapter. These devices allow you to connect multiple monitors to your laptop using a single USB port (or Thunderbolt port).
Step 2: Check Your Video Card Settings
Most modern laptops and desktops support multiple monitors, but you may need an adapter if your computer supports only one external monitor.
The first step is to check your video card settings. Just plug in your external monitor, press Windows + I, and go to System > Display.
In the display settings, you may see multiple displays, with some disabled and others set up as either your primary display or an extended display. If more than one shows up, the card can display windows on multiple monitors.
If you only see one, your card can only utilize one extended screen at a time, even though you managed to connect multiple displays. Your extended screens should work fine if everything checks out and seems compatible.
Step 3: Connect Two Monitors Using a Daisy Chain Setup
If your graphics card does not support a dual monitor setup, you can try one of these workarounds.
You can use a daisy chain setup if you want to set up two monitors but only have one graphic card. This is a simple way to extend your desktop across multiple screens.
If your laptop or PC has a DisplayPort, you can use a multi-stream transport (MST) to daisy-chain two monitors off the single DisplayPort. To do so, your graphics must have a DisplayPort available and your second monitor has to be DisplayPort MST capable.
Connecting to your second monitor with daisy-chaining is simple:
- Connect your PC to the DisplayPort in the monitor.
- Connect that output port to the input DisplayPort port on the second monitor.
- Go into the Display Settings on your computer and Enable DisplayPort.
Now, you should see both monitors listed in Display Settings. It is also possible to arrange them to mirror or extend your desktop.
Step 4: Connect Two Monitors to Your Laptop With a Docking Station
You can use a docking station to connect two monitors if your laptop has an external video output such as HDMI or DisplayPort. This is the easiest way to get multi-monitor support on your laptop. Just connect your laptop to a docking station and then connect two displays using the docking station’s built-in ports.
You’ll need to buy a compatible docking station, but they’re relatively inexpensive compared to other solutions. Before you buy a docking station, check the specifications of your laptop’s model. Also, see if you have multiple USB 3 ports since these will be needed to connect the docking station.
Step 5: Connect Two USB Monitors With DisplayLink
A simple way to add a monitor to your computer is by connecting it via USB. This is possible thanks to DisplayLink technology which sends the video signal over USB instead of using the computer’s graphics card.
DisplayLink is a technology that allows you to connect multiple displays using USB ports. It allows you to use your computer to connect multiple monitors using just your USB cable on your computer. The best part about this technology is that you can connect multiple monitors using only one USB port on your computer.
You can find many different models from different manufacturers on Amazon and other online retailers.
How To Configure Dual Monitors in Windows
Regardless of how you set up a dual monitor arrangement, you configure everything under Settings (Windows + I) > System > Display.
After you’ve connected and detected one or more external monitors, click on either one to configure it.
You may find that your screen size is limited when working on a Windows computer. This can be annoying when you want to watch a video or use two programs simultaneously. Follow the steps above to extend your screen on Windows 11.