How to Connect Two Monitors to a PC (Step-by-Step Guide)

There are numerous reasons for setting up a dual monitor setup on your PC. An extra screen comes in handy when multiple windows and applications open simultaneously. But how to connect two monitors to a PC.

Consider live streaming, where a dual monitor setup is almost mandatory — one screen is reserved for viewer content, and the other is useful for knowing how to live stream and keeping track of behind the scenes.

In any case, Windows makes it extremely simple to add additional monitors to your setup. Simply follow the step-by-step guide

Steps to connect the dual monitor on a PC

Ensure your PC has the proper connections

  • Ensuring your PC has the proper outputs is essential for your dual monitor setup. Your machine must have at least two HDMI outputs or one HDMI output plus a DisplayPort output.
  • PCs with dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs) may support up to four connections. The GeForce RTX 3070, for example, contains a single HDMI output with three DisplayPort outputs. PCs devoid of a GPU process graphics through the motherboard, where you will find your monitor connections. Remember that if your PC has a dedicated GPU, you should only use its outputs for connecting displays, not the motherboards.
  • Whatever type you choose, make sure your PC has two available connections for external displays.

Connect the monitors to the computer

  • The following step is to connect both screens to your PC physically. This is a straightforward output-to-input connection, with the output coming from the GPU or motherboard and the input coming from the monitor. Because HDMI is universal, you will usually find at least one of those inputs and one output from the GPU or motherboard on your screen.
  • Take a standard HDMI cable and connect one end to the PC’s output and the other to the input of your first monitor. Windows will detect the display automatically. The first display connected will be the primary display by default.
  • Rep the procedure for your second monitor. Ensure the output connection from your PC to the input connection on the second display. You can use another HDMI connection if they each have one. You might also be able to connect the two devices using a DisplayPort cable. However, at times, there may be a mix of available connections between the PC and monitor.
  • It’s not uncommon to need to connect DisplayPort from the PC to HDMI on the secondary monitor. This necessitates the use of a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter cable. One thing to keep in mind about this cable is that it is unidirectional. Only data flows from the DisplayPort end, which is connected to a GPU, to the HDMI input on display.

Locate your display settings

  • You’ll want to configure your dual monitors when connected to a dual monitor setup. Because Windows handles the setup automatically, you can make it as simple or complex as you want. The primary monitor is the first screen it detects; any additional screens connected become secondary displays. It will set the appropriate resolution and scale to 100% by default.
  • Use the following path to find the Display settings on Windows: Navigation: Start > Settings > System > Display.
PC display settings to connect two monitors to a PC

Rearrange your displays

  • The “Rearrange your displays” window is located at the very top. Your dual monitors are represented by large “1” and “2” symbols. Click and drag the monitors to the desired configuration in this window. They can be arranged side by side, one on top of the other, or in any other way you like. This determines which way you scroll between them.
  • If you’re not sure which display is which, you can use the Identify button to find out. On each monitor, a box will appear indicating “1” and “2.”
  • Selecting a monitor in the Rearrange window can also change individual settings. It will highlight blue to indicate the current selection. You can now experiment with features such as Windows’ Night Light, turn high dynamic range (HDR) on or off, change the resolution, and more
  • You can also make whichever screen the main display at the bottom.
Rearranging monitor displays to setup two monitors to a PC

Adjust the “multiple display” settings

  • You can select a setting under Multiple Displays near the bottom of the Display window. Most of the time, the default setting “extend these displays” is sufficient. This allows you to use the secondary monitor as an extension of the primary.
  • “Duplicate these displays” mirrors the main monitor’s image onto the secondary monitor. If you select “Show only on 1” or “Show only on 2,” the other monitor will be turned off.
Multiple Display settings to connect monitors to a PC

Enjoy extra screen space.

  • Thankfully, Windows makes it simple to set up a dual monitor setup. The most difficult part is determining which cables you’ll need for the physical connections. After that, you can sit back and enjoy your expanded visuals.
  • Begin by dragging different applications to the new monitor to declutter your primary screen. In no time, you’ll be wondering how you ever got by with just one display!

Final words

Monitors today typically include some combination of VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort ports. In other words, you’ll have two choices for how to connect two monitors to a PC.

While VGA and DVI cables are commonly included with displays, you may need to purchase an HDMI or DisplayPort cable separately if you go that route. These are readily available on Amazon.


How can my computer to recognize a second monitor?

It must be as simple as plug and play, depending on your computer. Connecting the HDMI/Display Port to your computer should appear as a secondary monitor. If not, proceed with the troubleshooting steps below.

  • For PC

Ensure your cable is plugged into your graphics card slot rather than your CPU—Right-click on your desktop and select “Display Settings” if you’re using Windows.

Search “Display Settings” in the search bar as well. Check that your secondary monitor is visible as a display. When you scroll down to “Multiple Displays,” you can select whether to duplicate or extend your display.

If it still does not appear, ensure that Windows is up to date and that your graphics card has the most recent firmware.

  • For Mac

Follow Apple’s step-by-step guide to connecting a secondary monitor to a Mac computer.

Can a HDMI splitter work for dual monitors?

The purpose of an HDMI splitter is to duplicate one output image).

For example, if you connect a desktop computer to two monitors using an HDMI splitter, the same image will be duplicated on each screen.

The display will not be able to be extended. You’ll need an HDMI adapter to create a dual monitor setup, which will allow you to extend your desktop with two different monitors.

What equipment is needed for dual monitors?

You only need two monitors and a computer! Your monitors should have the necessary cables to connect to your computer.

You’re ready to go once you’ve connected everything to your computer! No additional equipment is required unless you want to add dual monitor stands for more desk space.


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