How to Connect a Monitor to Your Windows Laptop

Laptops are perfect to move the „office“ around the house however, there are times when you’d like or require a bit more screen real estate. Connecting a bigger external screen to the laptop could increase the size of your screen and let you multitask like professional. This is how you can achieve this.

1. Select the correct port and cable

The majority of laptops have at minimum one port that you can use to connect to a monitor. But the ports don’t all provide the same high-quality video and features. This article will help you select the best one for you.

HDMI and DisplayPort

For most users who want to connect their laptops to their monitors, the best choices are HDMI or DisplayPort. Both of them transmit video and audio signals through a single cable, which makes them a convenient option to connect a laptop to a screen. DisplayPort offers the added advantage of being able to connect multiple monitors to laptops. DisplayPort is also an ideal alternative for laptops with high-end graphics cards that support AMD’s FreeSync and NVIDIA’s GSync technology.

Certain laptops come with USB-C ports which can also be used as an DisplayPort port. Examine the specifications on your computer to confirm its compatibility DisplayPort.

You can purchase the HDMI adapter to DisplayPort adapter, however it will only allow you to use some of the HDMI features.

If you’re purchasing the HDMI cable and own an HD monitor, you should get one that’s accredited with the Premium High-Speed HDMI (yes it is actually a thing). We prefer those from Monoprice (starting from $4.93 at Monoprice Check price at Amazon). The older HDMI cables are compatible however they might not offer the full range of the color or resolution.


If you own an older monitor or laptop you own, it’s likely to come with an VGA port, or a DVI port to connect to a secondary screen. VGA can support Standard Definition video (640 x 448) and DVI is able to transmit signals that is the resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080). Both do not support audio. If you would like you to stream audio onto your monitor you’ll need connect an audio cable from your headphones on your computer and connect it to an audio output of your monitor.

If you own older computers, it is possible to purchase an DVI or VGA adapter that plugs into the HDMI or DisplayPort input on your display. However the quality of the video will be restricted only to the standard definition of VGA as well as high resolution with DVI and you’ll need to use an audio cable separately.

2. Connect your monitor

Attach the laptop to the screen via cables and switch on your monitor. Windows will recognize the monitor and display the information on the laptop’s screen. If that doesn’t happen check that your monitor is connected to the right input. You might have to go through the inputs to locate the right input for video, HDMI, DisplayPort, etc. If you’re not seeing any images on your screen then you’ll need to go to Windows Display Settings. If you’re using Windows 11, go to Start > Settings > > Display Options > More Displays, and select „Detect.“ For Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > System Display, and then click „Detect“ to get your laptop to recognize the display

3. Pick what you can see on your screen

If you plug in your display you can select what displays in the display. These are your choices.

Display the same output on your laptop as well as your monitor

Windows will default with „Duplicate these displays.“ This means that what you see on the laptop’s screen is the image is displayed on the screen and, when you use your mouse on one display it will also move across the second. In this case your monitor might not receive a full-resolution video signal, if your laptop’s graphics card does not appear to be capable of delivering the highest resolution to both screens.

Only show output for external displays

If you wish to only use the external monitor, select „Show only on 2.“ This will ensure that your monitor is receiving the best definition from the laptop and you’ll be able to use your laptop while shut. (Selecting „show only on 1“ makes the laptop screen your sole display.)

If you’re planning to shut your laptop and use it as a monitor, ensure that your computer does not get sleepy after you shut the lid. In Windows 11, click on the search icon in the task bar on the right. Enter „close lid“ into the search bar and then click „Open“ under „Change what you want to close the lid for..

If you are running Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > System > Power and Sleep, and then choose „Additional power settings.“

In both Windows 11 and Windows 10 the new window will be opened. Choose „Choose what closing the lid does.“ Choose „Do nothing“ in the drop-downs to indicate that the computer is „on battery“ and „plugged in“ to ensure that your laptop will not go to sleep.

Place your desktop on top of the monitor and laptop

You can display different contents on your laptop as well as monitor by choosing „Extend these displays.“ When you are in this setting, you are able to move your mouse over the edges of one screen to move into the other. You can also move windows between both screens. Thus, you can be able to have one program running in full-screen mode on your laptop and another open on your display.

Categories: Laptop