Introduction: Setting Up a Dual Monitor Display in Windows 8.1

Picture of Setting Up a Dual Monitor Display in Windows 8.1

Tired of endlessly clicking back and forth between all of your different browsing windows? It sounds like you need to start using two monitors on your computer battle station. Adding a second monitor is a quick fix but the benefits are plentiful. When you’re writing a research report you’d be able to look at your Word document and the source material at the same time. Gaming and browsing the internet can be done at the same time without the need for switching between the two.


This guide will get you on your way to having a convenient and powerful desktop setup. These instructions are geared towards Windows 8.1 but the process is the same for Windows 7 and XP as well. A good number of modern desktops can handle this setup, as long as the Graphical Processing Unit has two separate outputs for video, as shown below. As far as a second monitor, you can use a variety of sources. Any monitor designed for computers of this decade will work, although the resolution and picture quality might not be ideal if it is an older model. Several kinds of digital televisions work as well, as in this example, because a great deal of them contain HDMI inputs in the rear.

Step 1: First You Will Need:

Picture of First You Will Need:

A desktop computer with both AVI and HDMI outputs

Two monitors and their appropriate power cables

1 HDMI Cable, the first picture above.

1 AVI Cable, the second picture above.

Step 2: Arrange the Monitors As Desired and Connect Them to Power

Turn the computer and both of the monitors on. Both monitors should come with their own power supplies that connect into the back.

Step 3: Connect the Video Cables

Picture of Connect the Video Cables

a. Connect the HDMI cable to the main monitor.

b. Connect the AVI cable to the secondary monitor.

c. On the back of your computer there are ports to connect these cables as shown above. The back ends of each monitor will have the corresponding connections as well, the AVI cable being the trapezoidal port on the right and the HDMI port directly to the left of it.

Step 4: Monitor Settings Menu

Picture of Monitor Settings Menu

Right click on the desktop home page and then select Screen Resolution. This will pull up the window shown below.

Step 5: Detect the Secondary Monitor

Picture of Detect the Secondary Monitor

The computer should automatically detect that you’ve connected the second monitor. If it doesn’t, click the Detect button in the upper right as shown below.

Step 6: Customize Positioning

Picture of Customize Positioning

a. Click on the picture with the numeral 2 label. You can drag it on screen to represent how you have the second monitor positioned on your desk or table, as shown in the options below.
b. This menu will let you arrange the new monitor in relation to the main screen. The main screen is labeled 1 in this diagram.

Step 7: Set the Optimal Resolution for Each Monitor

Picture of Set the Optimal Resolution for Each Monitor

Click on each monitor and below it will show you the various resolution settings in a drop down menu. The instructions for your monitor should have provided you with the recommended resolution. If not, Windows will show you a scale of recommended resolutions.

Step 8: Your New Setup Is Ready to Use

Picture of Your New Setup Is Ready to Use

You can now drag different windows onto the alternate screen and utilize the space as you wish!

Comments

LownIgnitus (author)2015-03-29

It's actually a vga, sometimes called d-sud, not avi connector. And using the dvi on that card with the hdmi as well will give better picture quality.

TC78 (author)2015-03-29

Nice.. I tried it with my labtop for a while back but with no results, but now I will try it again..

tomatoskins (author)2015-03-28

This is great! I currently run two monitors but in Windows 7. Thanks for the info and welcome to the community!

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