How to: connect a second monitor to your PC

How to: connect a second monitor to your PC

Hook up a second monitor to your laptop or desktop to instantly double your available screen space

Once you’ve added a second screen to your laptop or PC, you’ll soon wonder how you ever managed without it. The extra space granted by an additional monitor means you can easily multitask – you might have your music software, Twitter feeds and email program on one screen, with a full browser window open on the other.

All modern Advent laptops and desktops have additional graphic outputs for connecting a second display – you just need to source the right cable and follow this simple step-by-step guide.

1. Pick the right cable
You’ll need two things to get your dual-screen display going: a spare monitor and a suitable cable. The cable you need depends on the connections available on the back of your monitor. Take a look around the back for any VGA , HDMI or DVI inputs, then check your computer for one that matches. On a laptop you’ll need to look on the sides – you’ll find at least one VGA output and probably an HDMI port, too. On a PC, look at where your existing monitor cable is plugged in, around the back of the system. To the side of the port currently being used you’ll find the other available output: either VGA or HDMI /DVI (note you cannot use both HDMI and DVI ports at the same time).


2. Make the connection
Once you’ve sussed out the cable you need – Advent manufactures a wide range of monitor cables if you don’t have one spare – you can get connected. Plug one end into the monitor and the other into your computer’s matching port. Switch the monitor on and it should leap into action.

3. Laptop settings
If the monitor doesn’t immediately display a picture, look for a hotkey on your laptop keyboard relating to the display – typically [F3]. Hold the [Fn] down and each time you press the corresponding function key you’ll cycle through a variety of different display settings. These enable you to use a combination of your laptop’s LCD screen and your additional monitor.

4. Using Windows settings
Desktop users can use the Windows display settings to set up the new monitor. Right-click on the desktop and choose Screen Resolution from the pop-up menu. To change settings for each specific monitor, click on the screen labelled 1 or 2 (if you’re not sure which is which, click on the Identify button) then change the required settings. Use the Multiple displays dropdown menu to select the type of display you want.

5. Choosing your display
The most useful option is to extend your display. This makes your desktop space twice as wide – extending it onto screen number two. Alternatively you can mirror the displays – so the same picture is shown on each. That’s handy if you’re connecting to a bigger screen to show off photos, or if you’re giving a presentation at work. If you’re connecting a TV to your laptop, you might choose to switch off the laptop screen entirely (for example, if you’re playing a movie through your laptop).

6. Additional software
To get even more advanced with your screen configuration, take a look at some additional software. DisplayFusion is a good example, especially if you’re using Windows 7, as it offers a number of features not available on that operating system. The option to set the default screen on which each program will open is particularly handy. Enjoy your extra screen space!