Easily convert your laptop to a dual monitor system using your spare monitor

dual monitorIf you use your notebook computer as your main computer and if you have a spare monitor, then you can put your monitor to good use by making it your Laptop’s secondary monitor. It doesn’t really matter if the second monitor is a CRT or TFT, both work fine. First, let’s see why you would want to add a secondary monitor to your laptop. Here are a few reasons:

  • It instantly doubles your desktop space without buying a larger monitor.
  • You can work with two maximised windows at the same time.
  • If you are working on a tool like Photoshop, which has lots of toolbars and panels, you could move the tools to the second monitor and have a large work area on your main monitor.
  • If you need to compare two documents, you can open each of the documents in a different monitor.
  • When browsing your picture library, you can view the thumbnails on one monitor, and use the second monitor to view the pictures full screen.
  • If you need to stay on top of your e-mail while working, you can keep your inbox open on one monitor and work on the other.

These are just a few suggestion but actually how you use the dual monitors is only limited by your imagination. Now lets see how to set up the secondary monitor. Make sure that both your Laptop and the monitor are switched off. Connect the monitor to your Laptop by connecting it to the VGA or DVI connector, typically found on the rear of your laptop computer. Now switch on your laptop and the monitor. You will notice that initially, only one of the two monitors is activated. You can usually switch between the monitors by pressing the hotkeys in your laptop. Normally, it is a combination of the Fn key with another key with an image of a monitor on it (normally found on one of the function keys). To bring on the display on both the monitors you’ll need to adjust your display settings by following these steps:

  1. Right-Click on an empty area on your desktop. On the context menu that pops-up click on Properties and on the resulting ‘Display Properties‘ window, go to the Settings tab.
  2. dual monitor

  3. Click the monitor icon labeled 2, and then select the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor checkbox.
  4. If necessary, drag the monitor icons so that they are arranged in the same way as the monitors on your desk. Clicking on the Identify button will help you know which monitor is 1 and which monitor is 2.
  5. dual monitor

  6. If need be, change the resolution of your secondary monitor to the most appropriate settings. You can change the resolution of the monitors independently.
  7. Click Apply. Windows XP will activate your new monitor.
  8. Finaly, click OK.

Once your monitor is set up, you can use your mouse to grab the title bar of a window and drag it to your new display. Make sure that the window you are trying to drag is not maximised, in which case you will not be able to drag it. To be able to drag it, first double-click on the title bar and then drag it. It may take you a while to get used to working on dual monitors, but once you do, it will forever change the way you work with your computer. Be creative and experiment with the sizing of application windows and what information you can keep in constant view while doing multiple tasks.


  1. Sldg says

    Ignore the post by Paul.

    This should work on most laptops, even one running crappy intel onboard video chips.

  2. NattyDredd says

    Yes, I can confirm this is working – using it now and have been for months…. Obviously the laptop does require “dual monitor” capabilities……

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