How to Set Up Dual Monitors on a PC

A dual monitor can be a great addition to your computer. If you have multiple applications or windows open at once, having extra screen real estate is a great advantage. Live streaming is an example of a situation where a dual-monitor arrangement can be a necessity. One screen is for viewing content, while the other screen is used to manage the stream behind-the scenes. Windows makes it easy to add more monitors to your setup, no matter what the reason. Take a look at this step-by-step guide to setting up dual monitors on your PC.

How to set up dual Monitors

Make sure your computer has the right connections

It is essential that your computer has the right outputs in order to set up dual monitors. Your computer should have at most two HDMI outputs or one HDMI output, in addition to a DisplayPort output.

A dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU), may allow for up to four connections on a PC. The GeForce GTX 3070, for example, has three DisplayPort outputs and one HDMI output. Your monitor connections will be found on the motherboard if your PC does not have a GPU. Remember: If you have a dedicated GPU, make sure that it is used only for connecting displays and not the motherboard.

You don’t have to worry about the type of display, but you will need two connections on your computer for external displays.

GeForce RTX 3070

Connect the monitors and your computer

Next, connect both monitors to your computer. This is an output to input connection. The output is from the GPU/motherboard and the input is on your monitor. HDMI is universal so you will usually find at least one input on your monitor and one output from either the GPU or motherboard.

Use a standard HDMI cable. One end should be connected to the output of the PC. The other should be connected to the input of your first monitor. Windows will detect the display automatically. The default setting is that the primary display will be connected.

For your second monitor, repeat the process. Once again, you’ll need to establish the output connection between your computer and the input connection of the second monitor. You can also use the other HDMI connection if they have it. A DisplayPort cable can be run between the two devices. You might have more than one connection between your monitor and the computer.

DisplayPort is often connected from the computer to the second monitor via HDMI. You will need an adapter cable for DisplayPort to HDMI. The 6-foot C2G cable, if you don’t already have one, is perfect for most setups. A cable such as this should be used unidirectionally. The information flows only from the DisplayPort end connected with a GPU to the HDMI input on the display.

If the outputs from the computer don’t match the inputs on the second screen, don’t be discouraged. There is usually a cable to fit every need!

Locate your display settings

Now that you have dual monitors connected, it is time to configure them. You can make this as simple or complex as you like. Windows handles the setup automatically. It will automatically recognize the first screen and make it the primary monitor. Any additional screens that are attached to it become secondary displays. It will set the appropriate resolution and default Scale and Layout at 100%.

The following path will allow you to locate Windows Display settings:Start > Settings > System> Display

monitor displays

Rearrange your displays

The “Rearrange displays” window is located at the top. The two monitors you have are represented by a large “1”, and “2”. Click and drag them to the arrangement that suits you best. You can place them side-by-side, on top of each other or in any other arrangement you prefer. This will determine the direction that you scroll between them.

Click the Identify button to identify which display you are unsure of. Each monitor will have a box that indicates which one is “1” or “2”.

Selecting a monitor from the Rearrange window will allow you to adjust your individual settings. The current selection will be highlighted in blue. You can now play with Windows’s Night Light, high dynamic range (HDR), and change the resolution.

You can also make the screen you want the main display to appear at the bottom.

rearrange monitor displays

Set the “Multiple displays” option.

You’ll find the option to select a setting under Multiple Displays at the bottom of the Display window. The default setting of “extend these display” will work for most applications. This allows you to use the second monitor as an extension for the first.

Mirror the image of the main monitor onto the secondary display by selecting “Duplicate these Displays”. Based on your choice, “Show only 1” or “Show just on 2” will turn off another monitor.

Take advantage of the extra screen space

Windows makes it easy and quick to set up dual monitors. It’s the hardest part of setting up dual monitors. After that, it’s easy to relax and enjoy the expanded visuals.

To declutter your primary monitor, drag different apps over to the new screen. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do with just one display.