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How to Connect Laptop to Monitor

Connect a Monitor to a Laptop

Wireless travel with laptops has allowed users to seamlessly connect all around the world, but the convince of travel has limited the workspace, especially on the laptop monitor. When at home, users should have the option to work freely and easily without the same confinements they receive when on the go. Connecting an extra monitor to a laptop is the best solution for this problem.

Instead of crowding the screen with multiple windows, tabbed browsers, and minimized applications, a dual monitor connection expands the screen and optimizes work flow. Whether you use Windows 7*, Vista* or XP*, your laptop can easily convert a customizable dual-screen display.

Benefits of a Second Monitor

The digital world has made accessing music, movies and games almost an instant process. Instead of typing in Microsoft Word* and arching your head to view the TV, you can type on one monitor and stream on Hulu* on the other.

Professionals access dual monitors for a number of projects including graphic design, video editing and animation. The larger screen makes the work flow easier as the mouse moves easily from one screen to the next.

A second monitor also provides better resolution. LCD screens feature faster refresh rates and more adjustments for contrast and brightness to suit specific needs. Enabling a single monitor will save life in the laptop screen and keep you better adjusted while working at home.

Laptop Connection Cables

Choose the right cable to properly connect your laptop. Look on the sides and back of the laptop for the connection ports. The most common ports are the VGA port and the DVI port. The VGA port features 15 pin holes while the DVI port has 29 pin holes. Newer LCD monitors feature both VGA and DVI inputs with older CRT box-styled monitors commonly featuring a VGA port.

If your laptop has no ports, you will need to create a monitor connection via the USB input with a VGA to USB conversion cable. Some HD LCD screens feature a HDMI export cable that needs a HDMI to DVI connector cable to properly attach to a laptop. You can find these cables at a local computer store or various online retailers.

Monitor Set-Up

Windows XP* and Vista users should power-down their laptop until it is completely off. Windows 7* users can keep the laptop running or power-down if you choose.

Plug the monitor into the laptop using the proper connection cables. Match the color of the cable connection to the input icon color. Make sure the connection is aligned right to prevent pin bending or breaking.

Tighten the connection to the laptop and then plug in the power source to the monitor. Wait a few moments for the monitor to power-on. Windows 7 owners may already see the extended desktop on the screen. If you do, skip down to "Customize Your Settings.”.

Turn the laptop on and wait for it start-up. The laptop should automatically detect the monitor and adjust to that screen. If the monitor remains black, access the "Display Function" key on your laptop. The icon is a rectangle with two vertical lines around it. Press this once to activate the monitor.

Customize Your Settings

In Windows 7:

  • Click "Start," access the "Control Panel" and then select "Appearance and Personalization." Find the option that says "Adjust Screen Resolution" and click once. A small window displays with two monitors labeled "1" and "2."
  • Click on the "Identify" icon and a large "1" appears on one monitor while a large "2" appears on the other.
  • Select the drop-down menu next to "Multiple Displays." Select the "Extend these displays" and click apply. The desktop is now extended. Adjust the "Resolution" and "Orientation" to complete the customization.

In Windows Vista:

  • Click on the "Start" icon, go to the "Control Panel" and select "Personalize”. Choose the "Display Settings”.
  • Click on the "Identify" icon and a large "1" appears on one monitor while a large "2" appears on the other.
  • Click on the check box labeled "Extend My Desktop to This Display" and then click "Apply".

In Windows XP:

  • Right-click on the Desktop and select "Properties”. Click on the "Settings" tab.
  • Select the "Identify" icon at the bottom of the window. Remember the number that flashes on the attached monitor. Click on that once to highlight it. Click on the check box labeled "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor”.
  • Click on "Apply" and then "OK" to exit out of the settings.

All Versions

If you set up the monitor to the right of the laptop, you need to make a minor adjustment because by default, the extension goes to the left. In the "Display Settings" or "Adjust Screen Resolution" windows, drag the attached monitor icon to the right side of the laptop monitor. This will make the screen extension apply to the right instead of the left. Click "Apply" to save the settings.

 The connection process is fairly straight-forward. Windows 7 owners can do this within seconds and only require a few minor adjustments if needed. Figure out what you will use the dual set-up the most for and then adjust the settings as needed.

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