How to set up a second monitor
One of the most commonly upgraded peripherals that people own is their computer monitor.
With new screens dropping in price and going up in quality almost daily, it’s no surprise that a modern, widescreen LCD panel with 1920×1080 resolution and a huge diagonal measurement is high on everyone’s wish list.
But what do you do with your old screen when you buy a new one?
The obvious answer is: keep it. Your PC almost certainly has the ability to run more than one monitor, and by extending your desktop across two screens you can see more, do more and generally improve your productivity all round.
You can have your older, smaller screen set up and dedicated to email, Facebook and Twitter, for example, while you get on and work on the newer, bigger one. Many games, too, support two screens, allowing you to play in one screen while scanning peripheral information in the other, for example.
And the great thing is that this also works with laptops – plug in a ‘real’ monitor and you can carry one using the built in one too.
1. To use two screens, all you need to do is attach a monitor cable for the new display to a spare video-out port around the back of your PC without unplugging the old one. It may well be that you need an adaptor of some sort: it’s quite common for PCs to have one DVI (digital video interface), one VGA and one HDMI output, for example, in which case you may need to convert the HDMI output to DVI in order to connect a second monitor.
2. Once your screen is on and your PC has booted, right click anywhere on the desktop and select ‘Screen resolution’. This will allow you to change how the second screen behaves.
3. At the top of this control panel, you’ll see icons representing your monitors laid out in the way your PC thinks they are. The ‘Identify’ button will print a large number on the screen so you can see which monitor is being treated as ’1′ and which one is ’2′. From this panel, you can change which monitor is treated as the main display, which will have the Start menu in.
4. Now click on the second monitor picture. You can choose whether to ‘extend’ or ‘clone’ your primary display here. Extending the display means that the desktop will stretch over both screens, and your mouse will hop from one to the other when you reach the edge. Cloning means that both displays will show the same thing – useful if one is a projector for public display, for example, but otherwise you’ll want to use the ‘extend’ option.
5. Finally, you can drag the icons around until their position in the toolbar represents how they are on your desk. That way the mouse will naturally move from right to left between the two desktops.
And it doesn’t stop there. You can add a third screen if you wish for ‘surround’ vision or to cope with even more data being displayed live. It’s brilliant, and once you get used to it, you’ll never go back.
You might also like to read:
- How to calibrate your PC’s monitor
- 5 ways to free up space on an SSD drive
- How to colour calibrate a new TV
- How to control browser cookies in Firefox and Chrome
- Sync any Samsung Galaxy mobile with iTunes