How to Fix Issues with Multi-Monitor Setups in Windows

Dual Monitors Issues Featured Image

Setting up a dual-monitor system is helpful to users for a variety of reasons, including the ability to multitask or go back and forth between two applications or web pages without constantly minimizing. There may be times when you face issues with the second monitor. Here are some tips you can use to fix the problem.

No Signal

If your second monitor is getting “no signal,” it means that the data is not making it from the computer to the monitor. There are several different things you can try to fix this.

If you connected the monitor while it was on, the system might not be recognizing it. Turn the monitor off and then back on to see if the system acknowledges the new monitor.

Another easy thing to check is the cables. Make sure they are connected correctly and that none of them have come loose or fallen out. If they seem fine, unplug them and plug them back in so you can be sure you have attached them securely. You may also need to try a new cable.

Try the Windows detect tool to see if Windows hasn’t recognized that the monitor is attached.

To check this:

1. Right-click on the desktop and choose Display settings.

Dual Monitors Issues Windows Detect Settings

2. Scroll down until you find the Multiple display section.

Dual Monitors Issues Windows Detect Multiple Displays

3. Click on the Detect button.

If the second monitor has more than one input option, make sure you have pressed the button to select that type of input.

If you’re using a dedicated graphics card with multiple outputs, change the graphics port you are using. The port could be damaged, and switching ports will fix the problem.

Even though Windows 10 supports multiple displays by default, you can try updating your graphics drivers.

1. In the search box on the taskbar, enter Device Manager, then select it.

2, Click the arrow next to Display adapters. Right-click the graphics card you’d like to update.

Dual Monitors Issues Update Drivers

3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

Dual Monitors Issues Update Drivers Search

4. Choose “Update Driver.”

5. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, you can try searching the manufacturer’s website for one.

Wrong Resolution

If you are adding a new, higher-resolution monitor to your system, your new monitor could try to copy the settings from your old display or match the settings of the existing screen. Fix the resolution of the new monitor by following these steps.

1. Right-click your desktop, and select Display settings from the menu.

2. Click the monitor you wish to edit in the top window.

3. Scroll down and look for Scale and layout.

4. Beneath resolution, use the drop-down menu to select your monitor’s correct resolution.

If this doesn’t work, try updating your graphics drivers as described above.

Wrong Refresh Rate

Windows is not usually apt to select the best settings for your new monitor, so you may have to set the refresh rate yourself to speed up the display.

To check the refresh rate that your new monitor is using, try using TestUFO. Then, compare that rate to the fastest rate for your new monitor. If you want to change the rate, follow these steps.

1. Right-click your desktop and select Display settings from the menu.

2. Scroll down to the bottom of the window and click Advanced display settings.

3. Click Display adapter properties for X. Make sure it’s the monitor you want to change.

Dual Monitors Issues Refresh Rate Settings

4. Select the Monitor tab at the top.

5. Under the heading Monitor settings, use the drop-down box to select the refresh rate you want to use.

Type of Display

When you add a second monitor to your system, you can choose to extend the desktop, duplicate it, or keep the desktop on only one monitor. To change this setting:

1. Press Win + P.

2. Select the displays you want.

Dual Monitors Issues Display Options

Games Minimizing

Another issue you may face with using a second monitor is having the game you are playing on a single monitor minimize for no reason. You could be accidentally clicking on your second display because there is no barrier between the monitors.

If this is happening to you, try one of these troubleshooting tips:

  • Check your display options in the game itself. If you’re playing in “Windowed” mode, try switching to “Full Screen” instead.
  • Try switching to “Borderless Window” mode. It won’t stop you from moving your mouse onto the other screen, but it will prevent the game from minimizing when you do.
  • Try the Dual Monitor Tool. The Cursor tool allows you to lock a mouse pointer onto one of the monitors. Remember to unlock it when you finish the game!
  • Turn off the second screen, or hit Win + P to change the display to the desktop only.

Use these tips to make using a second monitor a more satisfying experience and reduce issues that keep you from completing your tasks.

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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