If you’ve ever seen someone in rapid action mode, juggling crazily between multiple monitors at work, you probably felt a little weirded out or intimidated thinking what the heck is even going on!
But truth be told, having to work with more than a single monitor boosts productivity by around 20 to 50%! Hence, looking like an international most-wanted hacker while you’re at it is totally worth it!
This is because you get to multitask more efficiently, with a faster copy-pasting, picture or video editing, making comparisons, etc. For performing speedily like a pro, just your laptop monitor isn’t always enough, which is why sometimes, you might need to add more monitors to your device.
So today we’re all about how to set up dual monitors with HDMI to make you the champ among your peers, whether you’re working or gaming at home or the office.
Initial Prep To Connect Two Monitors To A Laptop
The first thing to check before deciding to connect monitors on your device is whether the laptop is compatible with handling multiple monitors or not. And luckily, most Windows laptops can handle it, whether it’s the XP/ Vista or 7-10.
The Laptop Graphics Card
Now you need to ensure if your laptop’s graphics card can support multiple monitors at once or not. But don’t worry, it’s not difficult to do so.
Just check the graphics card info on the website of your laptop manufacturer. Once you have identified the card, check its specifications on its corresponding official website. The info should be pretty simple to find as it will directly say whether multiple monitors are supported or not.
If by any chance your laptop’s included graphics card doesn’t support extra monitors, you’d need to purchase and install a model that does before proceeding.
Availability Of Ports
Check out the availability of ports on your laptop and the monitors you intend to connect to your laptop.
The ports you are likely to find include some or all of the following:
- Display Port
Since we are looking to connect the monitors via HDMI, it is more convenient if both the monitors and the laptop have HDMI interfaces. This will save you the cost of getting adapters to match the cables.
HDMI Port Crisis
Since you intend to connect both monitors via HDMI, your laptop should be equipped with dual HDMI interfaces. So what to do if there is only one? Or if the HDMI port(s) in either your laptop or monitor isn’t working? Well, there are three workarounds to deal with these issues.
Your laptop obviously already has one HDMI interface. So in order to obtain a second, simply convert a different port into an HDMI via their respective adapter.
For example, if you’re concerned about how to connect 2 monitors to a laptop with VGA and HDMI, adapters are a great save. This is because, in order to transform your VGA port, you’d simply need a VGA-to-HDMI adapter to get the job done.
This is another smart hack to solve the single port issue. It is a device that enables you to obtain two HDMI ports from a single interface of your device.
Hence, if your laptop has one port, connect it to this device, and use two HDMI cables to connect to the two monitors via the two new HDMI interfaces this splitter provides.
Docking stations are yet another genius hack for enabling you to connect to two monitors via HDMI from your laptop. Not only does it get the job done, but has numerous other ports and functions to facilitate a versatile range of conveniences.
How To Setup Dual Monitors With One HDMI
As discussed above, you can use any of the three methods to make up for the single HDMI port in your laptop- adapter, switch splitter, or docking station. The rest of the connectivity process is the same for all methods
Adapter:You already have an existing HDMI interface, just convert another port into HDMI via its corresponding adapter and connect your HDMI cable into the transformed HDMI interface.
Switch Splitter:Split the existing HDMI interface into two via the switch splitter device and attach the two HDMI cables to the other end of the splitter containing the two new HDMI ports
Docking Station:Since docking stations connect to your laptop either via a sliding lock system at the side or via a USB interface, your laptop HDMI port remains free.
So you can use either the laptop’s HDMI and the docking stations HDMI together; or, if your docking station has dual HDMI, feel free to use those for both your monitors.
- Ensure you have two working HDMI cables. Your laptop should be turned on
- Connect each of their ends to the laptop and the monitors respectively. Use any of the hacks to obtain two HDMI interfaces from one
- On your laptop screen, drag your cursor to an empty desktop space and right-click
- For Windows 10, go to “Display Settings”. In the case of Windows 7 or 8, go to the “Screen Resolution”
- Now you’ll find that there is a total of three displays-1, 2, and 3 in the display mode. Here, 1 is your laptop monitor itself, 2 and 3 are your external monitors
- Select the display labeled 2, find the “Multiple displays” setting, choose “Extend desktop to this display” and click on “Apply”
- Repeat the former step for display number 3
- Click on the OK button to complete your adjusted settings. Now you can finally use your dual external monitors with your laptop
- You can change other settings in this manner as per your required references
For When Monitor HDMI Fails
If by any chance, one or both of your monitors’ HDMI interfaces are busted, you can still use your HDMI cables and the laptop’s HDMI interfaces to make the connection.
All you have to do is use a different monitor port, for which you’ll need the corresponding HDMI dongle. If, for example, you decide on using the monitor’s VGA or DVI ports, just grab yourself a pair of VGA-to-HDMI or DVI-to-HDMI adapters.
- Connect the respective adapter(s) to your monitor(s)
- Connect your HDMI cables to your laptop as usual
- Plug in the other ends of the HDMI cables to the HDMI ends of the adapters
- Move on to the rest of the process on your laptop as usual to complete the setup
Can’t Find The Monitors You Just Plugged In?
This is a very common occurrence and can happen to anyone for a number of reasons, all of which are fixable. So hold your horses and don’t go on panicking!
Loose Or Faulty Hardware
This is probably one of the simplest reasons why your monitors may not successfully connect to your laptop.
Either the connection is loose somewhere, or your cables or monitors are damaged.
Check for any loose connections and get a new pair of cables if the old ones are no longer as effective. If your monitors are damaged, get them repaired or purchase new ones if the damages are not worth fixing.
Graphics Card Incompatibility
As discussed in the very beginning, your laptop’s graphics card needs to be able to support the dual external monitors.
So, find the exact info of your graphics card, then check its compliance with external and multiple monitors. If you find that it’s incompatible, it’s time to take out the cash and get a new one that does. Upon proper installation, your problem will be solved in a jiffy!
If you’re struggling even after making the above fixes, then it means your laptop is in need of a driver update; which can be done either manually or automatically.
Identify the right driver that matches your OS on the website of your laptop brand and install it following the steps it requires. This may be quite tricky and time-consuming and is something that should be done by someone tech-savvy.
The easiest way for those with zero patience like myself is to update drivers automatically with a software known as Driver Easy. It has both free and paid versions, simplifying your driver updates by automatically detecting outdated ones and updating them with minimal steps.
Connecting dual monitors to your laptop can unlock doors to an unbelievable level of productivity, convenience, and even gaming that you never knew could be possible.
But you may not always be blessed with the convenience of having two HDMI ports on your laptop.You have probably already realized this, which is why you were looking on how to connect two monitors to a laptop with one HDMI Portin the first place.
Regardless, after going through our instructions, hacks, and solutions, setting up your ultimate workstation will hopefully no longer seem like a struggle, and that too, via just a single HDMI interface!