How Do I Display Different Things on Two Monitors?

Expanding your desktop with a second monitor permits you to display two different applications on different screens. You can vacate your email open on one monitor, for example, while organizing a business document on the other. To get the monitors to show different things, each monitor must be connected to a separate video port on your computer.

How Do I Display Different Things on Two Monitors?

  1. Connect the second monitor to the extra VGA or DVI port on your computer. Most new desktops have two VGA or DVI video outputs, while laptops have a superficial video port that you can use with a second monitor. You can also use an HDMI port to connect a second exhibition.
  2. Right-click on the Windows desktop, and preferred “Screen Resolution” from the pop-up menu. The new dialog screen should include two images of monitors at the top, each representing one of your displays. If you don’t see the second display, connect the “Detect” button to make Windows look for the second display.
  3. Click the needle on the drop-down menu next to “Multiple Displays,” and then select “Extend These Displays.”
  4. Select the monitor you want to use as your major display, and then check the box next to “Make This My Main Display.” The major display includes the left half of the extended desktop. When you move your cursor to the right edge of the main display, it hops to the second monitor.
  5. Click “OK” to use the changes and exit the screen setup window. The second monitor has its own theme and environment. You can open apps directly from the second exhibition, or you can open an app in the main display and then drag it to the second display.


If your monitor has a different type of relation than the available port on your computer, use a simple cable adapter to make the connection. To drill an HDMI display into a VGA or DVI video port, however, you must install a VGA-to-HDMI or DVI-to-HDMI converter box.

If your computer doesn’t have an extra video port, you won’t be competent to display two different pictures on separate monitors, except in rare cases where the video card supports using a splitter cable. Check your computer documentation to see if this feature is available.


Information in this article applies to Windows 7 and Windows 8. It may vary slightly or wildly with other versions or products.

Can My Computer Support Three Monitors?

A computer needs the proper hardware and software to support three monitors at once. Even one with sufficiently physical video outputs might not support three monitors if the driver for its graphics hardware lacks support for so many displays.

The tremendous diversity of PC hardware means there’s no fast, easy rule for determining whether your PC supports three monitors. You instead need to analyze the physical connectors available and the published specifications for your PC’s graphics hardware.

You can tally the physical video outputs functional with a  glimpse at your PC’s ports, but there is one common exception to note. Most desktops can only regulate video connections from one graphics solution at a time. You can’t use video output from a motherboard alongside video output from a video card if you have one installed.

You’ll also want to check the published specifications for your graphics hardware. Determine the hardware your PC uses with a Windows Search for Device Manager. Open and then find Display adapters in the drop-down list. Extend this option to view the graphics hardware your PC uses.

How Do I Connect 3 Monitors With an HDMI Splitter?

You can use an HDMI splitter to connect three monitors, but the results likely won’t be what you hope.

“splitter” is a video adapter that takes a single output and splits it into multiple replication outputs. It can only display a single video output on numerous monitors.

In other words, all three monitors will show the same image, which isn’t much used on a PC.

There’s no easy way to expand a PC’s display output limitation with a splitter or adapter. The only option that genuinely extends a PC’s exhibit output is an external graphics card, one that bypasses the default graphics hardware. It’s a pricey, niche option and only works with a small selection of PCs.

Connecting 3 Monitors With a Daisy Chain

Another option for attaching three monitors is a daisy chain. This option is supported by DisplayPort 1.2 and Thunderbolt 3 (or newer) and USB-C connections that include a DisplayPort mode. HDMI does not help daisy chains.

In a daisy chain, the first monitor attaches to your PC through one of the video outputs listed above. Then the first monitor attaches to the second and the second to the third.

A daisy chain is practical but has limitations. The first and second monitors must have video connections that can work as an output. This configuration is unusual, so you’ll need to carefully check the specifications of the monitors you want to use.

Your PC must support this feature. Most PCs traded in the last few years will, but older models often don’t. Check the PC manufacturer’s website or the company’s website, which earned your graphics card, to see if daisy chains are supported.