Laptop won’t detect second monitor [FIX]

6 minute read
laptop cover photo

Home » Windows » Laptop won’t detect second monitor [FIX]

You may be at your workplace or home, and you’d like to extend your desktop display but your laptop won’t detect the second monitor. This can be frustrating especially if you’re pressed for time.

If this is your situation or experience, here’s how to fix it.

Laptop won’t detect the second monitor? Solve it with these steps

  1. Check Display settings
  2. Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
  3. Perform a System Restore
  4. Install the latest driver updates
  5. Scan for hardware changes
  6. Install drivers in compatibility mode
  7. Check Monitor settings
  8. Update basic video driver
  9. Check if the second monitor is enabled

Solution 1: Check Display settings

Under Display settings, there is an option for Multiple Displays. If your laptop won’t detect the second monitor, this option will not show, or it doesn’t detect an external monitor.

If the monitor is detected, the Multiple Displays option will appear in the drop-down menu list next to Display.

In case it is not appearing under this drop-down list, click Detect, ensuring the monitor you want to extend to is turned on and plugged into your video port correctly.

laptop can't detect second display detect multiple displays

Also, select the correct source labeled on your monitor’s controls so that you’re using the correct video port.


Solution 2: Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

If your laptop won’t detect the second monitor, then run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

This checks for commonly occurring issues and ensures any new device or hardware is correctly installed on your computer.

Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Control Panelcontrol panel
  3. Go to the “View by” option on the top right corner
  4. Click the drop-down arrow and select Large icons
  5. Click Troubleshooting
  6. Click View all option on the left pane
  7. Click Hardware and Devicestroubleshooting
  8. Click Next to run the troubleshooter

 

 

Follow the instructions to run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.  The troubleshooter will begin detecting any issues that may be causing your laptop not to detect the second monitor.


Solution 3: Perform a System Restore

Use System Restore to create restore points when you install new apps, drivers or Windows updates, or when you create restore points manually.

If the laptop won’t detect the second monitor, try and restore the system and see if it helps.

Here’s how to perform a system restore:

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to the search field box and type System Restore
  3. Click System Restore in the list of search results
  4. Enter your administrator account password or grant permissions if prompted to
  5. In the System Restore dialog box, click Choose a different restore point
  6. Click Nextlaptop won’t detect second monitor
  7. Click a restore point created before you experienced the problem
  8. Click Next
  9. Click Finish

 

Restoring doesn’t affect your personal files. It, however, removes apps, drivers and updates installed after the restore point was created.

To go back to a restore point, do the following:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. In the control panel search box, type Recovery
  4. Select Recovery
  5. Click Open System Restore
  6. Click Next
  7. Choose the restore point related to the problematic program/app, driver or update
  8. Click Next
  9. Click Finish

 


Solution 4: Install the latest driver updates

There are three ways to do this:

  1. Check Windows Updates for latest driver updates and install them
  2. Install drivers from manufacturer website
  3. Install drivers from Device Manager

Check Windows Updates for latest driver updates and install them

If you check Windows Updates and find that driver updates are available, install them and check if it helps fix the problem.

Follow these steps to do this:

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to the search field box
  3. Type Updates
  4. In the Windows Update settings window, click Check for Updates, and install all updates listed

 

Windows will immediately detect your system’s configuration and download appropriate drivers for it.

Important drivers you need to download after installing or upgrading to Windows 10 include the chipset, video, audio, and network (Ethernet/wireless) drivers. For laptops specifically, download also the latest Touchpad drivers.

Install drivers from manufacturer website

You can also find drivers from the manufacturer website’s support section for your laptop type. Go to the Software and Drivers sub-section (depending on the laptop brand this name can change), or search for drivers using Google so you can get a direct link to your device’s manufacturer website.

Once you’re on the website, find and download, then install the appropriate drivers missing from your laptop that can make the laptop not detect a second monitor.

Install drivers from Device Manager

In case of Windows Update not detecting your driver, or you couldn’t get it from the manufacturer website, you can try using Device Manager on your laptop and manually install the driver using the steps below:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Device Manager
  3. Select the device
  4. Right click on it
  5. Select Update Driver Software
  6. The update driver wizard will launch. Select either Search automatically for updated driver software, or Browse my computer for driver software.

ALSO READ: Fix: Resource Monitor not working in Windows


Solution 5: Scan for hardware changes

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Device Manager
  3. Go to Monitors and click to expand the list
  4. You’ll see two monitors, right-click the second monitor’s driver
  5. Select Uninstall
  6. Click Scan for hardware changes icon

If it shows generic PnP, uninstall the driver and download the latest driver from the manufacturer website as explained in solution 4 above.

  1. Check the box that says Include subfolders
  2. Click Next and wait for the wizard to complete.

Solution 6: Install drivers in compatibility mode

Follow these steps to install in compatibility mode:

  1. Download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website
  2. Save it on your local disk
  3. Right click on the driver set up file
  4. Click Properties
  5. Click Compatibility tab
  6. Check the box next to Run this program in Compatibility modecompatibility tab program properties
  7. Select the Operating System from the drop-down list
  8. The driver will install, then check its functionality.
  9. Restart the computer and check if the issue persists

ALSO READ: How to set a dual monitor wallpaper on Windows 10


Solution 7: Check Monitor settings

If your monitor doesn’t support adapters, then the laptop won’t detect the second monitor. This ideally means then that your monitor can run through straight connections only.


Solution 8: Update basic video driver

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Log in as administrator
  2. Right-click Start
  3. Select Control Panel
  4. In the Control Panel search box, type Administrative Tools
  5. Click Administrative Tools
  6. Double click Computer Managementadministrative tools
  7. Select Device Manager
  8. Locate Display adapters
  9. Select the arrow to drop down devices – if it says Windows Basic Video, download the driver by right-clicking on it and then select Update driver software.

Let it run, then when complete, check if the second monitor will work.

ALSO READ: Samsung’s new ultra-wide HDR QLED gaming monitor is simply stunning.


Solution 9: Check if the second monitor is enabled

Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Click Hardware and Sound
  4. Go to Display
  5. Click Adjust Screen Resolution
  6. Click Project to a Second ScreenLaptop won’t detect second monitor
  7. Click ExtendLaptop won’t detect second monitor
  8. Under Multiple Displays drop-down list
  9. Click Extend These DisplaysLaptop won’t detect second monitor
  10. Click Apply
  11. Click OK

Note: If the two monitors are not visible on this screen, click Detect button.

Once you enable the second monitor, right-click your Desktop screen and it will display the second monitor. If you choose Show Desktop only on 1, then the laptop won’t detect the second monitor in the Display Settings menu.

Let us know in the comments section whether any of these solutions worked to resolve the issue.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

Discussions

Next up

Gears 5 players want more characters in the game

John Taylor avatar. By: John Taylor
2 minute read

Gears 5 is the latest installment in the Gears of War series and has taken the gaming community by storm. Unfortunately, it had a rough […]

Continue Reading

Revolut login not working? Try these methods

Tashreef Shareef avatar. By: Tashreef Shareef
3 minute read

Revolut is a popular banking app offering financial services for smartphone users with features like a pre-paid debit card, currency exchange, peer-to-peer payment, and more. […]

Continue Reading

Do this if you experience Borderlands 3 FPS drops

John Taylor avatar. By: John Taylor
3 minute read

Borderlands 3 is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game that is currently at its 4th installment. Like any sequel, it is far superior to […]

Continue Reading