Fix: Windows 10 Can’t Detect the Second Monitor

11 minute read

Many users tend to use two or more monitors on their computer to get more work space and improve their productivity. However, it seems that there are some issues with Windows 10 and dual monitors because users have been complaining that Windows 10 only detects one of the two monitors that are plugged in.

What to do if Windows 10 doesn’t work with multiple monitors

Windows not being able to detect a second monitor can be a big problem, but users also reported the following issues:

  • Windows 10 can’t detect second screen, display – This is a just a variation of this problem, and if you’re having issues detecting a second screen, you might want to try some of our solutions.
  • Windows 10 can’t detect HDMI, VGA monitor – If your monitor can’t be detected by Windows 10, that can be a big problem. According to users, these types of problems usually appear while using HDMI or VGA monitor.
  • Windows 10 second monitor not working – This is a common problem that can occur with dual monitor configurations. Many users reported that second monitor isn’t working on their Windows 10 PC.
  • Windows 10 can’t find my second screen – Issues with dual monitor setups are fairly common, and many users reported that Windows 10 wasn’t able to find the second screen.
  • Second monitor not recognized Windows 10 – Many users reported that Windows 10 can’t recognize the second monitor. This is a common problem, but you should be able to fix it by using one of our solutions.
  • Second monitor flickering Windows 10 – This is another problem that can appear on dual monitor configurations. Many users reported that the second monitor is constantly flickering.
  • Windows 10 second monitor goes to sleep, goes black – If you’re using a dual monitor setup, you probably encountered this issue before. According to users, their second monitor goes black or to sleep for unknown reason.
  • Windows 10 second monitor keeps turning off – This is another relatively common problem on dual monitor configurations. However, this isn’t a serious issue, and you should be able to solve it by using one of our solutions.

These issues are commonly caused by display drivers, but don’t worry, there are few simple solutions that can help you out.


Solution 1 – Rollback to an older driver

Sometimes issues like these can be caused by new drivers that aren’t working well with Windows 10. If that’s the case with you maybe you should Rollback to an older driver. To rollback the driver to the following:

  1. Go to Device Manager and find your display driver.
  2. Right click it and choose Rollback driver.
    Windows 10 can't detect second screen
  3. Follow the instructions.

Solution 2 – Update your display driver

a. Update drivers manually

Since this is a driver issue, it won’t hurt that you update your display driver. Just go to your graphic card manufacturer’s website, find your graphic card and download drivers for it. While searching for drivers, make sure that you download latest drivers, preferably ones for Windows 10.

In addition, you can do the following:

  1. Go to Device Manager. To do this you can just type Device Manager in the search bar.
    Windows 10 can't detect HDMI monitor
  2. Find Display Adapter and right click it.
  3. Choose Update Driver and follow the instructions.
    Windows 10 second monitor not working

Update drivers automatically (suggested)

Downloading drivers manually is a process that carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions. The safer and easier way to update drivers on a Windows computer is by using an automatic tool such as TweakBit Driver Updater.

Driver Updater automatically identifies each device on your computer and matches it with the latest driver versions from an extensive online database. Drivers can then be updated in batches or one at a time, without requiring the user to make any complex decisions in the process. Here is how it works:

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater
    2. driver updater starting windowOnce installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
      driver updater diagnozing
    3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
      driver updater scan finished
      Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.


Solution 3 – Uninstall your driver and use the default one

If Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, maybe you should use the default driver instead. To switch to default driver to the following:

      1. Open Device Manager and find your display driver.
      2. Right click your display driver and choose Uninstall.
        Windows 10 can't find my second screen
      3. Check Delete the driver software for this device and click Uninstall.
        Second monitor not recognized Windows 10
      4. After the uninstall process is complete restart your computer and you’ll have your default driver installed.

Solution 4 -Temporarily disable your graphics adapter

Sometimes Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor due to certain glitches with your graphics card driver. However, few users claim that you can fix this problem simply by disabling your graphics card. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

      1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Device Manager from the list.
        Second monitor flickering Windows 10
      2. When Device Manager opens, locate your graphics adapter, right click it and choose Disable device from the menu.
        Windows 10 second monitor goes to sleep
      3. Confirmation message will now appear. Click on Yes to continue.
        Windows 10 second monitor keeps turning off
      4. Now right click your display adapter again and choose Enable device from the menu.

After doing that, Windows should detect your second monitor without any problems. Keep in mind that this might not be a permanent solution, so if the issue reappears, you’ll need to perform this steps again.


Solution 5 – Change your monitor frequency

According to users, you might be able to fix this problem simply by changing the frequency on your monitor. This is relatively simple and you can do it by following these steps:

      1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by using Windows Key + I shortcut.
      2. When Settings app opens, navigate to System section.
        Windows 10 can't detect second display
      3. Scroll down to the Multiple displays section and click on Display adapter properties.
        Windows 10 can't detect VGA monitor
      4. When Properties window opens, navigate to Monitor tab. Set Screen refresh rate to 60 Hertz and click on Apply and OK to save changes. If your monitor is already set to 60 Hertz, select a different value and then return it back to 60 Hertz. Keep in mind that not all frequencies are compatible with your monitor, so if you want to avoid causing damage to your display, use the frequencies recommended by the manufacturer.
        Windows 10 second monitor not working

After doing that, you should be able to use your second monitor. If you’re using driver software such as Nvidia Control Panel or Catalyst Control Center, be sure to change your monitor frequency using these tools as well.


Solution 6 – Temporarily switch only to first monitor

If Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, you might have to change your display settings. According to users, this is a simple workaround but it can help you with this problem. To change your monitor settings, do the following:

      1. Navigate to Settings app and go to System section.
      2. Now in the display settings select Show only on 1 option. By doing that the picture will be displayed only on your main monitor. Save changes.
      3. Now change your monitor settings to Extended and save the changes once again.

This is a small glitch that can occur, but you should be able to solve it by using this workaround. According to users, this glitch appears frequently while starting your PC, so you’ll have to repeat this workaround whenever the issue occurs.


Solution 7 – Install Windows updates

Windows 10 is a solid operating system, but sometimes you might find a certain bug. Microsoft is working hard to fix all Windows 10 bugs, and the simplest way to keep your PC bug free is to install Windows updates. Several users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, but they solved the issue by installing the latest updates for Windows.

By default, Windows 10 automatically downloads the updates in the background, but sometimes you might skip an important update. However, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

      1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Update & security.
        Windows 10 can't find my second screen
      2. Now click on Check for updates button.
        Second monitor not recognized Windows 10

Windows will now check for available updates. If updates are available, Windows will download them automatically in the background and install them once you restart your PC. After installing the necessary updates, the issue should be resolved completely.


Solution 8 – Connect your monitors while the PC is running

Many users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor. According to users that use dual monitor setup, both monitors work but the second one is always mirroring the first monitor. To fix the issue, you might want to try connecting your monitors to your PC while it’s running. If you can, try to switch the cables while your PC is running. For example, if you’re using DVI cable for first monitor and HDMI cable for second, try using the HDMI cable for the first and DVI cable for the second monitor. By connecting both monitors while your PC is running, you’ll force the PC to recognize both of them.


Solution 9 – Use Windows Key + P shortcut

Sometimes this problem can occur simply because you didn’t use the correct Project mode. To fix this issue, you just need to press Windows Key + P shortcut and select the desired Project mode from the menu.

According to users, their Project mode was set to Second screen only and that caused the problem to appear. After selecting Extend or Duplicate option, the issue was completely resolved and both monitors started working.


Solution 10 – Uninstall IDE ATA/ATAPI driver

Several users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor on their laptop. According to the users, this issue was caused by IDE ATA/ATAPI driver and in order to fix it, you need to remove the problematic driver. We already showed you how to uninstall a driver in Solution 3, so be sure to check it for detailed instructions. After removing the problematic driver, restart your PC and your problem should be resolved. This issue appeared on HP Envy laptop but it can also appear on other laptops as well.


Solution 11 – Adjust your resolution

According to users, this issue appears while trying to project your screen to an external display. If Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, you might want to try adjusting the resolution on your laptop. Users reported that adjusting the resolution on their laptop and second screen fixed the issue, so be sure to try it. To adjust your resolution, do the following:

      1. Right click your desktop and choose Display settings.
        Second monitor flickering Windows 10
      2. Now locate the Resolution section and lower your resolution. Keep lowering your resolution until the external display starts working.
        Windows 10 second monitor goes black

Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust your resolution in order to fix your problem. If your external display is using lower resolution than your PC, you might have to lower your resolution before you can use the second display. If this solution works for you, you’ll have to readjust your resolution every time you want to use an external display.


Solution 12 – Close your laptop lid / use Sleep Mode

According to users, you can fix the problem with a second display simply by closing your laptop lid. Simply by closing the laptop lid, your second display will become the main one and the issue will be resolved. After you open your laptop lid, both displays will work without any problems. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, so you’ll have to repeat it every time you want to use a second display.

If you have this problem on a desktop PC, you might be able to fix it by using a Sleep Mode. Using this feature your PC will turn off, but all your open applications will remain active. Once your PC boots from the Sleep Mode, both monitors should start working. It’s worth mentioning that this is just a workaround, so you’ll have to repeat it if the issue reappears.


Solution 13 – Check if Extended desktop is enabled in AMD Control Center

Many AMD owners reported this problem on their PC. If Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, the cause might be AMD Control Center. This software allows you to control various settings, but sometimes the Extended desktop feature might be disabled in Control Center. To fix this problem, open AMD Control Center and navigate to Displays Manager section. From there make sure that Extended desktop feature is enabled.

After enabling this feature, the problem should be resolved and both your displays should start working. Keep in mind that this problem can also appear if you’re using Nvidia graphics card. If so, you’ll need to open Nvidia Control Panel and check if multiple displays are configured properly.


Solution 14 – Update DisplayLink to the latest version

If you’re using DisplayLink to connect two monitors to your PC, you might experience this problem. To fix the issue, be sure that DisplayLink is updated to the latest version. After updating DisplayLink, the problem should be completely resolved.


Solution 15 – Enable Scale to full panel size option

Many AMD users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor on their PC. To fix this problem, users are suggesting to change your AMD graphics card settings. To do that, follow these steps:

      1. Open Catalyst Control Center.
      2. Now navigate to My Digital Flat Panels > Properties in the menu on the left.
      3. Select your monitor and locate Image scaling preferences section. Select Maintain aspect ratio and click on Apply to save changes. After doing that, the problem should be resolved. Now you can use switch to Scale image to full panel size option if you want.

Users reported that using Maintain aspect ratio option fixed the problem, so be sure to try it. After enabling this option, you’ll be able to switch to any other mode without issues and both monitors will keep working.


Solution 16 – Disable Monitor Deep Sleep feature

Sometimes problems with second monitor can appear due to your monitor settings. Certain monitors have a Deep Sleep feature, and if this feature is enabled you might experience problems with monitor detection. To fix this issue, simply open the monitor settings by pressing the appropriate key on your monitor and disable Monitor Deep Sleep feature. After doing that, the second monitor should start working. Keep in mind that not all monitors support this feature, so to see if your monitor supports Deep Sleep and how to disable it, we advise you to check your monitor’s instruction manual.


Other related stories

If you have other issues with the detection of the second monitor, keep in mind that these type of problems are occurring after specific actions. You can find them in the list below:

You can also check our list of best dual-monitor software. You can find a good program that might help you get rid of this problem.

That would be all, if you have any other Windows 10-related issues you can check for the solution in our Windows 10 Fix section.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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