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Connect a Laptop to an External Monitor

A laptop offers a lot of convenience and portability, but its screen size can be a real drawback. If you want to, though, you can enjoy the travel portability as well as a lot more screen space when you get home. Most of the the newer laptops manufactured in the past few years are able to connect to several types of external displays, such as flat panel display, a CRT monitor, or Projector and then have the picture transfer to that particular device instead of the laptop screen.


If you haven’t done so yet, power up your computer. At this point you should only see the picture on the laptop’s screen. Plug one end of the VGA cable to the VGA port found on your laptop, and then the other end to the monitor. Always check for the correct port, as certain monitors have a VGA and a DVI port. If all else fails, you’ll figure out what to do when you look at the cable. Actually, there’s little chance of screwing up because there’s only one way you will be able to make the connection with both ends of that cable.

Once everything is connected, the laptop will probably just switch to the external display automatically, but if not, you can press a sequence of keys that will switch from the laptop to the external display. All you have to do is press and then hold the Function (Fn) key, then press the “hotkey” which has a picture of a monitor in it. Once you get rolling it’s just a matter of pressing Fn and the corresponding monitor key to be able to switch back and forth between displays. The model and manufacturer of the laptop will dictate which keys are to be pressed when switching displays.

If you want to show the display on both monitors concurrently, you’ll need to click the START button, at the bottom left hand side of the desktop. Then select Control Panel. Appearance and Themes will be the next selection you choose. Next, click Display and then click on the Settings tab. Then look for two square monitor icons beneath your settings tab. When you find the icons, you’ll notice one has the number “1” in the middle and the other icon will have the number “2” inside. The monitor just attached is represented by the number 2 icon. You want to click on that number 2 icon and then put a check in the box saying, “Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor;” then click on that #2 icon and drag it to the right or left side of the laptop monitor icon, based on which side you will put the external monitor. Once the laptop is connected to the external monitor, next step is to
click “Apply” and then “OK.”

~Unnikrishnan K