How to Connect a Desktop PC to a Laptop Monitor

If you have an extra monitor lying around and want to put it to use, you can connect it to your laptop. This is a great way to increase your screen real estate without having to buy a new monitor. You can use your laptop’s built-in display and the external monitor simultaneously, or you can use the external monitor as your primary display and keep your laptop’s lid closed. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Determine which video output port(s) your laptop has. Most laptops have at least one of the following ports:
  • HDMI
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • DisplayPort
  • DVI
  • VGA

If your laptop only has a VGA port, you’ll need to buy a VGA-to-HDMI adapter before you can continue.

  1. Connect one end of an HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your laptop. If your laptop only has a Mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort, you’ll need to buy a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI or DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter before you can continue.
  2. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the back of the monitor.
  3. Turn on your monitor. If it has an on/off switch, press it to turn on the monitor.
  4. Press the Fn key on your laptop’s keyboard, then press the F4 key (this may be different for your laptop). This will toggle between using your laptop’s display and the external monitor.

If you want to use your laptop’s display and the external monitor simultaneously:

  1. Arrange the monitors so that they’re side-by-side. This will make it easier to drag windows between the two displays.
  2. Click the Start button, then click Control Panel. If you don’t see Control Panel, type control panel into the search bar and press Enter.
  3. Click Appearance and Personalization, then click Adjust Screen Resolution.
  4. Under Multiple displays, select Extend these displays.
  5. Click OK.

If you want to use the external monitor as your primary display and keep your laptop’s lid closed:

  1. Click the Start button, then click Control Panel. If you don’t see Control Panel, type control panel into the search bar and press Enter.
  2. Click Appearance and Personalization, then click Adjust Screen Resolution.
  3. Under Multiple displays, select Duplicate these displays or Show only on 1.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Close your laptop’s lid.

Your laptop will enter sleep mode, but the external monitor will stay on. To wake your laptop, press the Fn key on your keyboard, then press the F4 key (this may be different for your laptop).

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