Setting up two monitors

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two computer monitors
Using two computer monitors not only looks cool, but is helpful
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Setting up two monitors for your computer proves the adage that more is better

Why only use one computer monitor when you can use two? Sound excessive? Really, it’s not. Instead of spending loads of money buying a larger monitor, you can get away with buying an inexpensive second monitor and have two to use.

There’s a good chance you already have the equipment you need to hook up the second monitor, so it’s really a win-win situation. Setting up two computer monitors is quite easy and is definitely worth the minimal effort.

Why Two Monitors?

Sure, you get along fine just using one monitor, but using two monitors is even better.  Using two monitors allows you to spread out documents so you can see them better. If you work on a laptop, adding a second large screen monitor can make it easier for you see the entries on a spreadsheet. Additionally, you could use one monitor for your web browser, and the other for instant messaging, watching DVDs or checking email. In the business world, using two monitors is most beneficial as it allows you to look at two documents at once. And gamers benefit from two monitors, as well. Two monitors make 3-D games even more enjoyable.

Getting the Right Software

The first step in setting up two monitors is making sure your computer is equipped with the right software. Software that typically supports the use of two monitors includes Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as popular distributions of Linux. If you don’t have the correct software, your system won’t recognize the two monitors and the process likely won’t work.

The Proper Hardware

In order to set up two monitors, you’ll need to have a means with which to connect both monitors to your computer. One way is to replace your existing graphics adaptor with a dual-head card. You could also add another graphics adaptor and keep the card you already have. This is likely the most cost-effective method, and also allows you to keep your card, which is useful if it doesn’t already need replacement.

Plugging In

First, set your computer up with one monitor. If you are using a laptop, open it up: there is, of course a monitor attached to the keyboard.

Use a cable connected to the second monitor to connect it to your laptop or to your desktop computer tower. When you plug in the second monitor to your computer, it should be detected right away. You must make sure the monitor is plugged in securely and turned on.

If the computer doesn’t detect the additional monitor, restart your computer and that should fix the issue.

Once the two monitors running, you’ll need to configure your settings. The way in which you go about doing this depends on what operating system you have running. If you have Windows 7, for instance, you go into your control panel, then click “appearance and personalization,” then “display” and finally “screen resolution.” You’ll click “Identify” to verify which monitor is number one and which is number two. When done correctly, each number will show up on the corresponding monitor. Then you’ll have the option to extend your display, duplicate the display or simply show the content on one monitor. Experiment to determine which option best suits the type of computer work you do.

Setting up two monitors is fairly easy and just about any computer user can do it. You’ll likely find the benefits of using two monitors was worth the little work it took to install them and wonder what you did without them.

Resources: Tech Tips  40 – Dual Display Desktop

Microsoft: Dual Monitor Setup

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