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Using Two or More Monitors with One Computer (Windows 8)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with more than one video output connector using Windows 8.
This document explains how to connect and set up a television (TV) or a monitor as an additional display.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Before you begin connecting additional monitors to your computer

Make sure the computer has at least two video connections: one for the main monitor and one for the secondary monitor or TV. Many HP and Compaq Desktop computers come equipped with two video connections.
NOTE:If you must add a second video card to your computer to gain another video connection, make sure both video cards use the same Windows 8 compliant (WDDM) driver. One way to ensure this is to use the same video card model for both video connections.

Connecting a second display to your computer

To connect your TV or second monitor as a second display, do the following:

Select the type of connection you want to use for a second display

The latest computers and TVs offer a wide variety of video connection options. The video connection on your computer must match an available video connection on your TV or monitor. Select a connection type from the table below that works best for your environment.
NOTE:You can use adapters or special converter cables to make a connection between HDMI and DVI digital ports. If your PC only has DVI and your TV does not have a DVI port, you can use an adapter to make a connection that is much better than a standard video connection.
Video connection types
Video Out connector/cable Use with
Video (composite)




Monitor or High Definition TV

High Definition TV

A DVI-HDMI adaptor may be needed.

Connecting a TV to your computer

  1. Connect the TV to the computer using the cable you have chosen.
  2. Connect the TV power and turn it on.
  3. Change the TV video input source to match the video source connection from the computer (Line-1, Video-1, HDMI, etc.). Refer to the documentation that came with the TV for instructions.
  4. Turn on the computer.
    Depending on the TV, the image quality might not be as good as that of a monitor.
NOTE:If the picture displayed on the TV or monitor does not fit on the screen, or has blank areas to the sides of the screen, then use the TV or monitor zoom or aspect ratio feature. On TVs, aspect or zoom is usually found as a button on the remote control.

Connecting a monitor to your computer

  1. Connect the monitor to the computer using the cable you have chosen.
  2. Connect the monitor power and turn it on.
  3. Turn on the computer.

Extending or duplicating the desktop onto a second monitor in Windows 8

Use the steps in this section to configure Windows to use the additional display(s) for presentations or for more desktop space.
Extending the Windows desktop or work area expands the work area across both displays. This configuration is most commonly used to get more workspace. People usually take advantage of the extra workspace to view different applications on different displays.
Duplicating the desktop displays the same (Clone) image on both displays. This configuration is most commonly used for presentations. The presenter works from a smaller monitor while the audience views the presenter’s work from a larger monitor, TV, or projector.
The following are instructions to set up two monitors to either extend or duplicate the view of the desktop with a second monitor:
  1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop.
  2. Click Screen Resolution.
    Figure 1: Screen Resolution window
    Selecting screen resolution, display,  and orientation
    NOTE:If only one monitor is showing on the Screen Resolution window, first verify that the connections are secure between the monitors and the computer. Then, click Detect. If Windows does not recognize both monitors, click Identify. The numbers 1 or 2 are shown on the monitor icons to help you identify the monitors.
    NOTE:If Display, Resolution, Orientation, or Multiple displays selections in the Screen Resolution window are dimmed, not allowing you to make the desired changes, see the next section; Configuring the display with the display driver in Windows 8 .
  3. Use the Multiple displays drop-down list to select one of the following options:
    • Duplicate these displays: Show the entire desktop on both displays.
    • Extend these displays: Stretch the desktop across the two displays.
    • Show desktop only on 1: Use only display 1 and show nothing on display 2.
    • Show desktop only on 2: Use only display 2 and show nothing on display 1.
  4. (Optional) To adjust the resolution, select a monitor and choose a resolution from the drop-down list.
  5. (Optional) To change the direction of the desktop extension (usually left or right to match how the displays are physically positioned), select a monitor and drag it to the desired position.
  6. When done, click Apply, and then click OK.

Windows 8 tips for multiple displays

After attaching an additional display, you can use these tips to enhance and personalize your display environment:
  • In an extended desktop environment you can adjust the taskbar settings to make the taskbar appear at the bottom of every display.
    Figure 2: Taskbar settings
    Taskbar setting with Multiple display settings called out
  • When extending your desktop, the Windows Start screen displays on your primary display. The Start screen cannot be extended to other monitors.
  • On the Start screen, app tiles can be moved from one monitor to the other by dragging and dropping them. If the app is snapped, it will be snapped on the other monitor too.
  • You can use more than one background image per monitor. When selecting a background image in Personalization, right-click the picture you want as your desktop background image and select the display monitor.
    Figure 3: Choose your desktop background
    Personalizing the desktop background
  • You can set different backgrounds for each monitor. When selecting a personalization theme, Windows 8 automatically puts a different desktop background on each monitor. You can even set a slide show to cycle though pictures across all monitors, or pick specific background pictures of each monitor.
    Figure 4: Monitors with different backgrounds
    Different background images on each monitor
  • You can use one background image that extends across all monitors. To use this feature, select the Span setting when choosing your desktop background. This feature works best when using panoramic images.
    Figure 5: One image extended across two monitors
    One image across two monitors
  • On a PC with multiple monitors, one or more of the screen edges are likely to be shared. For example, two monitors sitting next to each other (where each has the same screen resolution) would share both the top and bottom edge of the screen. Because corners are so important for navigation in Windows 8, we need to be able to easily target each corner, but this is difficult when you cannot navigate the mouse in any corner like you can on a single monitor system.
    Real corners along shared edges make the mouse stop, so when you get to the desired corner, Windows does not allow you to overshoot the corner. The corner is extended along shared edges so if you are moving along the edge and hit the corner, the mouse will stop.

Configuring the display with the display driver in Windows 8

Configuring the display settings to presentation or duplicate (clone) may require special drivers. At the time this document was written, HP and Compaq computers are installed with ATI or NVIDIA video cards. You can refer to the following two procedure examples to learn how video technology software can be adjusted for a presentation environment:
NOTE:If the video technology used on your computer is different from what is shown below, or you are unable to find the setting for presentation mode, refer to the video technology manufacturer's website for more help and information.
Video cardProcedure
  1. Right-click an empty space on the Windows desktop, and then select ATI Catalyst Control Center.
  2. Select Basic setup and click Go.
  3. Select Clone, and then select the resolution.
  4. Click Finish.
  1. Right-click an empty space on the Windows desktop, and then select AMD Vision Engine Control.
  2. Under Desktop and Displays, to extend the desktop, click Arrange Desktops and follow any on-screen instructions.
    To clone or duplicate the desktop, click Change to Duplicated and follow the on-screen instructions.
  1. Right-click an empty space on the Windows desktop, and then select NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Click Display, and then click Change Display Configuration.
  3. Select Clone, and then click Apply.

Troubleshooting TV setup as a second monitor

If you encounter problems when trying to connect a TV to the computer, try the following items:
  • Turn on the TV before turning on the computer.
  • To get sound from you TV, it must support sound through a straight through HDMI connection (no adapters) or a separate audio cable connection.
  • Certain display adapters need to have TV set as the primary display adapter before it can be recognized at all. If the computer is not detecting the TV as a display device when the computer is turned on, set TV as the primary display device in Windows and restart the computer.
  • Use only one video source per display device. Do not connect two cables to the same TV or monitor unless it supports picture-in-picture and only if you want to use that feature.
  • TVs require their source setting be changed to the video source that the video card is using. Go through the available source connections by pressing the source button (or similar) on the TV's remote control. You should see settings similar to: Input 1, HDMI 1, or S-video. This can vary depending on the type of TV you are using. If your TV does not have this capability, then you will not be able use it as a second monitor without using special video signal processing (not covered in this document). For more detailed instructions consult the manual for your TV.
  • If making the connection using a coaxial or S-video connector, set the desktop screen resolution to 800 x 600 (or less).
  • After changing the display resolution in Windows to the best possible resolution across devices, you might need to adjust the aspect ratio on some of the televisions/monitors to scale the image to the screen.
  • For standard analog signals, a TV accepts either a PAL (Europe) or NTSC (North America) signal, depending on the country it was made for. Make sure that the signal format of the TV matches the signal output that the card produces (for on-board TV-output, this setting can be changed in the BIOS).

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