Easy way to add a second monitor.

There are a ton of good reasons to have your computer as a dual-monitor setup, there’s the added productivity of being able to have applications open in each monitor to work with at the same time. You could also have one monitor dedicated to goofing off, but we won’t tell the boss about that one… There also the fact that they are cool and get plenty of attention, if you’re like me you will have to explain almost daily how just because you have two monitors you don’t have two computers.

and the fact of the matter is that if you have more than just a simple on-board video card you may already be set to do multi-monitor setups. To determine if you have more than one display available right-click on your desktop and select “properties.” after clicking on the settings tab all you need to see is more than one display to determine if your machine is capable of running a dual-monitor setup. Now, granted just because you are capable doesn’t mean you can run a dual-monitor and get the performance you want.

Leave this window open because we’ll need to activate the monitor here, but first grab that second monitor you have sitting around.

  1. Find the extra monitor port you should have and plug the monitor into that extra monitor port you have. Technically it doesn’t matter the size of the monitor so it doesn’t have to be the same size as your current primary monitor but it does make for a more enjoyable dual-monitor setup.
  2. Once the monitor is plugged into both the extra monitor port and a power outlet and set in a good position on your desk, we need to activate the secondary monitor in the display settings window we have open.
    1. To do this select the secondary monitor in the display settings by clicking on the monitor w/ the number 2 on it.
    2. Then check the box that says “extend my desktop to this monitor.” It’s important to note that the resolutions, color depth and other settings don’t have to be the same for each monitor, but again keeping them the same makes for a better experience.
    3. Make sure your second monitor is on, click “Apply” and keep your fingers crossed. If the second monitor flashes on congratulations, your second monitor should now be an extended desktop of your first. You’ll want to take this time and adjust all the settings to make your dual monitor setup to your liking. You’ll want to be sure and click the “Identify” button to flash a number up on the monitor then change the layout on settings box to match what is actually on your desk; for example if you have monitor 2 on the left side of monitor 1 you’ll more than likely want to drag the second monitor to the other side of the primary in the display settings window. Depending on your desk layout this might be easier than trying to move the monitors around.
  3. Take this time to play around with all the settings, each time you make a change click the apply button to test it out before committing to the change. This also has the added benefit of if a change you make has a negative affect, all you have to do is wait and windows should change the settings back to original. Of course your mileage may vary and there’s no real way to write for all setups.

If something didn’t go according to plan or your setup can’t handle dual monitors as is, you’ll have to do a little extra work to get a second monitor setup. Most likely buy a second video card or a video card that can handle dual output. Here are two GeForce 6800 cards with 256MB video RAM that will easily handle your dual monitor setup. Both are running $75 at the time of this writing.

XFX GeForce 6800 for PCI Express

XFX GeForce 6800 for AGP

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