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There are many different factors that can prevent Windows 10 from identifying a second monitor, but it’s an easy fix when you know the basics.
Windows 10 makes it easy to connect a secondary monitor to your setup to increase productivity. However, sometimes your system may not detect the second monitor due to hardware or software reasons.
Fortunately, fixing this problem is easy. Let’s explore the many ways to help you fix external monitor connection problems in Windows 10.
Basic troubleshooting tips to fix when secondary monitor is not detected
Most of the time, it’s the basic things that prevent your PC from detecting a secondary monitor. So before you dive into the more technical troubleshooting aspects of this guide, follow these tips to see if you’ve got the basics right.
- Perform a quick system reboot to troubleshoot problems that occur due to temporary crashes.
- Click on the Action Center at the bottom right, then click on Project and make sure you have selected, Duplicate or Extend.
- Check if your monitor is connected to a power source and turned on. The power button is usually located in the lower right.
- Make sure the cable is securely connected at both ends. You can also disconnect the HDMI or DisplayPort cable, wait a few seconds, and reconnect.
- Check your signal cable to see if it is frayed. You may also want to check the display or HDMI port to see if there are any problems.
- Change and connect to a different input / output port if your system has multiple ports available.
- Connect your monitor to another computer to determine if the problem is with your computer or monitor.
If you have gone through all the steps and the secondary monitor is still not working, please follow the additional steps outlined below.
1. Configure multi-screen options in Windows 10
Windows 10 can automatically detect all displays connected to your system. However, you must activate the displays manually from the settings.
As discussed in the basic troubleshooting part, click on Project in the action center and select the Extend or Duplicate option to activate your secondary display.
Alternatively, go to Settings> System> Display. Scroll down to the multi-screen section, click the drop-down menu, and select the Duplicate or Extend option.
If it’s already set to Extend or Duplicate, change the setting to something else and then revert the changes to see if that helps.
2. Force detection of older screens
Older displays are not always good with the auto-detect feature. Fortunately, Microsoft offers a force detection feature in Windows 10 to help you find and activate connected displays.
To force multiple screen detection:
- Press Win + I to open Settings.
- Open System and then click the Display tab on the left panel.
- Scroll down to the multi-screen section and click the Detect button.
- Windows will search for any connected but undetected displays and display them in the Display section.
Once detected, make sure the Multiple displays drop-down menu is set to Extend these displays or Duplicate these displays. If you set it to Show only on 2 or Show only on 1, only one of your screens will be active.
If you see a message that says “No other screen detected”, continue to the next step.
3. Look for hardware changes in Device Manager
Windows 10 often automatically detects and installs drivers for a newly installed device. However, if for some reason the discovery fails, you can manually search for installed devices in Device Manager.
- To check for hardware changes:
- Press Win + R to open Run.
- Type devmgmt.msc in the Run box and click OK.
In Device Manager, click Action and select Scan for hardware changes.
Windows will scan your system for connected devices and install the necessary drivers. Once this is done, your secondary monitor will detect and run smoothly.
4. Update the display adapter driver
Your system may not detect the second monitor if you run an outdated version of the display adapter drivers.
New and updated operating system computers come with a generic display adapter. This is a temporary setting that allows you to install pending driver updates after setting up your PC.
To get the necessary updates, go to Settings> Updates & Security> Windows Update. Download and install all pending Windows and third-party updates. You can also update display drivers from Device Manager.
To update the display adapter driver:
- Type device manager in the Windows search bar and open the application.
- In Device Manager, expand the Display adapters section.
- Depending on the processor and GPU you are using, you may see several options: Intel UHD graphics, AMD Radeon graphics, and Nvidia RTX / GTX graphics.
- Right-click on the available display adapter and select Update Driver.
- Click Search automatically for driver. Windows will check for pending driver updates and ask you to install them.
- Repeat the steps for other device entries in the Display adapters section.
- Restart the computer to apply the changes and check for improvements.
If Windows did not find any updates through Device Manager, there are other ways to update your graphics driver / display adapter in Windows 10. Make sure to follow the guide and install the latest graphics drivers available for your system.
How to reinstall display adapter drivers in Windows 10
If updating the graphics drivers didn’t help, you can reinstall the display adapter to fix the problem. Here’s how to do it.
- Open Device Manager and expand the Display adapters section.
- Right-click on your display adapter and select Uninstall Device.
- Click Uninstall. Click Yes to confirm the action if prompted by UAC.
- Restart your computer and check if Windows automatically detects the monitor.
Otherwise, open Device Manager, click Action, and select Scan for hardware changes. Then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the installation, if applicable.
How to roll back the graphics driver in Windows 10
The latest updates bring bug fixes and performance improvements. However, installing faulty graphics updates can disrupt the display functionality of your system. If you determine that the problem occurred after installing an update, try performing a driver rollback.
- To roll back the graphics driver update:
- In Device Manager, right-click on your display adapter.
- Select Properties.
- In the Properties window, open the Driver tab.
- Click the Restore Driver button and follow the instructions on the screen to complete the restore. If the rollback driver option is grayed out, download and install the previous version of the graphics driver to perform a manual rollback.
Final words: How to fix the issue of Windows 10 Not Detecting Your Second Monitor?
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