Common problems when controlling multiple monitors (and their solutions)

Windows doesn’t detect your second monitor? Doubled, but wanted to extend it? These and other types of common multiple monitor problems we bring you in this guide, and they all have solutions.

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No signal

Although not receiving any signal on your new monitor can be a cause for concern, it is arguably the easiest problem to fix. It simply means that the visual data does not reach the screen. There are several reasons why this happens with their respective solutions to try to solve it.

Force Windows to detect your monitor. Windows may not have recognized that a second display is connected. To force it to check, right-click on the desktop and select Screen settings in the menu that appears. In the Display Settings window, click the button Detect.

Turn the screen off and on again. Some connection types don’t like hot swapping while the monitor is on. Turn off the screen and turn it on again. That may be all you need to recognize the video signal and start displaying it correctly.

Check that the cables are connected correctly. It may sound obvious, but it happens. If they appear to be secure, unplug them and plug them back in to be safe.

Make sure you have selected the correct entry. Monitors with multiple input options require you to select the cable you are using. Use the buttons on the monitor to make sure you have selected the same as the cable to connect to.

Change the data cable. If you are using an older standard cable like VGA or DVI-D you may want to try a newer alternative like HDMI or DisplayPort. You can also try using another cable of any compatible standard if you have a problem with that particular cable.

Change the graphics port. If you use a dedicated graphics card with multiple output ports, try changing the one you use. Sometimes the ports themselves can be damaged and switching to another is all you need to do to correct it.

Update your graphics drivers: Although Windows 10 supports multiple monitors by default, the setup might not be done for some reason. Ensuring that you are running the latest graphics drivers for your system can sometimes fix signal problems.

If you continue to have problems with the additional monitor, check that it works on its own by unplugging the other display and rechecking the steps above. If it does, consider running it as the main screen until you figure out what the problem is. If not, we suggest you contact your dealer or manufacturer to discuss a return or replacement.

Wrong resolution

Resolution Settings in Windows 10 to Fix Common Multiple Monitor Problems 1

If you add a new, higher resolution monitor to your system and find that it is not displaying at the correct resolution, it may be that it is borrowing some settings from your old display or simply trying to match those of the other existing display.

Paso 1: Right-click on the desktop and select “Display Settings” from the menu that appears.

Paso 2: Click on the monitor you want to edit in the upper window.

Paso 3: scroll down and look for the heading “Scale and Design.” Under “Resolution”, use the drop-down menu to select the correct resolution for your monitor.

If this process doesn’t work, make sure your monitor and graphics card can run at the chosen resolution. If you’re still having trouble, try updating your graphics drivers.

Incorrect update frequency

Windows 10 Refresh Rate Settings to Fix 2 Common Multiple Monitor Problems

If you’ve bought a fancy new high-refresh-rate gaming monitor, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Windows 10 has a tendency not to pick up the fastest settings your new display supports, so it’s often imperative that you choose it yourself manually.

You can check the refresh rate of your monitor with the tool Testufo.

Paso 1: Right-click on the desktop and select “Display Settings” from the menu that appears.

Paso 2: Scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on “Advanced Display Settings.”

Paso 3: click on Display adapter properties for X, where X is the screen for which you want to adjust the refresh rate.

Paso 4: select the tab Monitor on top.

Paso 5: under the heading “Monitor Settings”, use the drop-down box to select the correct refresh rate.

You can check the refresh rate your monitor is running at with the Testufo tool.

Duplicate or extended

Settings in Windows 10 to fix 2 common multiple monitor problems

There are different ways to display content on two screens, but “Duplicate” is often the default. If yours only shows a copy of what is on your main screen and you prefer it to act as an extension of it, here is how to change it.

Paso 1: press the key Windows + P to open the menu Project.

Paso 2: Choose ExtenderEither by clicking the mouse, moving up or down with the arrow keys and pressing Enter on the right or pressing Windows key + P to scroll through the options.

You can also right-click on the desktop and select Screen settings and use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the window to choose what you want under the title Multiple displays. This way you can also adjust which monitor appears on the left and which one on the right by dragging and dropping the numbered screens at the top of the window.

These same processes can be used to switch to duplicate if you prefer.

Two monitors can be connected, but not the third

Desktop with CPU and three monitors to learn how to troubleshoot common monitor problems

If you are working with a three-monitor setup, you may find that the first two monitors are easy to connect, but the third monitor is unresponsive or behaves like the others.

Unplug the monitors and connect each monitor one at a time– Sometimes this helps your computer to recognize all three monitors and use them correctly, without the need for further steps.

Make sure you have the Extend these screens option selected: In the section Multiple screens In Windows 10, make sure Extend these displays is selected. It’s a good idea to check all display settings to make sure they are configured for multiple monitors – sometimes a Windows update can reset them.

Make sure all graphics drivers are up to date– Apply updates and restart if necessary.

Games are unintentionally minimized

common monitor problems

If you find that your games are minimized when playing on a single monitor for no reason, you may be accidentally clicking on the second screen panel. Some games do not lock the boundaries of your full-screen window, which means that by hovering the mouse over the edge of the screen, the pointer can move to the second window.

Clicking selects that second screen or whatever is on it, minimizing the game. This is particularly problematic in games without a mouse pointer, such as FPS titles. Here are some methods to solve the minimization problem:

Check the display options within the game itself. If you are playing in “Window” mode, try switching to “Full Screen”. If this doesn’t work, try switching to Borderless Window mode. It will not prevent the mouse from moving to the other screen, but it can prevent the game from minimizing when it occurs. Just click on the window again to switch back to the game.

Use third party apps. Applications like Dual Monitor Tool allow you to lock the mouse pointer on a particular monitor. However, you will have to unlock it after you have finished playing.

Turn off the second screen. It’s a bit drastic, but turning off the second screen when playing games that don’t need it can keep you from straying to that extended screen mid-game. You can do this by pressing the power button or pressing the key Windows + P and selecting PC screen only of the list.

Distortion and artifacts

A man using two monitors on his computer to learn how to troubleshoot common monitor problems

Sometimes your secondary monitor will work, but you will find distortions and artifacts that will make it difficult to use or impossible to play with. If your first monitor doesn’t have these display issues, the problem is likely related to your hardware. You can usually fix it by following these steps:

Check the monitor ports– Make sure all ports on your computer are clean and free of dust. If it’s been a while, clean them very carefully with a few jets of compressed air and check the port or cable for damage or dirt.

Purchase a new monitor cable for the secondary monitor: it may be that your cable is old and failing. This is especially true if you are unprotected and experience interference from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and nearby electrical noise. Buy a new cable that has a great shielding.

Shortens the length of the cable: If possible, choose a new cable that is shorter than the old one. The longer the data has to travel over the cable, the greater the chances of interference, so a shorter cable can reduce artifacts and similar problems.

If you are using switches or adapters, try connecting without them– Find cables that don’t need separate adapters or switches to control them.

Additional monitors suddenly stop working

Setup screen

In this case, you’ve been using a multi-monitor setup for a while and everything has worked fine, but suddenly your other monitors just completely stop working. Luckily, this can usually be fixed.

Check your connections: Cover the basics and make sure your other monitor is still connected properly and the cables haven’t come loose since you last turned it on.

Give Windows a reminder– Sometimes Windows stumbles a bit and loses track of your additional monitors. Update it by pressing the Windows + Ctrl + Shift + B keys. Hold them down for a second and release them. Check to see if this helps bring your other monitor back to life.

Reboot everything: turn off Windows and all your monitors. Then turn everything on and restart. This can often fix this problem.

If necessary, roll back the driver updates– If your display driver was recently updated, it could be causing the problem. Go to Device administrator, Choose Display adapters and select your display adapter to see more. Go to Properties, look at the tab Controller and choose Roll back previous driver.

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