How to Start with a Dual Monitor Setup for Windows 10

by: - Last updated on: January 30th, 2017

Dual Monitor system is one of the most common setup professionals have for their daily workflow. Not only it gives you more eyes on what you work on, it helps you get more productive.

So how do you set it up? Is it a tough job? Do you need premium software? Do you need to buy expensive cables?

When it comes to Software, Microsoft has done a brilliant job with Windows 10, and for most of the users, there is no need to buy any extra software, or even use the free ones. On the hardware front, you will need to do a bit of investment, depending on your existing setup of monitors.

dual monitors

Hardware for Dual Monitor setup

First thing first. You need to figure out which two displays you will be connecting. There could be multiple combinations. Laptop to Standalone Monitors, PC Monitors to a Standalone Monitor, and so on. The basic idea is to figure out what type of display-out port is available from your primary monitor, and what kind of display-in port is available on your secondary monitor.

For example, my existing monitor has a VGA port, while the laptop I’m using comes with a mini-HDMI port. So I had to buy a mini-HDMI to VGA converter (like this one on Amazon) to set up the dual monitors.

When it comes to quality of the converter, it is highly recommended to buy a decent quality converter, if not the premium one. Amazon is the best place to look for them, and before you buy check out ratings, customer feedback, and the most important thing is you are getting one which fits your port.


Just before we start,  the tutorial is written using Windows 10 Insiders Preview Build 15014. This will eventually be rolled out to consumers as Creators Update.

Now that our monitors are connected, you are almost half the way. To instantly get into dual monitor mode on Windows 10, press WIN + P, and choose from options:

  • Duplicate
  • Extend (recommended)
  • Secondary Screen Only
  • and PC screen only.

Dual Monitor Display Shortcut

That’s it, you are all set! Really? Well on paper, Yes, but technically, No. Let’s understand one basic stuff. All monitors are different, their resolutions are possibly different as well, and so are their way to produce color. This means you will have to adjust things a bit to get the best experience.

Display Settings & Resolution

When you extend or use the secondary monitor as your only display, the resolution on the secondary monitor is usually of the primary. Things might look either small or just “not fit”, and so this is how we tell Windows, what it needs to use on the secondary monitor.

  • Make sure you have connected the second display.
  • To start, extend the display using WIN + P combination.
  • Go to Settings > System > Display

You should have two rectangles, representing two monitors. In case you see only one, click on Detect, and it will automatically identify the secondary display. Select the second display, and then change the settings for it.

Dual Display Settings

  • You can use change the size of text, apps, and others items bigger.
  • Next is resolution, and recommended works, but you can change using the drop-down.
  • Choose between landscape or portrait mode, depending on how you have kept your monitor. The same section lets you make the secondary monitor as your primary.

Dual Display Text Size Resolution Settings

Coders usually have the Portrait mode, and those who need to follow long list or use excel also tend to use this mode. So choose accordingly.

Color Management for Advanced Users

Every Monitor has its own color profile. If I have to put it in a simple manner, then think on the lines where you can see a wallpaper which looks much better on Monitor A compared to Monitor B. As an example MacBook displays are usually much better than standard monitors, and it has to do something with their color profile as well.

Usually, when Windows detects a Monitor, it allocates a standard color profile, and for regular users, it wouldn’t make a lot of difference. Windows should be able to download the right profile, and many a time, Monitors come with drivers which you can install to get the right set.

This section is for bit advanced users. If you find things complicated, you can skip it, and use the default settings. If you want to fiddle a bit, here you go.

  • Type on “Color Management” in your Cortana Box, and it should show you the option.
  • Open, and you will see a windows which has Devices, All profiles, and Advanced. Under devices, select the secondary monitor by tapping on the dropdown. Tap on Identify to make sure its “2”
  • Switch to Advanced tab, and select Calibrate Display.
  • Run this wizard, and get the optimal settings for various factors including brightness, gamma and contrast.

Colour Management for Mionitors

This should be good enough for you to get started with the Dual Monitor setup on Windows 10. If you have any questions, do let us know in the comments section.

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