How to Set Up a Third Display on a Laptop


Laptop users have long turned to external monitors to improve their viewing experience. Setting up a single external monitor is a fairly simple proposition using the laptop's built-in VGA "Display Out" port. Users who want go beyond that can add a third display to go along with the laptop's built-in screen and an external monitor. It requires just a little extra hardware and time.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop
  • 2 external monitors
  • USB external video card
  • VGA cable
  • Purchase a USB VGA external video card. Since the VGA "Display Out" port on the laptop is already occupied with the second monitor, you will have to use a USB port to attach the third display.

  • Insert the video card installation CD into the CD drive on the laptop. Follow the setup instructions to install the new graphics drivers.

  • Attach the external video card to an open USB port. The computer will automatically recognize the new adapter.

  • Attach one end of the VGA cable to the corresponding port on the external video card. Attach the other end to the VGA port on the external monitor. There may be two screws on each end. Tighten these for a snug connection. Make sure that the new monitor is plugged in and powered on.

  • Configure the new display. The laptop will automatically recognize the new monitor and will show the desktop in clone mode, matching what you see on your main display. To extend the desktop instead, right click on the desktop, choose "Properties" from the menu and click on the "Settings" tab. Under the "Display" drop down menu, choose your new monitor. Click the box next to "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor."

Tips & Warnings

  • USB video cards may cause a slight lag in the display, so it may not be suitable for demanding applications such as video.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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