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HP and Compaq Desktop Computers - Using Two or More Monitors with One Computer in Windows 7

This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with more than one video output connector using Windows 7.
This document explains how to connect and set up a television (TV) or a monitor as a second display.

Before you begin

Make sure the computer has at least two video connections: one for the main monitor and one for the secondary monitor or TV. Many HP and Compaq Desktop computers come equipped with two video connections.
If you must add a second video card to your computer to gain another video connection, make sure both video cards use the same Windows 7 compliant (WDDM) driver. One way to ensure this is to use the same video card model for both video connections.

This video shows how to connect dual monitors to one computer in Windows 7

Connect the second display

To connect your TV or second monitor as a second display, do the following:

Select the type of connection you want to use

The latest computers and TVs offer a wide variety of video connection options. The video connection on your computer must match an available video connection on your TV or monitor. Select a connection type from the table below that works best for your environment.
You can use adapters or special converter cables to make a connection between HDMI and DVI digital ports. If your PC only has DVI and your TV does not have a DVI port, you can use an adapter to make a connection that is much better than a standard video connection.
Video connection types
Video Out connector/cable
Use with
Video (composite)
Monitor or High Definition TV
High Definition TV
A DVI-HDMI adaptor may be needed.

Connect the TV

  1. Connect the TV to the computer using the cable you have chosen.
  2. Connect the TV power and turn it on.
  3. Change the TV video input source to match the video source connection from the computer (Line-1, Video-1, HDMI, etc.). Refer to the documentation that came with the TV for instructions.
  4. Turn on the computer.
Depending on the TV, the image quality may not be as good as that of a monitor.

Connect the monitor

  1. Connect the monitor to the computer using the cable you have chosen.
  2. Connect the monitor power and turn it on.
  3. Turn on the computer.

Configure the display settings

The following are instructions to set up the two most common multiple display configurations:
Presentation or Clone: This displays the same (Clone) image on both displays. This configuration is most commonly used for presentations; that is, the presenter works from a smaller monitor while the audience views the presenter’s work from a larger TV, monitor, or projector.
Extending the desktop: The Windows desktop or work area extends across both displays. This configuration is most commonly used to get more workspace. People usually take advantage of the extra workspace to view different applications on different displays.

Presentation or clone

Configuring the display settings to presentation or clone may require special drivers. At the time this document was written, HP and Compaq computers are installed with ATI or NVIDIA video cards. You can refer to the following two procedure examples to learn how video technology software can be adjusted for a presentation environment:
If the video technology used on your computer is different than what is shown below and you are unable to find the setting for presentation mode, refer to the video technology manufacturer's website for more help and information.
Video card
  1. Right-click an empty space on the Windows desktop, and select ATI Catalyst Control Center.
  2. Select Basic setup and click Go.
  3. Select Clone, and select the resolution.
  4. Click Finish.
  1. Right-click an empty space on the Windows desktop, and select NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Click Display and click Change Display Configuration.
  3. Select Clone and click Apply.

Extending the desktop

Extend the desktop using Windows 7 Display Settings.
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under Appearance and Personalization, click Adjust screen resolution.
    Figure : Appearance and Personalization
    Appearance and Personalization section of Control Panel
    The Screen Resolution window opens
    Figure : Screen Resolution window
    Screen Resolution window
    If Windows shows only one monitor connected, click Detect. If Windows does not recognize both monitors, click Identify. The numbers 1 or 2 are shown on the monitor icons to help you identify them.
  3. Use the Multiple displays drop-down list to select one of the following options:
    • Duplicate these displays: Show the entire desktop on both displays.
    • Extend these displays: Stretch the desktop across the two displays.
    • Show desktop only on 1: Use only display 1 and show nothing on display 2.
    • Show desktop only on 2: Use only display 2 and show nothing on display 1.
  4. (Optional) To adjust the resolution, select a monitor and choose a resolution from the drop-down list.
  5. (Optional) To change the direction of the desktop extension (usually left or right to match how the displays are physically positioned), select a monitor and drag it to the desired position.
  6. When done, click Apply, and then click OK.

Troubleshooting TV setup

If you encounter problems when trying to connect a TV to the computer, try the following items:
  • Certain display adapters need to have TV set as the primary display adapter before it can be recognized at all. If the computer is not detecting the TV as a display device when the computer is turned on, set TV as the primary display device in Windows and restart the computer.
  • Turn on the TV before turning on the computer.
  • TVs require their source setting be changed to the video source that the video card is using. Select either Input 1, Input 2, or S-video by pressing the Source or Input Source button on the TV's remote control. This can vary depending on the type of TV you are using. If your TV does not have this capability, then you will not be able use it as a second monitor without using special video signal processing (not covered in this document). For more detailed instructions consult the manual for your TV.
  • Set the screen resolution to 800 x 600 (or less).
  • Use only one video source. Do not connect two cables to the same TV or monitor.
  • For standard analog signals, a TV accepts either a PAL (Europe) or NTSC (North America) signal, depending on the country it was made for. Make sure that the signal format of the TV matches the signal output that the card produces (for on-board TV-output, this setting can be changed in the BIOS).

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