How to fix Laptop not detecting second Monitor

A monitor with a laptop on the side

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Connecting an external second monitor to your laptop is a great way to increase screen real estate.


It allows you to work with more stuff at the same time and multitask with ease. 


Or if you think that your laptop screen is too small for your use case, such as gaming or watching a movie, connecting an additional monitor is a great way to enhance your viewing experience.


However, you may be unable to connect your external monitor. And this could happen due to a number of reasons.


We will go through and discuss in detail what could cause your laptop to not detect your external monitor.


By the end of this guide, you will find what was preventing your laptop from connecting to an external monitor and how you could possibly solve the issue.


Try Troubleshooting Hardware to detect the second monitor

HDMI cable plugging into the HDMI port


Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Though these troubleshooting steps are quite basic, they seem to solve the issue most of the time.

Check that your Monitor is receiving power from the wall

Make sure that your monitor is plugged into the wall. A loose connection can cause your monitor to get power. 


Make sure that the power cable is plugged in all the way into the wall socket and in the monitor port. The cable should fit snugly into the monitor power port.


If the cable is plugged in properly and the power is turned on, you should see the power light on your monitor light up.


If your laptop was already connected to your monitor and it was powered on, your laptop should automatically detect your monitor and send the display out.


Make sure you are on the right input setting

This is a pretty innocent mistake, and we all have been there. Simply go into your monitor OSD and change to the input where you have plugged in your monitor.


However, if you are sure that you are on the right input and are still unable to receive any signal, there are still a couple of things you can try.


Check that the display cable is plugged in properly

Similar to the power cable, you need to make sure that your display cable of choice, whether it’s HDMI or VGA is plugged in properly on both sides.


If you are using an analog cable like DVI or VGA, make sure that the pins are not bent. Also, use the locking screw mechanism to secure the cable in the port.


Digital connectors like Displayport also use a locking mechanism, so ensure the cable is plugged in properly and secured. 


HDMI is the only cable that does not have any locking mechanism. So make sure you have inserted the cable all the way in.


Provided that the cable is inserted properly on both sides, your laptop will detect your monitor, and it will get a signal.


Change the video cable

A bad cable can also cause prevent your laptop from detecting your monitor. You can check this by swapping out the cable for a different one.


As mentioned earlier, if you use older analog cables like VGA, ensure that none of the pins are bent, as that could also cause the issue.


If changing out the cables didn’t resolve the issue, there are a couple of things you can still try.


Change the port on both sides

Try plugging in the video cable into a different port, both on your laptop and monitor.


If your laptop has more than one type of display output, then try to use the other port. Similarly, try to plug the cable into a different port on your monitor.


It’s quite possible that the port on your monitor or your laptop has gone bad. And in that case, your only option would be to use a different port or try getting that port repaired.


Disconnect unnecessary peripherals

Though one might not consider peripherals to play any part in connecting a monitor to a laptop, they can cause some interference in the video signal.


Try disconnecting all the peripherals, such as a game controller, external USB drives, external mouse etc, and then reconnect the monitor and the laptop. This might solve the issue for you.


If all the troubleshooting steps above fail to solve the issue for you, then it’s time to check things on the software side.


Try Troubleshooting software to detect the second monitor

Software glitch on the screen of a laptop

Restart your Laptop

This is an obvious step. There is a 90% chance that you can solve this issue just by restarting your laptop.


It’s possible that your OS, quite possibly Windows, in this case, has multiple processes running in the background. And it’s quite possible for the background process to bork out and stop working.


Restarting your laptop gives your OS a fresh start, allowing it to start and load everything from the beginning.


Though it is possible that restarting hasn’t solved your issue, in that case, you can definitely try a couple more things.


Detect display in settings

If your laptop is not automatically detecting your external display, you can manually ask Windows to detect your external monitor.


Step 1: Go to Windows Settings 


Clicking on settings


Step 2: Click on System Settings.


Click on System on in Windows Settings


Step 3: Click on Display on the left side menu


Display settings menu when no display is connected

Step 4: Under Multiple displays, Click on the “Detect” Button, and your Laptop should automatically detect your monitor.


Display settings when a display is already connected

Important Note: If you already have more than one display connected to your laptop and you are trying to connect a third display, then you will find the “ Detect” Button under the “Rearrange your displays” section.


If this still fails to solve the issue, you can still give other methods a try.


Update your Windows

Updating your Windows can solve the issue in some cases. It’s possible that there is some bug or incompatibility issue that could be fixed with a simple Windows Update.

Step 1: Go to Windows Settings


Clicking on settings

Step 2: Go to Update & Security


Click on Update and Security in WIndows Settings


Step 3: Click on “Check for Updates,” “Download and Install,” or whatever button that shows up


Click on Check Updates


Wait for the update to download and install, and reboot your laptop. Once your computer has rebooted, try to connect your display once again.

Update your Graphic Drivers

Though Windows will likely try to update your graphic drivers automatically when you click on update Windows, that might not always solve the issue.


You should try manually updating your graphic drivers from the device manager.

Step 1: Search for Device Manager in Windows Search.


Clicking on Device Manager


Step 2: Click on Display Adapters to see all the graphic drivers.


Clicking on Display Adapters


Step 3: Right Click on each driver and update it by clicking on the “Update driver.”


Clicking on Update Driver


Step 4: A window will open asking how you want to update the driver. Click on “ Search Automatically for Driver.”


Clicking on Search automatically for drivers


Just wait for Windows to do its thing, and you should be good to go! 


If you are already on the latest driver of your graphic card, then there are still a couple of things you can try.


Reinstall your Graphic Drivers

In case you are already on the latest driver version and still are facing some issues, then try reinstalling your graphic drivers.


Reinstalling drivers may clear out some issues that might have occurred during the initial installation, preventing your laptop from detecting a second monitor.


Step 1: Press the Win Key + X and click on Device Manager.


Clicking on Device Manager


Step 2: Click on “Display Adapters” to see all the “Graphic Drivers.”


Clicking on Display Adapters


Step 3: Right-click on each driver and click on “Uninstall Driver.” And don’t worry; your screen won’t go blank if you disable these.


Click on Uninstall Driver


Step 4: Once you disable these drivers, right-click and re-enable them. Also, restart your laptop.

After following these steps, plug in your external monitor and see if it works. If it doesn’t, there are still some things you can try.


Roll back to an older Graphic Driver

It’s quite possible that your latest graphic driver has some bug that is preventing your external monitor from connecting to your laptop. 


And while manufacturers work on the bug fix, you might consider rolling back to an older driver.

But before you go ahead and follow the steps below, make sure you have downloaded the older drivers from the manufacturer’s website. Or else the option will be greyed out.

Step 1: Press Win Key + X and click on Device Manager


Clicking on Device Manager


Step 2: Click on Display Adapters to see all the Graphic Drivers


Clicking on Display Adapters

Step 3: Right-click on a driver and click on “Properties”


Clicking on Properties on the Display Adapter


Step 4: Once the Properties Window opens, click on “Driver” on the upper side of the window.


Clicking on Driver

Step 5: Click on “Roll Back Driver.”


Clicking on Roll Back


Try Updating Graphic Drivers from the Manufacturers control panel

Though most of the time, Windows gets the job done when it comes to updating the drivers, but it’s still possible that you might find the latest update via the manufacturer’s own control panel.


Each manufacturer has their own control panel. Nvidia has GeForce Experience, AMD has Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, and Intel has Driver & Support Assistant.


Download your graphics card’s respective control panel installer and install it. After going through the installation process, check for driver updates and update it accordingly.


Run a Virus Scan

It’s quite possible that a computer virus is messing up your display drivers. 


Step 1: Go into Windows Settings and Click on Update & Settings.


Clicking on Update & Security


Step 2: Click on Windows Security on the left side menu


Clicking on Virus & Protection

Step 3: Click on Virus & Threat Protection


Clicking on Virus & Protection

Step 4: If threats are already there, you will see the button to “ Take Action.” Click on it and Windows will remove these threats.

Clicking on Take Action


Step 5: If you don’t see the “Take Action” button, click on “Scan Options.” After that, click on “scan options” and then choose “Quick Scan.”



Windows will run some scans and remove any threats from your laptop. After the scanning and cleaning are done, restart your laptop.

Once your laptop has booted into Windows, plug in your external monitor, and you should get a display out.


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