How to turn your Laptop into a Monitor

Ho to turn your laptop into a monitor

TechDropp is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy something from the links on our website.

Table of Contents

Turning your laptop into a monitor is extremely useful, considering that you can get a free display that you can repurpose for some other use. Doing so could allow you to attach an additional display to your main display and have more screen real estate to work with.

 

This means that you could add another display to your existing PC or laptop that you mainly use for regular use. We would also explain how you could connect other HDMI devices such as a Firestick, Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, or an Xbox console so you can use your laptop as a portable travel gaming display. Though doing so also has its drawbacks that we are going to discuss in detail,

 

Turning your laptop into a monitor can also allow you to give your old laptop a new life by repurposing it instead of letting it collect dust in your closet. But most importantly, having more screen real estate can boost your productivity, as adding an additional display to your existing work setup can help you get work done more quickly and efficiently.

 

Can I use my laptop as a monitor with its HDMI port?

The answer to that question is no. The HDMI port on your laptop is an HDMI out port used to extend or duplicate your laptop’s display to an external display such as a monitor or a TV. 

 

And considering that HDMI ports are not bi-directional, you simply can’t plug in your computer or any device with an HDMI output.

 

Why do laptops not have HDMI in?

Well, one of the main reasons why laptops don’t have an HDMI input is that not many people would use it. And since many little people need it, manufacturers don’t’ bother including it in their laptops. 

 

Also, considering how one of the priorities while making a laptop is power efficiency, laptops use Low Voltage Differential Signaling or LVDS to connect the display on the laptop for power efficiency due to short cabling inside your laptop, which is different from your regular HDMI input signal, which uses incompatible high voltages.

 

This means that a manufacturer would have to include a converter in a laptop to allow it to take HDMI inputs. However, as you might expect, doing so would increase the manufacturer’s cost, and it can impact a laptop’s battery life which is not worth it, considering that this feature would be used by very few people.

 

How to turn a laptop into a monitor for a PC

Before we begin, you might face some issues…

Before we move forward with this guide, we would like to mention that the Display Projection feature in Windows relies on Miracast, which has its weird issues.

 

Firstly, you need to use WiFi instead of Ethernet on your desktop PC to add the laptop display via miracast. Secondly, you must ensure that the laptop you use as a second display uses Intel HD Graphics instead of a dedicated GPU or an AMD APU. 

 

Furthermore, since the connection would be made wirelessly, you may notice some input delay or video artifacts, so keep that in mind. However, if you can’t stand any sort of latency, then we have also discussed ways you can turn your laptop into a monitor for a PC without any noticeable latency.

 

You can safely proceed with the guide if you have all this sorted out. However, don’t worry if you are facing some issues with miracast. You can still turn your laptop into a monitor with a 3rd party app.

Turning a laptop into a monitor using Miracast

Before we go further with our tutorial, we urge you to ensure that both the laptop and the PC are updated to the latest version of their Windows OS just to ensure there are no compatibility issues. 

 

For our tutorial, both our PC and laptop would be running Windows 10. You can follow the same tutorial for Windows 11 (though it has a few additional steps, it’s mostly the same).

 

Step 1: Go to the Start menu on your laptop and click on ‘Settings.’

Click on settings in Windows Start menu

Step 2: Click on ‘System.’

Click on System on in Windows Settings

Step 3: Click on ‘Projecting on this PC’ on the right side menu.

Clicking on 'Projecting on this PC' in sidebar menu

Step 4: Download the “Wireless Display” optional feature by clicking on “optional features.”

Downloading wireless display additional feature

Since this is most likely, you are doing this for the first time. You would need to download the “Wireless Display” optional feature. However, you may skip this step if it’s already downloaded for you.

Step 5: Click “ Add a feature” and search for “ Wireless Display and install it.

Clicking on add feature

Wireless display search result in add a optional feature menu

Step 6: After downloading the “Wireless Display” optional feature, go back to the “Projecting on this PC” menu.

Wireless display is installed

Step 7: Set your settings 

Here you can set settings for projecting to your laptop. We will recommend some settings, but it’s up to you how you want to set this. And if you feel like it, you can change these settings later.

 

Set the availability settings to “ Always available on secure networks.” Set the projection permission settings to “Every time a connection is requested.” And set security PIN settings to “Never.”

Clicking on available everywhere on secure networks

 

Click on everytime connection is requested

 

Clicking on Never

Step 8: Get your laptop ready for projection.

Clicking on Launch the Connect App to project on this PC

After you are done with the settings, click “ Launch the connect app to project on this PC.” You are done from your laptop side. Time to head over to your PC.

Connect app showing its ready to receive a connection

 

Step 9: On your PC, press the Win key+ P

Step 10: Click on “Connect to a Wireless Display”

Step 11: Select your laptop from the list

Congratulations! You have extended your display. You can go into windows display settings and set the position of your new second monitor in whichever way you like.

 

Turning your laptop into a monitor with a 3rd party program

Miracast isn’t without its issues. So if you don’t want to use Miracast, you can use third-party programs that do the same thing without hassle. In our example, we would suggest using something like Space Desk.

 

Without going into much detail, you would first have to download the Space Desk Drive on your main PC and then download the Space Desk Viewer on your laptop that you intend to make a display.

How to turn a laptop into an HDMI monitor

So far, we have covered how to turn your laptop into a monitor to use it with another PC. But if you want to use your laptop as an HDMI monitor, you can do that, but at this point, you would have to spend a little bit of money.

What you would need is an HDMI capture card. Though you can get expensive ones from Elgato that offer 4K input support, you can get a cheap capture card for under 20 bucks on Amazon that would serve you fine. Something like this 4K HDMI Capture Card would serve you just well and it’s dirt cheap.

4K HDMI Video Capture Card

Check Price on Amazon

So if you plan to use your PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox on your laptop, you can easily do so with a capture card.

You might also wanna read…

Here’s how to fix your Laptop not connecting to WiFi

Best Laptops for Working from Home under $500

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7620 Review