How to easily connect an external monitor to an HDMI or VGA laptop

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Shane Conder
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HDMI? VGA?

If you are looking at this article, you most likely have a monitor you want to install on your laptop. To do this, the first thing is to know what type of connection your monitor uses and what type of connection your laptop supports.

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface or High Definition Multimedia Interface. As the name suggests, it is a high definition interface that allows you to connect multimedia equipment together. You can also troubleshoot HDMI audio output. The HDMI cable has this aspect:



VGA stands for Video Graphics Array o Video Graphics Array. Like HDMI, it allows you to connect multimedia equipment together. There are some differences: VGA was designed in 1987, while HDMI was designed in 2002. VGA is an analog interface, while HDMI is digital.

When connecting a monitor to a computer, you need to make sure they both use the same type of connector; otherwise, you will need a adapter.

You can check the monitor cable and see if it looks like one of the images above. Then check the computer port (usually on the side if it's a laptop) to see if it fits properly.

VGA cables have 15 pin that will go into 15 "holes" in the computer port. The HDMI cable has 19 pins, but the port on the computer has no "holes" like the one on VGA and looks more like a USB port.

How to connect an external monitor to an HDMI or VGA laptop

Enough plug the cable into the computer port. However, your system may not recognize the second monitor immediately, in which case you will need to take a few steps to get it to work. In this article, we focus on Windows. If you are using Mac, you can follow the steps on Apple's official website. If you are interested in the reverse process, here you can learn how to use your laptop screen as a PC monitor.



Windows has a keyboard shortcut for setting up an external monitor. Press the Windows key and the "P" key at the same time to open this menu (the Windows key is located on the keyboard at the bottom and left, usually between "Control" and "Alt"). A menu with several options will open:

  • Disconnect the projector: If you have a monitor connected, Windows will stop recognizing it.
  • Duplicate: Everything you do on the main screen will be reflected on the external monitor.
  • Extend: Windows will use the external monitor as an additional display. The mouse pointer can be moved between screens and drag windows from the main screen to the external monitor.
  • Projector only: Windows will stop recognizing the main screen and will only use the external monitor.

If the combination of the Windows key and "P" didn't work for you, you can access these options from the control panel like this:

  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Select "Hardware and Sound".
  3. In the “Display” section, there are several options. Select "Connect to a projector".

By default, Windows recognizes the external monitor as a secondary display and acts as if it were to the right of the main one. From the control panel, you can change it. To do this, follow these steps:


  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Select "Hardware and Sound".
  3. Select "View"
  4. On the left, select "Change display settings"
  • To use the monitor as the main screen:
  1. Click on the "Display" tab and select Screen 2
  2. At the bottom, check the box for "Make this screen the main one"
  3. Click on "Accept"
  • To use the monitor on the right:

Above is a diagram with the numbered screens. Take the number two with the mouse and drag it to the left of 1. Using this diagram you can organize all the screens that are connected to the computer. You will also find useful options in this window.


Once Windows recognizes your monitor, it calibrates its brightness and contrast. With that you can have a monitor in optimum condition. If you are having trouble connecting both devices, please


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