Operating Systems/Programming

Troubleshooting Multiple Displays in Windows 10

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For the past few days, I have been loading up our new online help desk with how-to documents and helpful articles that will hopefully reduce the number of internal tickets that IT receives. So far, I have created 127 posts. As monitor problems are a common issue, I figured I would create an all-in-one resource for users to utilize in finding a solution. While the following article is designed using our hardware (HP 23er) and operating system (Windows 10), the information is valid for a large number of additional devices.

Since we use two monitors at each workstation, problems can arise with unplugged (or loose) display cables, improper positioning (can’t drag your mouse across from one monitor to the other), or the home screen might be set to the wrong device; in this post, I will detail how to both troubleshoot and fix these issues.

Monitor Not Working (Blank Screen)

Have Power?

The first thing you want to do is to simply check if the monitor has power; while this may seem obvious, this is generally the cause. To ensure that the monitor has power, verify that the power light comes on when the power button is pressed. On our newer HP 23er monitors, the power button is on the bottom right of the device. If the power light does not come on, the monitor is not receiving power from either the power adapter/wall outlet.

Unplug

Next, unplug and then replug the monitor’s power cable (wait about 10-30 seconds in-between), then try to turn on the monitor again; by performing this action, you can prove that the power cable is plugged in, tightly connected, and for many flat-panel LCD monitors, the electronics in the monitor will reset after 30 seconds.

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If you have at least one working monitor, you can check your device’s display settings to verify and edit the other monitor; to do this, go to your Windows Desktop (the one with all of your icons and folders on it), and right-click on an empty area of the screen. Next, select Display Settings. From here, you have many available options you can choose. The first thing you should/will see is a graphic of both of your screens, marked 1 and 2; If you do not see this screen, select Detect to see if your PC has not yet recognized the other monitor. You can also use the same screen to identify each monitor (1 or 2).

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Video Cable

If you verify that you indeed have power, the next plausible culprit to your troubles will be the video cable. If the monitor has a detachable video cable (it will), ensure that it is inserted tightly into both the monitor and the computer. An easier method would be to just remove the cable at both ends and then reinsert it. If you still do not see an image on your screen, try using another video cable (call IT).

Monitor has Improper Positioning

If both of your monitors have power and video, but the layout of the screens is incorrect, you can’t scroll through each monitor with your mouse, the text and icons are too small/large, or you seem to have two monitors displaying the same screen, you will want to follow the same steps mentioned above to access the Display Setting page.

If you have at least one working monitor, you can check your device’s display settings to verify and edit the display problems you are encountering; to do this, go to your Windows Desktop (the one with all of your icons and folders on it), and right-click on an empty area of the screen. Next, select Display Settings. From here, you have many available options you can choose.

Identify/Rearrange Monitors

First, select Identify to see which of your monitors are designated as 1 or 2; by using this information, you can select one of the monitors and move the monitor’s display around by selecting one of them and dragging it in front of the other (this will literally change what shows on each screen.) If the settings are correct, you should be able to move your cursor through the middle of one monitor to the next. If the settings are not correct, the only way to move your cursor from one side of the screen to the next is to drag the cursor through one of the outside corners of the screen (not inside).

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Scale/Layout and Resolution

Below, you will now see Scale and Layout settings; these will allow you to change the size of apps, text, and other items. Generally, 100% is recommended unless you are farther away from your computer or have a larger/smaller screen than normal. For the Resolution setting, it should show you the recommended resolution, but feel free to adjust it if, like I just mentioned, you are farther away from your computer or have a larger/smaller screen than normal.

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Orientation

Next, you will see the Orientation setting; this allows you to flip/rotate the image on your monitor around. Generally, you will not need to mess around with orientation, unless for some reason, your display is already rotated wrong and you need to correct it.

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Multiple Displays

Finally, the setting Multiple Displays is typically the cause of many dual-display issues. As you will see, you can duplicate the displays (show the same image on both screens), extend the displays (use both screens independently), and also only use one of the screens (1 or 2). You should have the Extend These Displays option selected, 9.9 times out of 10.

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Make This My Main Display

Directly below the Multiple Displays option, you will see a checkbox for Make This My Main Display. As mentioned above in the Identify/Rearrange Monitors section, select either display 1 or 2, and then select/deselect the Make This My Main Display checkbox; this will make your home screen display on the correct monitor (to quickly find out if your home screen is on the correct side, press the Windows key (shown below) and take note of which side the menu opens on).

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 Summary

Hopefully, by now, you have already found the solution to your problem and are not reading this sentence. If you are still in need of assistance, please contact IT.

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