How to setup Dual Screens

The screenshot that started it all

My post on facebook about my extended desktop got a lot of people interested, and they want to know how to setup the same with their systems. So, here's how !

This is in 2 parts. Howto do it with a laptop, and how to do it on the desktop.

HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Laptop

Dual monitor display up!
My first attempt at dual monitors

This is the comparatively easier approach, and one probably you can try out first. Simple steps to follow are as follows :
  • Connect the monitor cable to the laptop ( the blue port ... it should either be on the sides, or on the back of the laptop.
  • On your windows desktop ( XP here as I have not used Vista on laptops) , right click and click on 'properties'.
  • Go to the 'settings' tab. It should show your current laptop screen, and another monitor greyed out.
  • Click on the greyed out monitor, and click on 'extend desktop to this monitor' . Make sure that the resolution is set to something your laptop's graphics card can support and the monitor can support.
  • Click 'Apply' and that should do the trick!
Upside : 0 cost if you already have a laptop and a monitor lying around.

2. HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Desktop.

Ok. This requires quite a bit of more work. This can again be achieved in two ways.

2.1 Using a graphics expansion module.

A maxtor graphics splitter

Companies like Maxtor provide you hardware which you attach to your comp and it then connect to the monitors. The upside is that you don't have to get fancy graphics card. The downside, not so much available in India.

Steps :
  • Buy the hardware
  • Install drivers and follow the instructions.

2.2 Using a Graphics card.

Nvidia Graphics card with 2 DVI output ports

This is how I use it. I am a game buff, so I needed a good graphics card. Now, what most people don't tell you is that the graphics cards come with 2 DVI ports ! Woot ! So, you can connect the monitors to each of the graphics output. The advantage - crystal clear graphics at high frame rates !

Steps :
  • Install the graphics card ( in my case the NVIDIA 8800GT )
  • Connect both the monitors and start up the system. At this stage only one monitor will actually display the output.
  • Install the Nvidia software (you should download the latest from the net, as the ones available in the CDs are quite oudated).
  • Go to the nvidia control center and enable dual screen.
  • Viola ! You are done !
Linux steps :
  • These steps are a bit unintuitive. So, you need to do a bit of mumbo jumbo ( if you dont like command line) or just a bit of command typing (if you are comfortable with command line).
  • First boot into linux if you are on dual boot. The default drivers on linux suck, so you need to download the ones provided by nvidia.
  • run the command 'sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings' from a terminal. Let it install.
  • Run the command 'sudo nvidia-settings' and save your configuration.
And thats it ! you are done.

Twin Monitor Setup
My current setup running linux.

You may want to refer to some of my earlier posts and other links :


  1. I am already connected my laptop with my pc for sual screen but there is a problem related to connection so please help.

  2. About 4 months ago I got a set of matching AOC 21.5" 1080P monitors and hooked them up to a ATI sapphire 4850x2 with 4 DVI ports. Once i got it setup I was disappointed when i realized that "A" I need a 3rd Monitor. Then "B" I need a Triple Head2Go or to switch to a 64 but version of windows XP so that I can span a game over all 3 displays