How to fix These 2nd Monitor Problems

Using two monitors allows you to multitask like a PRO. Whether you’re used  to working with multiple open tabs and programs at a time, or you’re playing online and need extended real estate for better experience, no one can argue that having a second monitor is awesome. 

But if you can’t enjoy your second monitor due to black screens, or the inability to move seamlessly from one monitor to the next, then it totally defeats the purpose. 

Check these 7 most common 2nd monitor problems and if you’re lucky, be able to fix this problem yourself. 

  • No Signal 

This is probably the easiest issue to fix. If your monitor doesn’t display any content, you can try any of these solutions:

  • Turn the display on/off – Sometimes it may take a while for your computer to recognize the devices. Turn your monitor off, then turn it on again. If it displays properly, then it did the trick.
  • Force Windows to detect the second monitor. To do this, right-click the desktop to go to “Display Settings.” Look for the “detect” button located near the display diagram. Doing this forces Windows to recognize your second display and connect it to your system. 
  • Check cables – The display’s cable may be loosely connected. Unplug and re-plug the cables to be sure. If you find out your cable is broken, wet, or crusty (probably due to old age), it is best to replace your data cables with newer ones like HDMI or DisplayPort.  
  • Update drivers – Outdated graphics drivers and OS may not support dual or multiple monitors automatically. Fix this by updating your drivers. 
  • Resolution issues 

If your new monitor has a different resolution from your old monitor, your computer might have automatically used the resolution settings from your old display. To correct this, go to Display settings and find the appropriate resolution settings. If you’re using Windows 10, just follow the “recommended” resolution. 

  • Wrong refresh rates

When any of your monitors is set with an incorrect refresh rate, it would either open with a black screen or give you a “no signal” error. Your computer cannot handle the output levels of the current refresh rates, so you have to adjust the settings. 

To do this, go to Control Panel>Display Settings>Multiple Displays>Advanced Display Settings>Choose Display, then pick the monitor with issues. 

Under Display Information, go to “Display Adapter Properties for Display #”, followed by the Monitor Tab>Monitor Settings, and “select another refresh rate.”

  • Gaming issues (minimize problem)  

This is one of the most common complaints of gamers using a second monitor. If you’re suffering from a second screen that keeps minimizing your game, you have several ways to fix this: 

  • If you’re playing games without a mouse pointer, find a third-party app that helps you lock a mouse pointer to one of your monitors. Just make sure you unlock the mouse after your game or this could cause problems when you’re working or doing other stuff. 
  • It could also be an issue with the game. Look for game settings and see if you can find either “full screen” or “borderless window” modes. 

If you’re seeing distortions and imperfections on the display when you’re playing a game, it could be an issue with your monitor ports (clean them and check for damages), or display cables (try buying new cables or shortening them).

  • Suddenly stopped working

If you were able to connect, set-up and use the second monitor for a while now and it suddenly stopped working, it may be due to the following reasons:

    • Windows forgot. Yes, sometimes Windows may lose track of the devices you have on your system and suddenly forgets you have a second monitor. “Remind” Windows by either restarting your computer, or pressing the Windows Logo + Ctrl + Shift + B keys, holding these keys down for a second or until the display “wakes back up.” 
    • Newly updated drivers. If you just updated the display driver before it stopped working, this new update could be causing the issue. To fix this, go to Device Manager>Display Adapters>select your display adapter to see more>Properties>Driver tab, and click “Roll Back Driver.”
  • Loose cables. It may also be as simple as loose cables. Double-check all your cables if they’re still properly connected. 

For third or fourth monitors: If your second monitor works, but a third one is not working properly, unplug all monitors then plug each monitor back one at a time. Check if the graphics drivers are updated, and if not, update them and restart your computer. And lastly, if you’re using WIndows 10, check the settings and ensure you enable “Extend these displays.” 

Were you able to find and fix the issue of your dual monitor from the list above? If you’re still having problems with your second monitor, your last best bet is to restart your computer. It closes programs and processes that may have been interfering with the second monitor, and lets you begin with a clean slate. 

Maria Colombo
Maria Colombo
Articles: 1200