How to add and use a second monitor with Windows 8

Windows 8 includes some fun and innovative improvements when working with hardware. One of the new improvements in the OS is better support for multiple monitors. Windows 8 makes it easy to add a second monitor using familiar commands available in Windows 7 today. Lets take a look at how to add and configure a second monitor to a Windows 8 PC.


First thing, Connect the monitor to your VGA port on the PC or if you have a discrete video card with support for DVI or your computer supports HDMI, you can connect it to that.


Press Windows Key + P on your keyboard. This will bring up a Metro menu with a list of options.


In my case, I need some additional screen real estate, so I would go with Extend. Extend will place a copy of the Windows desktop on the second monitor with its own options separate from the main monitor. See below.


second monitor on the right.


The above shows a physical idea of what it looks like.


One of the great things I have noticed about multi monitor support is, you can have both the Windows Desktop app one screen and Start Screen on second monitor.

Configuring Settings.

If you have unique requirements, you can adjust these using Screen Resolution Control Panel.


Click Screen resolution.


This will open the Screen Resolution Panel, here you can make detailed adjustments for each monitor, for example, the default screen resolution for monitor 2 is 1366 x 768, I can specifically adjust this just for that monitor without affecting the main monitor.


You also have the option of adjusting the orientation of the monitor if supported, so if you read a lot of web pages, you can change from land scape to portrait.


Fun Options

One of the other great things about muli-mon support in Windows 8 is the ability customize the user experience. For instance, you can have a different wallpaper just on one monitor. Lets take a look at how to do that.


Right click the desktop and click Personalize.


Click Desktop Background.


Ok, so there is nothing different about the interface, well, here is where the fun part comes in.


You will notice you now have the option of selecting the monitor where you would like add the background. In this case, I am adding it to my second monitor. Lets see the results.


Multi-mon support different wallpapers

Changing Taskbar options

One of the things you will notice by default, Windows 8 displays the Taskbar on the main display and second display, you can change these options if you wish.


Right click the Taskbar, click Properties


You will notice some new options on the Taskbar properties, Multiple Displays. Here, you can choose to have  the option of displaying the Taskbar buttons, only on the main monitor or you keep the default and have it on both. I personally recommend you keep it on both for convenience, since this will allow you to quickly access applications or the Start Screen.


If you do want to change it, just click in the Show taskbar buttons on: list box and select Main taskbar and taskbar where window is open. See below:


You can also customize how icons are displayed on the second monitor.


Click Apply and OK and there you have it. You will notice this does not remove the Taskbar.


Multi-Monitor support in Windows 8 also supports the new Snap Feature. So you can snap your favorite Windows 8 Apps while interacting with other apps. Windows 8 definitely makes being a power user a lot more fun and easy. Task like these use to be complex and required third party support in some cases. If you have not tried it, definitely check it out.


Filed under 8 Journal, Windows 8

10 responses to “How to add and use a second monitor with Windows 8

  1. Pingback: 20 Plus Tips to Get Started with Windows 8 | Teching It Easy: with Windows

  2. José R.

    Great information. How do I Extend my second monitor to the Left, instead of the right?

  3. Mikayla

    How do I delete it?

  4. jo storie

    Followed your instructions to the letter, but, I installed 2 vga monitors to a splitter and the splitter to the vga port on the computer. Followed your instructions and chose “extend”. At this point I don’t see what you do. My new monitor is cloning the main one. I cannot pull an open program over to one of the monitors and have another program open on the main one. I know the program to be dragged across to the new monitor needs not to be maximized so that’s not the problem. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. glsmith72

    Thank you for your detailed information!!


    I have two monitors but they are just duplicate of the other how can I make the separate monitor separate to use both screens?

  7. Very well explained. 👍

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