Second monitor not detected on Windows 10

This awesome tool automatically identifies each device on your computer and matches it with the latest driver versions from an extensive online database.

First, you need to download and install DriverFix. After installing, the software will start running automatically and identifying any driver problems on your system.

After a few seconds, you will get the full report and a list with potential drivers to install. The only clicking required is on the Update all button that you will see on top of the list.

You can also update individual drivers by checking their corresponding boxes on the left and pressing their update buttons from the right.


This excellent light tool will update your drivers automatically, with minimum effort and time.

2. Rollback to an older driver

  1. Go to Device Manager and find your display driver.
  2. Right-click it and choose Rollback driver.
    Windows 10 can't detect second screen
  3. Follow the instructions.

After you rollback the driver, you need to prevent Windows from updating it. To do that, follow the easy steps in this guide.

3. Uninstall your driver and use the default one

  1. Open Device Manager and find your display driver.
  2. Right-click your display driver and choose Uninstall.
    Windows 10 can't find my second screen
  3. Check Delete the driver software for this device and click Uninstall.
    Second monitor not recognized Windows 10
  4. After the uninstall process is complete restart your computer and you’ll have your default driver installed.

4. Use specialized software for multimonitor setup

DisplayFusion is a great tool for Windows that is specialized in setting up your multi-monitor setup. It’s easy to use although it comes with complex features that will transform the multiple monitor management process into a breeze.

DisplayFusion can also be controlled with hotkeys and the experience is customizable by using Power User Menu, TitleBar Buttons, to your own liking.

This awesome tool also offers an impressive library of wallpapers and screen savers to choose from and multi-monitor taskbars to help you keep your windows organized.

You don’t need to commit to it from the start. You can still test it under a free trial period.

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Windows can’t automatically find and download new drivers? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

5. Temporarily disable your graphics adapter

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open the Win + X menu and choose Device Manager from the list.
    Second monitor flickering Windows 10
  2. Locate your graphics adapter, right-click it, and choose Disable device from the menu.
    Windows 10 second monitor goes to sleep
  3. A confirmation message will now appear. Click on Yes to continue.
    Windows 10 second monitor keeps turning off
  4. Right click your display adapter again and choose Enable device from the menu.

After doing that, Windows should detect your second monitor without any problems.

Keep in mind that this might not be a permanent solution, so if the issue reappears, you’ll need to perform these steps again.

If your laptop doesn’t recognize a second monitor, check out this useful guide to fix the issue easily.

6. Change your monitor frequency

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by using Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. When the Settings app opens, navigate to the System section.
    Windows 10 can't detect second display
  3. Scroll down to the Multiple displays section and click on Display adapter properties.
    Windows 10 can't detect VGA monitor
  4. Navigate to the Monitor tab. Set Screen refresh rate to 60 Hertz and click on Apply and OK to save the changes.
  5. If your monitor is already set to 60 Hertz, select a different value, and then return it back to 60 Hertz (Keep in mind that not all frequencies are compatible with your monitor, so if you want to avoid causing damage to your display, use the frequencies recommended by the manufacturer).
    Windows 10 second monitor not working

After doing that, you should be able to use your second monitor.

If you’re using driver software such as Nvidia Control Panel or Catalyst Control Center, be sure to change your monitor frequency using these tools as well.

Can’t open Nvidia Control Panel on Windows 10? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.

7. Temporarily switch only to the first monitor

  1. Navigate to the Settings app and go to System section.
  2. In the display settings select Show only on 1 option (By doing that the picture will be displayed only on your main monitor)
  3. Save the changes.
  4. Change your monitor settings to Extended and save the changes once again.

This is a small glitch that can occur, but you should be able to solve it by using this workaround.

According to users, this glitch appears frequently while starting your PC, so you’ll have to repeat this workaround whenever the issue occurs.

8. Install Windows updates

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Update & security.
    Windows 10 can't find my second screen
  2. Now click on Check for updates button.
    Second monitor not recognized Windows 10

Windows will now check for available updates. If updates are available, Windows will download them automatically in the background and install them once you restart your PC.

Windows 10 is a solid operating system, but sometimes you might find a certain bug.

Microsoft is working hard to fix all Windows 10 bugs, and the simplest way to keep your PC bug free is to install Windows updates.

Several users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, but they solved the issue by installing the latest updates for Windows.

By default, Windows 10 automatically downloads the updates in the background, but sometimes you might skip an important update.

After installing the necessary updates, the issue should be resolved completely.

Having trouble updating your Windows 10? Check out this guide that will help you solve them in no time.

9. Connect your monitors while the PC is running

Many users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor.

According to users that use dual monitor setup, both monitors work but the second one is always mirroring the first monitor.

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To fix the issue, you might want to try connecting your monitors to your PC while it’s running. If you can, try to switch the cables while your PC is running.

For example, if you’re using DVI cable for first monitor and HDMI cable for the second, try using the HDMI cable for the first and DVI cable for the second monitor.

By connecting both monitors while your PC is running, you’ll force the PC to recognize both of them.

10. Use Windows Key + P shortcut

Sometimes this problem can occur simply because you didn’t use the correct Project mode.

To fix this issue, you just need to press Windows Key + P shortcut and select the desired Project mode from the menu.

According to users, their Project mode was set to the Second screen only, and that caused the problem to appear.

After selecting Extend or Duplicate option, the issue was completely resolved and both monitors started working.

11. Uninstall IDE ATA/ATAPI driver

Several users reported that Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor on their laptops.

According to the users, this issue was caused by IDE ATA/ATAPI driver and in order to fix it, you need to remove the problematic driver.

We already showed you how to uninstall a driver in Solution 3, so be sure to check it for detailed instructions.

After removing the problematic driver, restart your PC and your problem should be resolved.

This issue appeared on HP Envy laptop but it can also appear on other laptops as well.

12. Adjust your resolution

  1. Right-click your desktop and choose Display settings.
    Second monitor flickering Windows 10
  2. Locate the Resolution section and lower your resolution. Keep lowering your resolution until the external display starts working.
    Windows 10 second monitor goes black

Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust your resolution in order to fix your problem.

If your external display is using lower resolution than your PC, you might have to lower your resolution before you can use the second display.

If this solution works for you, you’ll have to readjust your resolution every time you want to use an external display.

Can’t adjust the display resolution on Windows 10? Take a look at this in-depth article that will help you do just that

13. Close your laptop lid / use Sleep Mode

According to users, you can fix the problem with a second display simply by closing your laptop lid.

Simply by closing the laptop lid, your second display will become the main one and the issue will be resolved.

After you open your laptop lid, both displays will work without any problems. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, so you’ll have to repeat it every time you want to use a second display.

If you have this problem on a desktop PC, you might be able to fix it by using a Sleep Mode. Using this feature your PC will turn off, but all your open applications will remain active.

Once your PC boots from the Sleep Mode, both monitors should start working. It’s worth mentioning that this is just a workaround, so you’ll have to repeat it if the issue reappears.

If you have any Sleep Mode issues, solve them quickly with this amazing guide.

14. Check if Extended desktop is enabled in AMD Control Center

Many AMD owners reported this problem on their PC. If Windows 10 can’t detect the second monitor, the cause might be AMD Control Center.

This software allows you to control various settings, but sometimes the Extended desktop feature might be disabled in Control Center.

To fix this problem, open AMD Control Center and navigate to Displays Manager section.

From there make sure that the Extended desktop feature is enabled.

After enabling this feature, the problem should be resolved and both your displays should start working.

Keep in mind that this problem can also appear if you’re using Nvidia graphics card.

If so, you’ll need to open Nvidia Control Panel and check if multiple displays are configured properly.

15. Update DisplayLink to the latest version

If you’re using DisplayLink to connect two monitors to your PC, you might experience this problem. To fix the issue, be sure that DisplayLink is updated to the latest version.

After updating DisplayLink, the problem should be completely resolved.

16. Enable Scale to the full panel size option

  1. Open Catalyst Control Center.
  2. Navigate to My Digital Flat Panels and select Properties in the menu on the left.
  3. Select your monitor and locate the Image scaling preferences section.
  4. Select Maintain aspect ratio and click on Apply to save changes.
  5. The problem should be resolved. Now you can use switch to Scale image to full panel size option if you want.

Users reported that using the Maintain aspect ratio option fixed the problem, so be sure to try it. After enabling this option, you’ll be able to switch to any other mode without issues and both monitors will keep working.

Catalyst Control Center won’t open in Windows 10? Take a look at this guide to fix the issue

17. Disable the Monitor Deep Sleep feature

Sometimes problems with the second monitor can appear due to your monitor settings. Certain monitors have a Deep Sleep feature, and if this feature is enabled you might experience problems with monitor detection.

To fix this issue, simply open the monitor settings by pressing the appropriate key on your monitor and disable the Monitor Deep Sleep feature.

After doing that, the second monitor should start working. Keep in mind that not all monitors support this feature, so to see if your monitor supports Deep Sleep and how to disable it, we advise you to check your monitor’s instruction manual.

If the problem persists, most likely your second monitor is faulty. Have it checked or buy a new one.

We hope that our complete guide helped you detect and set up your second monitor. For any suggestions, leave us a comment in the dedicated section below.

FAQ: Want to learn more about DisplayLink?

  • What is a DisplayLink adapter?

DisplayLink is a technology that enables the USB Graphics Adapter to support monitors with resolutions up to 1680 x 1050 (widescreen) or 1600 x 1200 (traditional). Fix any DisplayLink issues with our step-by-step guide.

  • What to do if second monitor not detected?

First, update your graphics card driver or rollback the old driver. If that doesn’t work, use our expert guide to fix this problem.

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  • Does DisplayLink use GPU?

DisplayLink is targeted primarily to productivity and video applications, but if you’re a hardcore gamer, look elsewhere, because DisplayLink prefers the integrated Intel GPU to do its computing functions if available.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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