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Second Monitor Not Detected in Windows 10: Troubleshooting Guide

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Updated June 27, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • Using a second monitor in Windows 10 is a great productivity booster.
  • Troubleshooting a second monitor not detected in Windows 10 should take no more than 10 minutes.
  • The ‘Change Display Settings’ menu option allows users to extend or duplicate displays to a second monitor.

Projecting the second monitor in Windows 10 is a great productivity booster that allows users to enjoy an additional workspace for the same or different applications. It is the perfect multi-tasker since the same application can be projected across two screens or duplicated across both screens.

Although, remember to have your monitor auto shut-off so you don’t have the issue of screen burn, or you’ll need to learn how to perform a monitor image retention fix.

Sometimes, Windows 10 may not be able to detect your second monitor due to a poor connection, monitor compatibility issues, defective cables, or outdated drivers that require Windows or graphic card updates.

Thankfully, fixing a second monitor not detected in Windows 10 is an easy process for even the most novice of computer users. It should take no more than 10 minutes to address the issue, with the majority of the work toggling through the ‘Change Display Settings’ menu option.

Keep reading to learn more about what to do when your second monitor or third monitor is not detected in Windows 10.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Total Steps: Three

Tools Needed: None

Second Monitor Not Detected In Windows 10: How to Fix

Here are steps you can take to fix a second monitor not detected in Windows 10.

Step 1: Check All Connections

Your second monitor should be connected to a power source. Ensure that all of your monitors are plugged in correctly and unplug and replug if necessary. Be sure no cables are damaged or chipped. If they are plugged in correctly, then auto-detection will find and display all of your available monitors under ‘Change Display Settings’, allowing users to extend displays, duplicate displays, or use one display versus the other.

Step 2: Change Your Control Panel Display Settings

If your second monitor continues to not display, press the Start button and access the Control Panel or right-click on your desktop and hit Display > ‘Change Display Settings.’

From here, navigate to the ‘Rearrange your Displays’ section and click ‘Detect’. Wait for a few seconds and see if your second monitor becomes recognized. If it is not recognized, then proceed to Step 3.

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Step 3: Check Windows Updates Compatibility and Graphics Card Drivers

If all of the above steps do not work, it could be due to a lack of Windows 10 and graphic card updates. Clicking on ‘Settings’ and ‘Check For Update’ will download all of the latest updates to your computer. Some of these updates could be related to bug fixes that could be affecting the connection between your display and computer.

Additionally, you will want to visit Nvidia’s official website to get the latest update to check for the latest GForce driver updates. If your monitor uses competitor AMD’s FreeSync, you will need to visit its website as well.

If all of the above steps fail, we recommend restarting your PC. Sometimes, restarting your PC will cause any processes that may be interfering with your computer and monitor. This can be done by clicking the ‘Start’ menu, navigating to the Power settings, and clicking on ‘Restart.’

Note, in most cases, fixing the second monitor not detected in Windows 10 should only fall up to Step 2.


The company found that two monitors increased productivity by 25 percent compared to single-monitor setups. Three monitors increase productivity by 35.5 percent. Of course, there are downsides to using three monitors. You need to have enough room on your desk and it can be a power drag.

Moreover, the more monitors you have the higher you risk eye strain and blue light glare. To prevent this, you’ll want to check into the leading anti-blue light screen protector for your monitor(s).


Fix: Second monitor not detected on Windows 10 [Easy Guide]

What To Do When Your Second Monitor Is Not Detected

How to Fix Second Monitor Not Detected in Windows 10 FAQ

How do I get Windows 10 to recognize my second monitor?

Getting Windows 10 to recognize your second monitor is a straightforward process of checking to ensure all monitor connections are firm and hitting Display > Change Display Settings, going to 'Rearrange your Displays' section, and clicking 'Detect'. Any connection issues are likely due to a lack of updates, malfunctioning cable, or issue with monitor compatibility.

Why is my external monitor not detected?

An external monitor may not be detected due to a lack of updates, malfunctioning cable, graphics card issues, or issue with monitor compatibility. It also helps to restart your computer, as processes that could affect the connection between your monitor and computer could be bogging it down. If graphic card-related, be sure to visit NVIDIA’s or AMD's official website for the latest driver updates.

Why won't my monitor recognize HDMI?

A failure of a monitor to recognize HDMI could be due to hardware issues or a malfunctioning HDMI port, cable, or computer. Our recommendation is to try your HDMI cable with another monitor before determining its effectiveness.