PC Accessories

How To Change Primary Monitor

Multiple Monitors

On most computers, the primary monitor is assigned to the monitor connected first. The next monitor you connect to the computer is usually the secondary monitor. You can also have a tertiary monitor if your computer supports more than two monitors. Rather than switching through tabs on one monitor, most people use dual monitors to increase productivity.

Quick Answer

To change your primary monitor, right-click a space on your desktop background and select “Display” settings. Select the monitor you want to use as your primary monitor, then click the dropdown beside the “Multiple Displays” section to expand it. Check the “Make this my main display” checkbox.

In this article, we shall discuss how to set up a dual-screen display for your computer monitors and choose the right display style for your computer. We will also discuss how to identify the primary monitor and change a monitor from secondary to primary. 

How To Set Up Dual Monitors

Having more than one monitor is critical if you’re a multi-tasker or handling a complex task on your computer that requires more than one monitor to enhance productivity. However, while the process of setting up your dual-screen display is straightforward, there are things you need to do before you decide to buy an external monitor. 

The first step is to know if your computer supports dual monitors. To do that, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Settings on your Windows computer.
  2. Go to “System”.
  3. Select “Display” on the left sidebar.
  4. Scroll down and check if the “Multiple Displays” option is available. If it is available, your computer supports dual monitors.

After confirming that your computer supports dual monitors, the next thing is to check the hardware requirements

If your computer is old, you’ll probably need a VGA cord and an HDMI to VGA converter. However, if you’re using a modern computer, you’ll only need an HDMI cord. You will also need to buy an external monitor to serve as your secondary monitor.

After buying the necessary hardware, connect the monitor to your computer using the appropriate cord. To complete the set-up, you must choose a display style.

Choosing a Display Style

Once you’ve connected your second monitor, you must choose how and what you want to display on your computer. Open the projection menu by entering the Windows + P command on your keyboard. There are four available options.

  • PC Screen Only: This is the default option. Only the primary monitor will display everything you want to show in this mode. The secondary monitor is usually blank. 
  • Duplicate: In this mode, the primary and secondary monitors display the same thing. Essentially, the secondary monitor mirrors the primary monitor, which is expected if the secondary monitor has a larger screen. 
  • Extend: This mode allows you to extend your working area onto the second monitor. This is the most common mode as the content shown on the primary monitor usually differs from that of the second monitor. 
  • Second Screen Only: Here, the secondary monitor display all contents while the primary monitor is turned off.

How To Identify the Primary Monitor

The first display device connected to your computer is the primary monitor by default. On your laptop, the monitor connected to the body of your laptop is the primary monitor, while any external monitor serves as the secondary monitor. 

To identify the primary monitor, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Settings on your Windows computer.
  2. Go to “System”.
  3. Click “Display”.
  4. If you’re using Windows 11, click “Identify” to display a number on each screen. For Windows 7 and 10, the numbers are displayed for each screen already.

The screen that has the number 1 at the center is the primary monitor. The secondary monitor is number 2, while the tertiary monitor is number 3.

How To Change Your Primary Monitor

Although the computer usually assigns the primary monitor by default, you can change it manually. The steps to change your primary monitor depend on the type of computer you’re using. 

For Windows 7

  1. Right-click a space on your desktop background.
  2. Select “Screen Resolution”.
  3. Check under the section named “Change the appearance of your display”. The monitors are numbered accordingly, with the primary monitor labeled “1”.
  4. Click the monitor you want to assign as the primary monitor. 
  5. Locate the checkbox beside the “Use this device as primary monitor” option and check the box. 
  6. Click “Apply” to implement the change.
  7. Click “OK” to confirm the change.

For Windows 10 and 11

  1. Open Settings on your computer.
  2. Go to “System”.
  3. Click “Display”.
  4. Click the monitor you want to assign as the primary monitor. 
  5. Locate the checkbox beside the “Make this my main display” option and check the box. 

When the “Make this my main display” option becomes greyed out, you successfully changed the selected monitor to your primary monitor.

For Macbook

  1. Connect a second monitor to your computer.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Open “Display”.
  4. Go to the “Arrangement” tab. The monitors are displayed here. The display with the white bar on top is the primary monitor. 
  5. Click and drag the white bar. Then, drop it on the monitor you want to use as your primary monitor.

Conclusion

Setting up multiple displays on your computer and changing your primary monitor can be challenging tasks for those who don’t know how to do them. But with the explanation provided in this article, you can do them with your eyes closed.

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