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How to use a laptop as a monitor

A multi-monitor setup can greatly enhance your productivity, allowing you to view multiple apps and browser windows at the same time. Not everybody has the money or space for two monitors, but there’s a clever workaround if you happen to have a spare Windows laptop.

If your Windows laptop has a USB-C connection (like a standard USB port, but shaped as an oval) then you’ll be able to use it as a second screen when linked up to your other laptop or desktop PC. It’s also possible to do this with a HDMI connection, but for this guide we’ll be focusing on the more modern USB-C.

However, the process requires a few extra steps than simply plugging in a USB-C cable. We’ve created this step-by-step guide to show you how to do it, and have even included pictures to make it as easy as possible to follow each step.

So if you’re keen to convert your old (or current) laptop into a handy secondary screen, follow the steps below.

What you’ll need

  • Windows 11 laptop with USB-C connection
  • A USB-C to USB-C cable

The Short Version

  1. Connect the USB-C to the first laptop/PC
  2. Connect the USB-C to the second laptop
  3. Press the Windows key on the main laptop/PC
  4. Type in Display
  5. Click on ‘Duplicate or extend to a connected display’
  6. Click on the ‘Duplicate these displays’ button
  7. Click Extend these displays
  8. Press Keep changes
  1. Step

    Connect the USB-C to the first laptop

    Plug in your USB-C cable into the USB-C port of your PC/laptop. It should look like an oval connection on the side of your computer.

    If your device doesn’t have a USB-C connector, it’s also possible to use HDMI or Bluetooth instead. It really just depends on what device you have.

    Connect a USB-C cable to your laptop to start

  2. Step

    Connect the USB-C to the second laptop

    Once you have connected the USB-C cable to the first laptop, connect the other end to the second laptop. Connect a USB-C cable to your laptop to start

  3. Step

    Press the Windows key on the main laptop/PC

    Click on the Windows key on the keyboard of the primary laptop/PC. It should look like a square block divided into quarters. It’s usually found to the left side of the keyboard’s spacebar. Click the Windows key to open the search bar

  4. Step

    Type in Display

    Type the word Display into the Windows search bar. Type Display into the box

  5. Step

    Click on ‘Duplicate or extend to a connected display’

    Out of all the options available, click on the button that says Duplicate or extend to a connected display. If this option does not appear for you, you can click on the general Display settings and find this option there. Choose the correct display option to continue

  6. Step

    Click on the ‘Duplicate these displays’ button

    Once you are in the Display settings you should see a large blue box that shows that your displays are connected. If your screen does not show that your display is connected, you may need to go back to Steps One and Two and ensure that your connection is working for your laptops.

    If they are, click on the button that says Duplicate these displays. Is it a grey box and is on the far right-hand side under the large blue box. Click the extend displays button

  7. Step

    Click Extend these displays

    Out of the options presented from the drop-down menu, click on the option that says Extend these displays. Click extend these displays

  8. Step

    Press Keep changes

    Once clicked your screen may go black for a second. Once it returns there will be a pop-up message. Click on the option that says Keep changes to keep the screens extended. Click keep changes


Can I connect my laptops without a USB-C to USB-C cable?

Yes. Some laptops may be able to connect via HDMI or Bluetooth. It will depend on which laptops you have available, and it is worth checking out each method to see which method works best for you.

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