How to Connect an External LCD Monitor to a Netbook

While netbooks are excellent for portability, their small displays can be difficult on your eyes for expanded use. The screens give a minimal resolution that offers very small space for programs. Luckily most small laptops generally include a VGA or HDMI port for connecting to an external LCD monitor. Connecting a full-size monitor to your netbook allows you to choose screen resolutions and refresh rates that cause less eye strain. In addition, with dual monitors you can better multi-task by keeping more windows visible.
Most mini laptops come with a native resolution of 1024600 pixels as the maximum resolution for the screen on the netbook. However, an external LCD monitor doesn’t have to match the resolution or aspect ratio of small laptop. Buy whatever monitor you want and set it up without mirroring if you’re going to have an external monitor, you might as well use all of those extra pixels.
The old VGA port on most netbooks might look paltry compared to today’s HDMI and DVI outputs, but don’t be deceived. Majority of mini laptops can support the following resolutions on an external display: 800600, 1024768, 1280800, 12801024, 16801050, 19201080 at 32-bit color. Other resolutions may also be supported. In order to obtain these resolutions, the external display must also support them.

How To Connect An External LCD Monitor To a Netbook (Windows 7)

Depending on your netbook model and external LCD monitor you may only be able to use a VGA connection or an HDMI connection. Either connection can be used, however it is important to only use a VGA to VGA cable or an HDMI to HDMI cable. 3rd party adapters and converters are often not reliable and you should consult your small laptop manual for details. To connect an external LCD monitor to a mini laptop, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the VGA or HDMI cable from the netbook to the external LCD Monitor.
  2. Simply press the Windows key and P (Windows + P) to bring up a quick menu of options.
  3. You can pick to show only the computer, make the second monitor a duplicate of the first, extend the desktop to the second monitor or turn off the first monitor and activate the second.
  4. The screen may flash several times while the displays are configured. After the screens stop flashing, the external display is connected properly.
  5. You may need to adjust the resolution of the external display. Right click your Desktop, and then left click Screen resolution.
  6. Now you’ll see the familiar 1 and 2 to distinguish which monitor is which. Select the resolution that you are comfortable with.

Depending on how many screens you are using, and whether you are using Duplicate or Extend mode, you will have to adjust the resolution differently.
If you are using a single display, you only have to adjust the resolution of one screen. Click the Resolution drop down menu, and then move the slider towards the top to decrease the resolution, or towards the bottom to increase the resolution.
If you are using two displays in Duplicate mode, both screens must have the same resolution. Click the Resolution drop down menu, and then move the slider towards the top to decrease the resolution, or towards the bottom to increase the resolution. Since both screens must be the same resolution, you are limited to only resolutions which both monitors share. (For example: If the netbook’s screen can support 640480, 800600, and 1024600 and the external display can support 800600, 1024600, and 1024768, then you can only select 800600 or 1024600).
If you are using two displays in Extend mode, you can adjust each screen’s resolution separately. To adjust the first screen’s resolution, click the 1 at the top of the screen and then adjust the resolution. To adjust the second screen’s resolution, click the 2 at the top of the screen and then adjust the resolution.

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