Other than its many utilities, a second monitor could be beneficial for work. However, despite the second monitor being connected to the system in some situations, Windows is unable to detect it and sends a message like – Windows 10 cannot detect the second monitor or Didn’t detect another display. While the reasons could be many, we could narrow it down to a few. If it’s with the software, it could probably be traced to the drivers.
Windows 10 cannot detect the second monitor
Before you begin, make sure that your Windows 10 has all the latest Windows Updates installed, your second monitor hardware is working, and that you have set up the dual monitors properly. It is one of the common problems with all external monitors and happens even when you set up a third monitor.
- Restart your Windows 10 PC
- Force Windows 10 to Detect the Second PC Monitor
- Check Your Display Adapter
- Update, Reinstall, Or Roll Back The Graphics Driver
- Hardware troubleshooting
- Connect a Wireless Display
You will need a clear understanding of the technical parts of Windows and an administrator account.
1] Restart your Windows 10 PC
Restarting a Windows 10 PC can solve so many problems that most of us will spend hours troubleshooting it. While it’s know and common, if you haven’t, restart your computer. Also, make sure you don’t have basic issues such as unplugged wire, disconnected display wires, and so on.
2] Force Windows 10 to Detect the Second PC Monitor
If your operating system cannot detect the other monitor, right-click on Start, Select Run, and type desk.cpl in the Run box and hit Enter to open the Display Settings. Usually, the second monitor should be detected automatically, but if not, you can try detecting it manually.
- Click on the Start button and then on the gear like a symbol to open the Settings app.
- Go to System, and in the Display tab, under the Multiple Displays column, click on “Detect.” This button helps the OS detect other monitors or displays, especially if they are older models. You can also connect to a wireless display here.
Also, make sure that the bar directly below is set to Extend these displays. If it is anything else like Show only on 1 or Show only on 2 then that is your problem. These options will disable one of the external displays.
3] Check Your Display Adapter
You can manually install or update the drivers used by Display Adapter. However, to do that, you will need to check the OEM.
Open Device manager using WIn + X, followed by press the M key. Locate the Display adapters listing, and expand it. Depending on the number of GPUs onboard, you may see one or two such adapters.
To identify the OEM, look at the name. It would usually be Intel or NVIDIA. If you need to update the existing device driver, you need to right-click on it and click on properties to open the Display Adapter properties. Then switch to the Driver tab. Check the version of the driver. The next step is to visit the OEM website and download the driver updates. You can then manually choose to update the graphics card driver.
Related: Fix Generic PnP Monitor driver issue on Windows 11/10.
4] Update, Reinstall, Or Roll Back The Graphics Driver
More often than not, the inability of Windows to find the second monitor has to do with the video card. It can’t detect the second display because the video card or graphics card does not have the correct drivers of the latest drivers installed. So you need to update the display drivers for—Display adapters and Monitors. You may need to update or reinstall your NVIDIA driver. Check out our detailed guide on how to update the device drivers.
If updating the drivers doesn’t work, you can re-install them:
- Go to Windows key + X key and then choose Device Manager.
- Find the concerned driver in the Device Manager Window. If you see a yellow exclamation mark against it, right-click on it and select Roll back to rollback the driver to its previous version.
- If that option is not available, right-click on it and select Uninstall. Restart the system.
- Open Devices Manager again and select Scan for hardware changes to install the driver.
Lastly, if the issue occurred after installing a new driver, you can choose to roll back the driver—Right-click on the Display Adapters in Device Manager and select properties. Then switch to the Driver tab, and click on the Roll Back Driver button.
Windows will uninstall the current driver, and use the old driver which is kept as a backup for a couple of days.
5] Hardware troubleshooting
- Try changing the HDMI cable connecting the second monitor. If it works, we know the previous cable was faulty.
- Try using the second monitor with a different system. It would help isolate whether the issue is with the monitor or the primary system.
- Run the Hardware & Devices Troubleshooter and see.
6] Connect a Wireless Display
Wireless Display is a great option to extend your display and can be used as a temporary solution if the monitor is not working. Meanwhile, you can connect to another PC, and check if the display works on that PC.
Most of the time, Windows easily detects external displays or monitors without a problem. However, at times the settings in Windows or the drivers can ruin the experience. I hope the post was easy to follow, and you were able to detect the second monitor finally. Let us know if you have any other ideas.