Four Ways of Using an Attached Monitor with Your Windows 8 Tablet - dummies

Four Ways of Using an Attached Monitor with Your Windows 8 Tablet

By Andy Rathbone

After you connect your Windows 8 tablet to your external monitor, you need to tell the tablet how to send its image. Windows 8 offers you four options, and you can see them by following these steps:

  1. Swipe your finger inward from any screen’s right edge to fetch the Charms bar; then tap the Devices icon.

  2. Tap the Second Screen icon and choose how your tablet should send its signal.

    It offers the following four choices.

    • PC Screen Only: This option recognizes the second monitor, but keeps it blank, displaying only your tablet’s screen. It’s an asset mostly when connecting to a projector at a meeting or conference. You can get everything set up on your tablet without everybody having to watch on the projector. Then, when you’re ready to wow the crowd, switch to one of the other modes, described next.

    • Duplicate: This is perhaps the easiest way to use two monitors. It simply duplicates your tablet’s screen onto the second monitor or projector. It’s great for presentations, and it lets you control what you see on either screen with whatever seems natural at the time. When your fingers touch the tablet, you’ll see the effect on both screens.

    • Extend: This extends your tablet’s screen across your second monitor, giving you an extra- wide desktop. Or you can keep the Start screen on your tablet and run the desktop on the second screen, which is probably larger. (The Extend mode adds several complications.)

    • Second Screen Only: This blanks the tablet and displays its screen only on your second monitor. It’s a simple way to connect a larger monitor, but you lose the benefits of your touchscreen tablet. Unless you’re trying to mimic a desktop computer, use the Duplicate feature, instead.


After you tap your choice, your tablet usually makes the screen blank as it looks for and connects to the second screen. A second or two later, your tablet’s screen appears on the second screen.

Working on two different monitors simultaneously can be confusing at first. The following tips will help you adjust to this strange new configuration:

  • Your tablet’s sound piggybacks along with its video through both an HDMI and a miniDisplayPort cable. However, the sound will play through the speakers built into your monitor or TV set. If you want better sound, route your tablet’s sound separately through a stereo or external speakers.

  • When setting up the second monitor for the first time, choose Duplicate. Doing so makes it a lot easier to see if your monitor is recognizing your tablet.

  • When you choose Extend, Windows makes the screen extend off your tablet’s right edge and onto the second monitor. To change that, visit the Desktop app’s Control Panel. In the Appearance and Personalization category’s Adjust Screen Resolution section, you can tell Windows which way to extend the desktop: left, right, up, or down.

  • The Adjust Screen Resolution section’s Detect and Identify buttons help you figure out which monitor is which, and then position the two screens to meet your needs.

  • Head for the Desktop Control Panel’s Mouse settings, and toggle on Display Pointer Trails. The mouse pointer displays long trails as it moves, allowing you to spot it more easily as it moves from one screen to another.

  • The hot corners on Windows 8’s desktop work on both monitors. Point and click in either monitor’s lower-left corner to fetch the Start menu, for example.