A second monitor always improves your productivity and enhances your gaming experience. However, if your computer fails to detect your external monitor, try the basic troubleshooting in this post and see if it works. Here are several methods to try:

  1. Check for Windows Update
  2. Check for connection issues
  3. Roll back your graphics driver
  4. Update your graphics driver
  5. Check the monitor’s settings

Before we start troubleshooting, please restart your computer and your external monitor first. If the problem still exists, proceed with the steps below.

1. Check for Windows Update

When your second monitor is not detected by Windows, you have to make sure that your device is up-to-date. You can use Windows Update to install any available updates or patches.

To do so:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and I together to open Windows Settings. Select Update & Security.
  2. Click the Check for updates button.
  3. Install the updates if available, and then restart your computer for changes to take effect.

Check if the issue persists. If so, move on to the next fix.

2. Check for connection or hardware issues

Another possibility is that there are loose or faulty connections, or hardware conflicts preventing your external monitor to be detected. They could be faulty cables, wrong video output ports, or hardware conflicts. So follow the steps below to sort them out.

  1. Try changing the cable connecting the external monitor. If the new one works, you know the previous cable was faulty.
  2. If your system has more than one video output port, try plugging your external monitor into one of the other video output ports. Typical ports are HDMI, VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.
  3. Try using the external monitor with a different computer system. This can help to isolate whether the issue is with the monitor or the primary system.
  4. Disconnect all accessories from your PC such as connected docks, dongles, adapters, and other hardware. This can help to find out any possible hardware conflicts.

If there is no connection or hardware issue, see the next tip for further troubleshooting.

3. Roll back your graphics driver

In some cases, the newly-installed graphics card drivers don’t work well with your computer. If you have installed a new video driver recently, try rolling it back to the previous one.

Here’s what we can do:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and X together and select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Display adapters, and then double-click your display device to open the Properties page.
  3. Click the Driver tab and the Roll Back Driver button.
  4. Click OK and follow the on-screen instructions to complete.
  5. Once complete, restart your computer.

If you didn’t update your driver recently, read on and try the next solution.

4. Update your graphics driver

If your graphics driver is out-of-date, your computer will be unable to detect your external monitor. And if rolling back the driver doesn’t work for you, then you should check for graphics card driver updates since an up-to-date graphics driver always ensures the best gaming performance and fewer bugs.

To update your display card driver, here’s what you can do (please note that the following screenshots are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well):

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Display adapters. Then right-click your graphic card driver and click Update driver (the name of the device can be different on your computer).
  3. Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
  5. When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
  6. Then check and see if the problem is fixed.

If Windows says that it’s already found the latest driver for you, so no newer drivers are found, then you should consider updating your graphics driver in a different way with the help of Driver Techie.

Its ever-growing driver database allows you to always have access to the latest device drivers that you need. More importantly, Driver Techie simplifies the driver update process, so all it takes is just 3 clicks (for Pro users), and all your drivers are updated.

To use Driver Techie to find you the latest drivers:

  1. Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
  2. Click Scan Now.
  3. After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All. Then all your drivers will be updated automatically without you having to do anything else.

Please note that Update All is available for Pro subscribers only, otherwise, you can only manually update the driver one at a time. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.

If you’re a Pro user of Driver Techie, and need our technical support to help with the “second monitor not detecting” problem, please feel free to contact <support@drivertechie.com>.

Either way, you can perform a reinstallation for your graphics driver to see if it helps. To do so, simply navigate to your display device in Device Manager again, right-click it and select Uninstall device, and then tick Delete the driver software for this device if prompted. Once uninstalled, you’ll be asked to restart your computer and Windows will automatically reinstall a new display card driver for you.

5. Check the monitor settings

If your second monitor has been working fine some days ago and it just runs into trouble suddenly, you can try a Windows key sequence to restart the monitor connection. If it still can’t be detected, follow the steps below to check if the settings are correct.

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and P together, and check if the Extend option is selected.
  2. If it’s selected, press the Windows logo key and I together, then select System to check the refresh rate settings.
  3. In the Display menu, click Advanced display settings.
  4. Click Display adapter properties for Display 1, then click Display adapter properties for Display 2.
  5. Click the Monitor tab on both of the Properties pages, and check that the refresh rates of the two displays are set to the same.

Hopefully, your second monitor will come back to work. And if it won’t, it’s probably the monitor itself that goes wrong. It’s recommended to seek help from the monitor’s manufacturer. If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to leave a comment down below.