Power users often go for a dual display setup. Unfortunately, the process of running an external display in Windows 10 is not always smooth. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work, and this can be traced to a range of problems, including hardware, driver, and software issues.

In my case, the problem was caused by the operating system after an update. This post is an overview of my troubleshooting experience. I will explain how I resolved the issue and got my external display to work again.

For purposes of the article, I used an entry-level laptop. The specific model is HP Notebook 15. It has an Intel Core i5-5200U CPU running at 2.2 GHz; integrated HD Graphics 5500; AMD Radeon R5 M330 GPU; 4GB of RAM; and a 15.6-inch display. The installed OS is Windows 10 Build 19041. The secondary display is a legacy Full HD monitor from Asus – model number VK246; it comes with VGA and HDMI inputs.

Problem Secondary Display not detected

If you’re a die-hard user of the Windows operating system, you may be familiar with its constantly thorny updates. By default, Windows updates are designed to add security fixes and improvements to your laptop’s operating system. However, they are also ill-famed for their bugs. The problem in question appeared after installing an update.

Before the update, everything worked fine. All I needed was an HDMI cable or an HDMI-to-VGA adapter to connect the external display. It connected automatically and set the correct resolution without any hitches. Although the secondary display of choice was quite old, it did the job pretty well

After the update, the laptop could not detect the external display.

Can't detect another display

I initially tried reinstalling display drivers, but that didn’t help. I even attempted to connect a different display. That did not work either. For a moment, I backed off and assumed it was a hardware problem.

Solution: Adjust Windows 10 Graphics Settings

Today, I decided to carry on with the troubleshooting, and oddly enough, I found the source of the hitch. It seems that the problem originated from the graphics settings. Here is a detailed guide of how I managed to get back to a dual display setup.

Go to Windows Settings

Settings guide

Choose System Settings

system Settings

Make sure the ‘Display’ category is selected on the left panel, then head over to the graphics settings

Graphics Settings

You should now see the ‘graphics performance preference’ setting. Proceed by selecting Movies & TV and click/tap the ‘options’ button.

Windows 10 Graphics Performance settings

A dialogue box will appear, asking you to pick your graphics preference. Mine was set to the “power saving” option. I changed it to the “let Windows decide” option and saved the changes.

Windows 10 Graphics Preference

Now disconnect and reconnect your monitor cable.

This simple trick worked for me. My external display reconnected immediately.

If yours fails to reconnect, another thing might be the cause. You could try rolling back to earlier drivers or update them to the latest versions. Also, be sure to check your hardware and cables.

Feel free to share your thoughts and solutions in the comments section. Good Luck!

Author: Victor Wachanga

Writer, 3D artist, and thinker. Tech is fascinating. Tech is scary

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