Laptop Won’t Detect Monitor? Here’s How To Fix It

Are you trying to join an external monitor on your Laptop? Is the Monitor not detecting?

Under normal circumstances, the Laptop should automatically detect the external Monitor. The problem can be hardware or software if the Monitor is not detected. 

From Issues with drivers, windows, etc., to physical problems with ports and cables, the range of causes is huge.

As the causes are many, there is no exact way to fix the issue. The only way to do this is by a trial-and-error approach. Check out each alternative and move on to the next until the problem is resolved.

What Causes the External Monitors Not to Detect?

The detection issue on laptops is caused mainly by the following reasons.

  • Issues with Windows Display settings
  • Lack of an Updated Windows
  • Problem with Drivers
  • The Graphics card doesn’t support the intended number of External Monitors.
  • Problems with Input, Power Cables
  • Issues with Ports
  • Issues with input display Splitters (if used)
  • Faulty Monitor

How to Fix if Laptop Won’t Detect Monitor?

The alternatives stated below are applicable for any number of monitors. The alternatives stated below are applicable for any number of monitors. It doesn’t matter if it’s just the second monitor or the third monitor not detected.

We recommend systematically checking each alternative and eliminating that possibility if it doesn’t work. 

We will start with the easiest to more tech-savvy alternatives. Try each one simultaneously as you read this article.

Check Graphics Card Monitor Capacity

Before we begin with the alternatives, we recommend checking your graphics card specifications and finding out how many external monitors it supports. 

If the number of monitors you are trying to set up on your Laptop and the number of monitors allowed don’t match, we have found the problem right then and there. Just google it; it’s easy to find out.

Restart Your PC

Similar to the above approach, try restarting your PC. Restarting the PC flushes the ram and clears the device of temporary processes. 

If any of the processes is hindering the monitor detection, this might help. There is no harm to your PC or Monitors through a restart, so get it done fast and move on to the next approach.

  1. Press Windows Key and right-click on the power button.
    1. Select Restart.

Turn On/Off Monitor

We know it sounds a bit cliché. But often, you will find issues fixed with a simple off and on of the device. We recommend turning the Monitor off and on. 

monitor on and off switch

After this is done, check if the display starts getting detected. All monitors have an ON/OFF switch. The switch will either be at the front or the back of the monitor.

Try finding yours and get it done before moving on to the next step.

Plug out and plug in Display Input Cable

Once your PC and Monitor are restarted, if the problems persist, Check if the cables are loose. If that is solid, try plugging out the input display cable. Plug in the cable back again and check if the Monitor is detected.

Check Monitor’s Basic Hardware 

  • If you have other PCs or laptops in the house, we recommend checking them with those computers to ensure the Monitor and cables are working fine.
  • Suppose you have multiple external monitors with the same input cable, e.g., HDMI, Display Port. We recommend swapping cables and checking if the Monitor is detected.
  • If you have multiple ports on your Laptop, try connecting it to those ports and see if the issue persists. If it does, it’s the port that is faulty.
  • If you have only one input port and are using, let’s say, a splitter to connect two monitors, we recommend checking the splitter in another computer to make sure it’s working.

Check Windows Display Settings

If the external monitors are not being detected, we recommend manually trying to detect the displays. We can do this via windows settings. Follow the steps below to get it done:

  1. Press Windows Key and search / select Settings.
  2. Go to Display.
  3. Click on Multiple Displays
  4. Select the Detect option. If you are using a wireless display, click on the Connect option under connect to a wireless display.multiple display section to detect monitors

If you are opting for a wireless display option, a small pop-up will open on the right bottom corner titled Available Displays; make sure you click on your wireless display name.

Manually Detect Using Graphics Control Panel

Two possible alternatives may arise for this alternative. Either you have a dedicated + integrated graphics card housed in the laptop or just the integrated graphics card. 

Most current laptops nowadays have two graphics card systems. Eg: Intel (integrated) + Nvidia RTX (dedicated).

An easy way to ascertain this is by checking your device manager > display adapters. If there are two drivers listed, you are using two graphics cards. If only one driver is listed, you only use one integrated graphics card.

Follow the two scenarios listed below:

The Laptop uses only an Integrated Graphics Card

You will need to find the control panel of your integrated graphics card. We have taken an example of intel; try to find similar settings if you use another brand graphics card.

  1. Press Windows Key and search/select Intel Graphics Control Panel.
  2. Click on Display
  3. Select Multiple Display
  4. Click on the Detect option on the right side.intel graphics control panel multiple display detect

The Laptop uses a Dedicated + Integrated Graphics Card

We have taken an example of the Nvidia control panel; try to find a similar setting in your graphics control panel if you use another brand.

  1. Press the Windows key and search/select Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. Under the display option, select the option Set up Multiple Displays.
  3. Click on My Display is not shown.my display is not shown option in nvidia graphics control panel
  4. A pop-up will open; select the option Rigorous Display Detection.rigorous detection option in nvidia graphics panel

Disable/ Enable Graphics Card Drivers

This alternative has worked for many users. We recommend trying it out as a priority. 

Sometimes when we have two graphics cards housed on the PC, it conflicts. It is rare, but it does happen. The following method will check and solve the issue if it is the cause.

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Device Manager.
  2. Click on Display Adapter to expand it. You will see a list of graphics card drivers.
  3. Right-click on each one and select Disable Device. Do not worry; the computer screen won’t shut off.disable garphics cards
  4. Right-click on it and enable it one by one again.

Roll Back Graphics Card Drivers

There is also another scenario you need to consider while in the device manager window. Windows updates also send updates to graphics cards if manufacturers have sent them out. If a certain update has a bug causing this issue, we will need to try rolling back the drivers.

There is no surefire way of knowing if this is the solution needed. We recommend trying it out; if no changes are found, update it back to the latest version. You can do it by right-clicking drivers and selecting update.

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Device Manager.
  2. Click on Display Adapter to expand it. A list of drivers will be shown.
  3. Right-click on each driver and select Properties.
  4. Click on the Driver tab.
  5. And select Roll back driver.roll back driver through driver properties

You will have to download the old driver version for this option to work. Else it will only show a greyed-out option. You can download the versions of drivers via the manufacturer’s website.

Update Monitor Drivers

Every hardware component needs a software driver to run. Your monitor also have one. Updating the monitor driver may fix the issue of detection. Follow the steps stated below:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Device Manager.
  2. Go to the section titled Monitors.
  3. You will see a list of drivers; Right-click on each driver and select Update.update monitor driver throught device manager
  4. Another pop-up will open to confirm the location of the driver file; select the Search Automatically for Driver option.update driver pop up box

Update Windows

If Microsoft identifies any bugs on a current operating system update or if graphics card manufacturers send a bug fix on their new update, updating windows will install all of them. That is why it is imperative to always keep your windows updated.

If such a bug causes your detection issues, updating the windows will fix the issue. Follow the steps below to get it done.

  1. Press the Windows key and search / select Check for Updates.
  2. It should direct you to the Windows update section, press Check for Updates, Download & Install or Retry (whichever shows).Windows Update to fix Surface Keyboard

There are certain errors that may pop up during the windows update. If you see any of the following errors pop up, we recommend checking out the dedicated articles linked to these errors to fix them.

Run a Malware Scan

Malware and virus may cause the laptop to misbehave causing problems with connections. We recommend doing a full malware scan using windows defender or any third-party antivirus software installed on your laptop.

If the defender is not working, you might have to troubleshoot it first.

Run System Scans

This alternative is a bit far-fetched, but you might as well try it if the Monitor still isn’t detected. Corruption in system files can cause the device to malfunction. We recommend trying the following steps.

  1. Press the Windows key and search cmd.
  2. Right-click on it to select Run as administrator.
  3. Run the following command:
    DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealthDISMCheckHealth
  4. Run the following command:
    sfc/ scannowrunning-sfc-command

Conclusion

If none of the options work, we recommend taking both the Laptop and Monitor to a computer repair store so that they can help you diagnose the issue. Trying to contact the customer support of the monitor brand might also help.