FAQ Tech Blog Technology

What display connectors are on my PC?

When you want to buy a new PC/Laptop or want to add a screen to your existing setup, one of the first questions we will ask is what display connections do you have on your device? 

Check your PC

The available ports on your pc will depend upon the model of your PC/Laptop.  On a PC they are normally at the rear of the case

They may also be on a dedicated graphics card; the number of display connections may vary on the graphics card you have installed.

Check your Laptop

On a laptop the ports may be on the sides or rear of the device

Some laptops may have a docking station with allow you to connect a single cable to the laptop.  This can be left at the office with the devices attached and easily allows you to take the laptop to meetings and then reconnect when you return.

Dell Docking Station D3100

Check your monitor

If you already have a monitor then these are normally found on the rear of the screen, the type of input connector can also vary on the monitors make and specification.

When you are buying a new monitor, then ensure that you have a matching connector type on your device so you can connect.  There are a wide range of adaptors available so you can often convert from one type of connector to another.

Some monitors may include an USB hub which is used to help with cable management rather than the display input.

Connector types

Currently the most common connections will be:

VGAVGA portVGA ConnectorLegacy analogue connector
DVI-IDVI-I portDVI-I CableAnalogue/Digital connector (can be used with VGA adaptor)
DVI-DDVI-D portDVI-D CableDigital only connector
HDMIHDMI portHDMI CableUsed with dvd players, games consoles and satellite receivers.  Good for PC to TV.
Mini HDMIMini HDMI portMini HDMI CableFound in some DSLR cameras
Micro HDMIMicro HDMI portMicro HDMI CableFound in some digital cameras
DisplayPortDisplayportDisplayport CableCan support up to 144Hhz at 4k
Mini Display PortMini DisplayportMini Displayport cableSame connector as Thunderbolt 1 & 2.

Converters and adaptors

Most of the display outputs and screen inputs work at their optimum when using the same cable with the same connector, however some are fairly interchangeable, for example you are unlikely to find a Mini or Micros HDMI connection on a PC, instead a cable with one end which has the mini HDMI and the HDMI connector on the other end is likely to be your best option.

Although some monitors do have DisplayPort connections, often an DisplayPort adaptor is used. These are able to convert to most of the main types of display output. As screen resolutions increase we expect to see more monitors with DisplayPort built-in to handle up to 4K or 8K screen resolutions.

What do you do if you have used all the display connections?

If your PC/Laptop has a single output and you want to add a further display, then adding another display is possible.

Most devices will have an USB connector and there are a wide variety of adaptors which can be used on USB2 or USB3 and can be used for general use. 

USB Connectors

USB 2.0USB 2.0 portUSB 2 CableMax 480Mb/s
USB 3.0 & USB 3.1USB 3.0 portUSB 3 cableUp to 5Gb/s Normally colour coded blue but not always.
USB Type-C (USB 3.2)USB C portUSB C cableUp to 10 Gb/s

The latest USB 3.2 connect can also allow a docking station to be connected as well as many other devices at the same time.

docking station


Graphics Cards

If you have a desktop PC this may have a spare adaptor slot which can be used to install a graphics card, these are often used in conjunction with a CAD application or for gaming.  The latest graphics cards have high speed graphics memory and graphics processor (GPU) which allows the application or game to offload some of the processing of the graphics from the CPU and will provide some amazing results in real-time.

If you need assistance with identifying the display connections or would like to discuss your requirements, please call 0333 332 6600 and speak to one of our team.

You may also like to read about setting up your PC & screen safely or working with multiple screens.Working with multiple Screens.

Connecting an additional monitor

Once you have your monitor and have the right cable to connect to your PC/Laptop, connecting the screen should be simple.  Plug in the power and data cables into your PC/Laptop and then the monitor and switch on. 

If Windows does not detect the screen or it is showing on the wrong side, you can adjust the settings

To Access display settings

  • Click the Start button -> Settings -> System -> Display


  • Right click desktop select “Display settings” from the drop down
Right click desktop menu

The screen should show your current displays

Display Settings

If the Screen is not detected, you can click on Detect and Windows will search devices to see if any have been added.  This is sometimes used if the screen is connected via USB adaptor.

Clicking on the Identify button will show the number which Windows has assigned to each screen.

Identify screen 1

This corresponds to the number displayed in the Display Settings window.

Screen ID numbers

If the screens are not in the right order or you would like to reposition them, highlight one using the left mouse button and you can reposition the screen

If you monitors are next to each other adjust them accordingly.  If they are above and below then position them so windows will allow your mouse to move through the joined side.

If you have two different monitors which support different resolutions, then it may look like this.  You can position the connecting side to suit your needs.  This may be for a laptop with an external monitor or two different monitors makes or models.

display different sizes

Adjusting resolution

Each monitors display size, known as resolution, can be adjusted by highlighting the screen you wish to adjust and selecting the Display resolution in the drop down.  Ideally you want the screen resolution to match on both screens or the application window can look odd when you drag from one screen to another.

display setting resolution

Once selected the resolution will change and a confirmation bar with a count down will allow you to keep the new changes or revert.  If you cannot see the new resolution, Windows will revert once the timer has reached zero.

keep display settings

Extending or Duplicating desktop

If you are using a laptop with a screen or occasionally using it with a projector.  Knowing how to Extend or duplicate your desktop is essential. 

Within the Display settings option check the Multiple display section

display settings multiple displays

The available options in the menu allow you to Duplicate, Extend or Switch off a screen.

duplicate extend

The “Make this my main display” option is used to select which screen will be used for the Login screen or security menu. 

Should you need any further assistance with the setup of your monitors please give our team a call on 0333 332 6600