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Before buying a new monitor, how can I tell if my laptop supports dual monitors?

In the back I have one DVI port and one VGA port.

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What kind of graphic card is it? – BullDozier1337 Jan 17 '11 at 19:00
Dual meaning two external monitors or LCD + 1 external monitor? What kind of laptop do you have? – David Oneill Jan 17 '11 at 19:00
I mean two external monitors. Video card is NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M, laptop is Dell Latitude 620 running Windows XP. – Jason Swett Jan 17 '11 at 19:10
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I can't speak for you specific case without a model number, but generally you can use both built in DVI and VGA ports simultaneously.

Adding on monitor to a laptop for a total of two displays without adding additional hardware is always possible, but being able to add two is rare. In the cases where you cannot plug two monitors into a laptop, you can always get a usb adapter like

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The general rule is that if there are two different outputs (i.e. VGA, DVI, HDMI), You can plug into both at the same time, but the VGA will over-ride your laptops monitor. This is due to the way it is built. If you need more, just as @sound2man stated, they have USB adapters. +1 for @sound2man... – David Jan 17 '11 at 19:25
VGA sometimes overrides the main monitor, but generally does not. Right now I am running my aux display on the VGA port and my desktop extends to it from my main laptop display. I have done this with about 7 laptops to date with no issues. – sound2man Jan 17 '11 at 19:49
Generally I find these days on laptops with two ports, you can run either one and the internal display, or both but not the internal display (ie max of two simultaneous outputs). The easiest thing to do is try, and buy a USB->DVI/VGA adapter if you do need the extra. They work great for anything that isn't hardware accelerated rendering. – Shinrai Jan 17 '11 at 20:34

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