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if my laptop has a dual link DVI port but i have a single link DVI cable, can it be connected to the laptop?

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There are two different types of DVI ports your laptop may have: DVI-I or DVI-D. DVI-I carries digital and analogue signals, DVI-D just digital signals.

You can connect any single-link DVI cable (DVI-I as well as DVI-D) to a dual-link DVI-I port. You can also connect a single-link DVI-D cable to a dual-link DVI-D port.

However, you cannot connect a single-link DVI-I cable to a dual-link DVI-D port.

enter image description here

(Source and further information)

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Not only that:

Your computer DVI-I output may not output analog at all. For example: my graphic card has a VGA and a DVI-I connector. I tried connecting my monitor's VGA input to the Card's DVI connector using a VGA-VGA cable and a DVI-VGA adapter, but I couldn't get any image, no matter if I pushed the video input button on the monitor.

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The question is about the single and dual link compatibility (both are digital). There is nothing about the analogous dvi in the question. – peterh Aug 8 '15 at 12:44

Yes, a dual link port can support both single and dual link cables.

Source: I have the same setup

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Yes you can connect a single link DVI cable to a dual link DVI port but not the opposite.

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I just wanted to follow up to say a couple of things for those folks super confused!

First, a DVI-I dual-link (Digital+analog) female connector type will accommodate any DVI male connector you throw at it.

HOWEVER

Just because you have a female DVI-I (d+a) doesn't necessarily mean that the adapter/dongle/cable you are using support specifically analog connections.

If for instance you attempted to plug a DVI-A into what looks like a DVI-I dual-link (d+a) female connection and you get no output, it is probably because the adapter/dongle/cable you have doesn't actually support analog IO.

Isn't that fun!

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In multiple monitor situations with docking stations, connecting single link DVI-D cables to Dual Link DVI-D ports may not work. This has happened twice. The machines detect the monitors and Windows attempts to allow the desktop to extend onto the additional monitor, but it won't. This has happened to two different employees in my office. Both scenarios involve using a laptop screen and two monitors. One scenario involved a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and docking station with one VGA and one DVI-D (dual link), and the other involved a Dell laptop and docking station with two DVI-D (dual link) ports. In both cases, the second monitor had to have a DVI-D dual link cable.

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