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I have a laptop running on windows 7 and two separate monitors, both with VGA cables and a VGA splitter on the laptop. My goal is to mirror my desktop on one of the monitors with the other set as an extended display of that desktop.

I am hoping to have just the two monitors and a wireless keyboard on my desk, all operating from the laptop stored but running in the desk drawer. Is there any standard setting on Windows 7 that will let me do this, or will I need to get some new software?

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VGA Splitter.. often does exactly that - split VGA signals. The VGA output from your laptop is a single signal, displayed on 2 screens, so as far as Windows is concerned, they only have 1 output. So you can't really split those into extended desktop - just "mirror".

Some alternative to get multiple output from a laptop:

  • Docking station - there has been a number of USB3.0 docking stations that support multiple video output, and also acting as USB hub, and sometimes ethernet as well. (A bit pricey compared to the other solution, but it does a lot more that you may / may not want)
  • USB to DVI/VGA/HDMI device - Just google for some you will find them. These devices acted as a separate video channel output, so you may even be able to extend the laptop to have more than 2 video output (depends on how many USB to DVI/VGA/HDMI that you have)

Hope this helps.

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Are you trying to use the external screens only?

I would first change the Power Options setting such that when laptop screen is closed, it won't sleep:

  1. Click Windows button and type power options, click the top searched result
  2. Click the Change plan settings of the selected plan.
  3. Click Change advanced power settings, expand Power buttons and lid, expand Lid close action
  4. Change the option for Plugged in to Do nothing poweroptions
  5. Click OK, Save Changes
  6. Close the laptop screen to confirm it is still awake (when plugged in power)
  7. Then press and hold Window Key, press P until "Projector only" and then let go of the keys. I don't have a VGA spliter, guess it's treated as Projector only. WinP
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