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I recently was given two VGA only monitors: Dell e173FPb and a model number not on me. So I purchased these VGA converters: HDMI to VGA Converter and USB 3 to VGA Adapter. My hope was that I could use both monitors at the same time for 3 displays. And it worked.

But more recently, I decided to bring one monitor home, leaving the other at work. I have tested both monitors and they work well with the HDMI to VGA converter.

So I decided to use the USB to VGA adapter at home as an extended display. Unfortunately it seems to not work with either monitor. With the Dell monitor, I get brief video only when switching the monitor on and off or switching settings. With the other monitor, it only seems to receive video if I duplicate displays, which is useless to me.

Also, I doubt this helps, but I have successfully used the USB to VGA adapter with a different monitor entirely, so I know it can work with that setup.

This leads to a few questions that might help me solve this issue, or at the very least, prevent my frustration from boiling over.

  1. Why am I able to use the USB to VGA adapter in a 2 monitor setup but not in a 1 monitor setup?
  2. Why does the Dell monitor only receive video briefly when switching?
  3. Why does the other monitor only receive video when duplicating displays?
  4. Is there any way at all I can fix this to work with my current monitors (and not buying a new one)?
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With everything connected and on try lowering the resolution of your monitors by right clicking the desktop and go to settings or resolution in windows. Even try lowering the main display. I have seen higher resolution monitors make those adaptors useless at their native resolution because it or the video in the computer can't handle it. That might be why it works with another monitor. Start at 600x800 just to see if it works. If so, work your way up.

Edit... Added more...

Try updating the driver for the vga adaptor? Check the manufacturer website as well.

See if there are any video or chips set driver updates for your computer.

Bios can play a part in these adaptors as well. Verify there are no odd bios settings. I had one user that updated bios and it broke his 3 display adaptor. I don't get why but it did. Just some things to check.

  • I tried that. Low res is when I get brief video but it only lasts for a second or two. – merlinpatt Sep 1 '17 at 5:23
  • Added a few more items to the answer – Fixitrod Sep 1 '17 at 5:38
  • I checked everything you said, but that's not the issue. Also, I don't see how it can be the issue because it works on both monitors when they are hooked up together. It only doesn't work when I'm trying to use it with one. – merlinpatt Sep 15 '17 at 22:41

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