My lenovo P400 ideapad, running win 8.1, crapped out a few months ago (registry error and I can't access my HDD) and I recently got a new laptop running win 10. Last time I tried fixing the computer, it got stuck in a disk-checking loop so I set my broken laptop to boot from its UBS port first. This way, the files on the USB break the loop and allow me access to the command-line and all the fancy win 8.1 blue repair/refresh screens that do nothing.

Obviously the screen works just fine, and I want to use it as a secondary monitor for my working computer. However, I tried connecting both laptops with an HDMI cable but when I press ['Win-key' + P] until I reach the 'extend screen' option, nothing happens on the secondary laptop.

I am no computer expert by any means but I'm guessing that I cannot utilize the broken laptop as a secondary monitor either because:

A) I need a fully functioning OS and that these repair screens and the CLI are not enough, or...

B) The HDMI-port on the broken laptop is not working because the HDMI-driver is on the HDD.

Any ideas on how I can use this perfectly good screen as a secondary monitor WITHOUT having to wipe anything (I still want to try salvaging the broken HDD when I have enough free time to kill).


  • 1
    Connecting two HDMI outputs together is not usually productive. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 11 '17 at 1:03
  • I thought it goes two ways? every time I've plugged in any laptop to my TV it worked, is that because TV HDMI ports are 'HDMI-in' and my laptops have 'HDMI-out'? So, if that's the case...what do I do? – zorkv Dec 11 '17 at 1:06
  • You'll need to find some other way to transmit video between the two machines, assuming one even exists. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 11 '17 at 1:07
  • theres a female VGA on the older laptop..but the other end is DisplayPort which I don't have a connect for either... so, just for my understanding..HDMI ports are not universal? or two-ways? theres an 'in' and an 'out' port? I guess I could just read about it on wikipedia but an insight into my misconception would be helpful – zorkv Dec 11 '17 at 1:09
  • HDMI input and output ports are the same shape and HDMI cables can be connected either way, but I have not come across a device that can do both input and output via a single HDMI port. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 11 '17 at 1:11

You cannot do this. HDMI is a one way connection. Both HDMI connections on your working laptop and broken laptop are outputs. THerefore, you cannot plug one into the other.

Since you want to repair your old laptop the following is not feasible, but worth noting:

It is technically possible to remove the LCD from the laptop and with other parts make a working LCD monitor, the amount of work and cost is more than just going to a thrift store and buying a used LCD monitor. FYI, here is a video on how to do it. Again, its cheaper to go to a thrift store and buy an $8 DVI LCD monitor and buy a cheap DVI to HDMI adapter.

  • I literally just checked the back of my TV and confirmed...I had no idea. Oh well, so much for that plan. Thanks for the info everybody, I appreciate it. You learn something new everyday :) Thanks – zorkv Dec 11 '17 at 1:21

There is only one laptop on the market with this function and it is an alienware. hdmi ports on laptops are output otherwise as already stated. you could use a linux boot thumb drive, a video capture card over usb and applicable software to get the same effect but at that point your better off with another monitor.

you could gerry rig the monitor on the laptop using an adapter but that would require disassembly of the monitor housing and installation of the adapter

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