I originally had my laptop plugged into a docking station, and then the docking station connected to a monitor; I don't recall whether it was connected via VGA or DVI. I've since moved and no longer have either the monitor or the docking station. I just bought a new monitor, and I can't seem to get it to work.

The monitor is a PnP device. It's connected to my laptop via the VGA port. There are no problems with the connector. The monitor does work fine with two other laptops, but not this one.

Again, the problem is very basic; the laptop does not see that the monitor is there. The monitor displays 'No Signal' and sleeps; it does know that it's connected to something, though. According to Device Manager, my display adapter is 'Standard VGA Graphics Adapter' and I have one monitor, which is the one built into the laptop, and it's just identified as 'Generic PnP Monitor.' The external monitor isn't listed.

Going into the Resolution dialog, I only have one display listed, 'Generic PnP Monitor on Standard VGA Graphics Adapter.'

I've tried combinations of Fn+F8 and restarting, but nothing seems to work. I've also tried updating drivers from Device Manager, but it says they're up to date.

Any ideas?


I had to re-read your question before spotting what we all seemed to have missed the first time. Your video card is showing up as "Standard", meaning Windows is not using the actual driver for the card; just its generic default driver.

If you know how, head to your manufacturer's website and download the driver for the video card and install it. If you don't know how, reply with the make and model and I can track that info down for you.

Once the proper driver is in place, Windows will be able to use the advanced functions like dual screen. However, if Fn+F8 doesn't swap screen settings, you may need to return to the manufacturer's site and grab a utility program to also enable your special function keys. These are usually in the driver download section as well.

Hope this finally solves it for you,



You can try looking for the drivers for your display adapters.

What laptop is it? I can provide links with more information.


Give Powerstrip a try; also, try entering BIOS to see if anything is displayed at monitor (also while booting OS)


Try shutting the laptop and using the PnP monitor at the same time. The video should switch over to the monitor instead of being on the laptop screen. If this occurs, then the issue is that the laptop screen overrides the VGA, and if you stop using the laptop monitor while the VGA is plugged in, it will use the VGA. I have had this issue with ThinkPads at my work. If you want to use both your laptop monitor and the PnP monitor at the same time, you should try to use the other type of output supported by the monitor, such as DVI.

Good Luck-


Most laptops have been standardized to use Fn+F7 for display changes. Are you sure yours uses Fn+F8?

Also, if you can, download the latest video drivers from the laptop manufacturer website and load them. If that doesn't work, update the BIOS firmware as well.


I had a similar problem vice versa: My monitor Zalman ZM-M215W didn't want to connect via DVI using the port at my docking station for my ThinkPad T42. Instead my VGA port worked fine.

My problem was solved when I just booted my laptop fresh from switched off state with the external monitor being properly connected (via DVI and the dock). Then the BIOS screen was already displayed at my external monitor, not on the built in screen.

Ok, one more hint: With the same problem I uninstalled my graphics card in Windows' Device Manager. Then I rebooted with my external monitor plugged in as wished (in your case your direct VGA connection) and after another reboot when windows installed the driver again it all worked.

Try this out as well, it should work.

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