When I use 2 monitors, one on VGA and one on hdmi, Win 7 will always assign the hdmi monitor as 1 and the VGA monitor as 2. How can I manually assign these?

  • 1
    this is so silly there is seemingly no way to change this. I have the same problem with a TV I have connected on HDMI. Since it's decided that the TV is screen #1, whenever I connect it all the windows pop over to that screen, even though I usually only want it for VLC. Especially annoying bc the 'do you want to keep these settings?' countdown also pops over and is invisible at my computer.
    – Damon
    Apr 8, 2012 at 4:13
  • 1
    The issue is this: Windows likes to randomly throw dialog boxes etc on number 1 regardless of whether 3 or 2 is set as primary. Even if screen #1 is turned off at the time, windows will act like it is powered on and not regularly but often enough to be obnoxious, have stuff show up over there. Furthermore (and this hints its a gpu card hardware issue) if the display isn't #1 the bios and other startup screens are sometimes displayed ONLY on #1.
    – user177362
    Dec 1, 2012 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


There is no GUI way that I've found.


and more specifically


are where Windows stores the mapping of the displays. It keeps track of monitors it's seen based on date and when if finds a monitor it's seen before it assigns a number. You can delete these two keys in the registry then reboot and the video card/windows will assign numbers to the displays using its default logic.

You can manually edit the registry keys and values, reboot and the system would keep the manually defined IDs however this is a rather painful experience and should be avoided without backups.

Apologies for bringing this thread out of the dead, I thought the information was worth sharing since I had the same question.

  • can you go into some detail on how to manually set the registry?
    – ewok
    Jun 22, 2017 at 17:14
  • This works but after some time (maybe auto upgrade?) it changes back Apr 1, 2018 at 11:50

I have read this software allows you to change that.


Depending on the Video driver you have whether you can change it in Video properties.


  • thank you for the links I will play with the nvidia control panel and see what I find... Jan 16, 2011 at 23:14
  • For NVIDIA card in its control panel/display/multimonitor configuration you can arrange the monitor position as you wish (1 to the left/right of 2). But you cannot change the numbers itself: DVI will remain 1 and VGA will remain 2. Nov 26, 2012 at 8:12
  • The UltraMon software seems to have the monitor ID numbers detached from Windows 10 settings and doesn't seem to influence them.
    – mystrdat
    Aug 20, 2018 at 15:24

Does the actual number that's assigned matter, or do you just want to make your VGA monitor the primary monitor (the one that shows the taskbar)?

If all you want to do is change the primary monitor, right-click on your desktop, select 'Screen Resolution', click on your VGA monitor on the diagram (monitor number 2 in your case) and then click the checkbox 'Make this my main display'.

Some programs are affected, such as PowerPoint, when we want the complete (final) image on the projector screen, it shows up on our desk monitor instead and shows the work area being projected along with the images.

If this is not your issue, then I'm really interested why the actual order of the monitors matters to you.

  • 1
    Many applications open on display #1 regardless of the designated primary display. Dec 14, 2012 at 6:51
  • Some screen sharing software (Adobe Connect) only allow sharing screens 1 or 2.
    – ericslaw
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:13
  • My docking station has DVI and DP port. and DP is for the projector. I can set DVI as 1 and DP as 2 (deleting the registry entry, unplugging the HDMI cable, and plugging back after that windows finally sets DVI as 1) but very often it magically switches back. Apr 1, 2018 at 11:49

In Windows 7, if you right click on your desktop, you can go to personalize and appearance and personalization. From there, you can go to display and screen resolution. In this window you can assign the monitor numbers.

You can find more info here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Move-windows-between-multiple-monitors

  • Thank you, I am familiar with these settings but I cannot find on the link where it says how to assign which monitor is 1 and which is 2. I have no problem switching between monitors and changing resolutions but in all my testing windows will always assign my hdmi monitor as 1 and my vga as 2 if both are hooked up. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to manually assign them a number. Jan 16, 2011 at 23:10

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