My laptop had 2 display cards, and I want to connect a second external monitor (that is, a third monitor) to have a wider view.

The two display cards are:

  1. Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000; and
  2. NAVDIA GeForce GT 550M

Sadly, my laptop can only recognize the first plugged-in monitor and keeps the other one greyed-out. I checked the properties of the two active displays (the built-in display and the external monitor), and they are both using the Intel graphics card. Though I cannot get the third monitor to have signal, I can add a virtual monitor in the display settings. This virtual monitor's signal is not captured by any physical monitor and is driven by the NAVDIA display card. I feel frustrated that I can have a virtual display but cannot assign this signal to my third monitor. I've tried searching online for a way to do this, but I haven't had any luck. How can I get my second external monitor to work with my setup?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • You should enter the model of your laptop. Not all are able to address two external displays at all.
    – frlan
    Jan 30 '14 at 13:51
  • Thanks for the reply. My model is Lenovo Y470 So my question is what are the virtual monitor from the NAVDIA is for? Jan 30 '14 at 13:52

You actually only have one graphics card; but its a hybrid. It switches from the nvidia to the inbuilt to save battery life (and heat).

nvidia calls this optimus.

The maximum displays you can support is two; one on your laptop and another external display. You cannot support two external displays because the video cards do not run in parallel.

In some specialized laptops; they can support two external displays, but these require specialized video cards that can run two independent displays. Generally these are found in gaming laptops or high end workstation laptops.

  • Thanks for the reply. dropbox.com/s/qtwnuq5q949sp8a/… So in short, is it there is no way to capture monitor 4's signal? The current setting in the picture is: 3 - first external monitor drive by Intel card 2 - second external monitor drive by Intel card 4 - virtual monitor drive by NAVDIA card 1 - disabled notebook monitor What I don't understand is there is signal on monitor 4, but I can't capture it by physical monitor(I can see the monitor by teamviewer) Is it the NAVDIA card cannot access the VGA or HDMI port? Jan 30 '14 at 14:02
  • You have 1 - laptop (this can be run by either , 2 - VGA (analogue) this is run by the built-in Intel, 2 - HDMI (runs on the nvidia chip)(only one of these can be up at one time); and the VGA that runs on the nvidia chip. These are "virtual" displays, at any given time you can have the laptop display and either HDMI or VGA out running. Be thankful you aren't running Linux because this optimus nonsense doesn't work there at all. :/ Jan 30 '14 at 14:34
  • Thanks for your generous help. So the only solution seems to be getting a USB graphic card to push my third monitor. Jan 30 '14 at 14:47
  • 1
    Yes, unfortunately that's the only solution. Jan 30 '14 at 16:12

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