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Can I use my laptop as a second monitor for my desk computer?

I have an old Acer laptop P-II whose LCD I want to use like a standalone analog monitor or LCD TV -- is this possible?

  • take a look at x2vnc and win2vnc. i just ran across them today, so i don't know for sure, but i think that will do the trick. May 6 '10 at 22:14

Do you mean you want to display a TV picture or analogue video input on your laptop? You could do that perhaps with a USB tuner card, though a P2 might be too slow.

Or do you mean you want to use the laptop's monitor as a monitor for another computer? If you fancy doing some electronics you could do this:


Or you can use an application to make your other computer think your laptop is a second monitor:

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Finally as a poor man's alternative you could just share your other computer's keyboard and mouse with your laptop for free with Synergy.


A solution where you rip the screen out would require the card from a suitable broken LCD monitor or TV ( with the exact same LCD as your laptop)

With a little software, your choices get easier. You can use a video capture card on the laptop to drive the display. If your acer has a video input, this is not too hard to set up. If it still runs windows, you might ebe able to use a the TV /record app that came with it. If you have no software, Use a lightweight linux like puppy and run a full-screen TV window, with the video input selected.

If your doesn't have a video input already, there were PCMCIA capture cards, you might find a cheap one on ebay. I'm assuming the laptop is too slow to run a USB video capture device.


You can also enable the built-in external monitor or projector on your host laptop. Then install RealVNC Server on the host and Real VNC Viewer on the remote. Configure RealVNC server via registry to only serve the extended display of the host laptop. Then connect via RealVNC viewer and the remote laptop will display the RealVNC served extended display and the host laptop will display it's normal primary display.

You will need to research RealVNC documentation to edit the registry but the key is adding "DisplayDevice", REG_SZ, "\.\displayX" to the RealVNC registry setting where X represents the monitor number as identified through the OS display configuration panel. There are also ways to do this from the command line.

I have done this with WIN7 Ultimate 32 and RealVNC Free. I'm actually using this configuration now with an HP DV7-1245DX as host and a HP DV-2116WM as remote extended display. Both laptops are running Win7 Ultimate 32 are networked via WIFI.

MaxiVista software is the easiest to implement and provides the best performance in my limited experience but it is not free. I used MaxiVista for many years with 4 monitors using XP Pro. I'm still looking for other free alternatives with better performance.


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