I just updated to Windows 10 and discovered that Microsoft broke this method of adding a fake second monitor: Is there a way to fake a dual (second) monitor which I rely on for scaling some small programs to full screen with OBS. The "Detect" button in Control Panel seems to do nothing, and the "Detect" button in Settings simply says a display was not connected.

Is there any way to force Windows 10 to think there's a display connected on VGA without extra hardware or paid software? I'm using a laptop with an NVIDIA 970M with HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort out.

What I've tried:

  • The "My display is not shown..." option in the NVIDIA Control Panel, which won't let me add anything and only has options for televisions
  • SpaceDesk, which almost works except that my real display is bumped to #2, and requires a client to be connected
  • DemoForge Mirage/ZoneScreen, which also require a connected client and are somewhat unstable on recent versions of Windows
  • VirtualMonitor which I think is almost what I want, but isn't compatible with Windows >7 and has some compatibility issues (?)

Note that I am not looking for Virtual Desktop software, and I don't need anything as fancy as Matrox PowerDesk or Virtual Display Manager.

  • 1
    What's OBS stand for? and which specific method did you use? – Journeyman Geek Jul 30 '15 at 4:10
  • Open Broadcaster Software. It's mostly used for streaming, but I use the fullscreen preview mode on my real screen which scales the low resolution program on the fake second screen to full screen. I control the second program by just moving my mouse over to the fake monitor. And could you clarify what you mean by "which specific method did you use?" – xperia64 Jul 30 '15 at 16:54
  • Ugly,buyt possibly of interest: superuser.com/questions/1271344/… – Hennes Mar 1 at 19:59
  • I was able to get this to work by just connecting one end of a VGA cable to a VGA-to-Display Port adapter and the other end of it to my Win 10 computer. Weird but it works. If you remove the adapter, it stops working. Bear in mind, the cable is connected via a dock though, so I don’t know if direct connection would work (probably would). Don’t know if HDMI would work (probably won’t). – Dennis T Jun 11 at 17:53

Just spent last two hours trying to figure this out.

  1. First go to Control Panel (not Settings app)
  2. Go to Adjust Screen Resolution. You will get a similar window as you did in Windows 7.
  3. Click Detect
  4. Go to display Drop Down and select "Display Device on VGA"
  5. Select Desired Resolution. If windows is unable to save your settings use the software from your video card to adjust the resolution.
  6. If you aren't able to output the display to the Fake screen only, Press Windows+P and the select "Second display only"

I hope this helps.

  • 2
    thanks! I did not know the control panel still existed. Still the virtual display is not detected though. – user643011 Oct 17 '15 at 16:39
  • 9
    It seems the "Adjust Screen Resolution" was removed and no longer exists in Windows 10 in 2017. – Markus von Broady Apr 7 '17 at 13:06
  • 2
    I can confirm that "Adjust Screen Resolution" does not exist any more :-( – Ole Dittmann May 3 '17 at 13:14
  • Just had to deal with windows again after years and 50% of my time is finding patches/workarounds – user1767754 Dec 28 '17 at 8:54
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is by far not the ideal solution, but for now it will do: I put a 102 Ohm resistor across pins 2 and 7 of my VGA port (also known as the headless Mac Mini trick), and Windows 10 now believes I have a second monitor attached.

On a different computer I had to use pins 1 and 6 and reboot before the "monitor" would work.

I had the same problem and came up with a fairly simple solution: Just connect your primary screen twice. Most displays have 2 inputs and you just need another display cable to connect it.

A fake software driver wouldve been more elegant and less power consuming but this works fine too :)

  • 2
    This would work, but I am using a laptop. – xperia64 Oct 4 '15 at 16:52

xperia64's answer notes that putting a resistor between 2 of the VGA pins works, but the pins can differ from machine-to-machine.

From the VGA pinout, it can be seen that connecting 1 & 6 connects red to red-ground, and 2 & 7 connects green to green-ground. On my system, it was required to connect 3 & 8 (blue to blue-ground) to get this to work.

So, it seems like an all-encompassing solution would be to connect resistors between pins 1 & 6, 2 & 7 and 3 & 8.

The resistances don't seem to matter too much. The spec says 75 ohm, but anything in that ballpark seems to work. (Too low could risk damage, too high it might not detect.)

The so-called "elegant" software solution:

Apparently, custom resolutions can be set up in the registry somehow. Instead of messing with it, I used CRU, (Custom Resolution Utility), a free software package did the trick.

After messing around with the standalone program for a few minutes, it did what I wanted. Then I messed it up, played with it some more without reading the instructions and it worked even better.

I needed a dual monitor solution for SplashTop without an extra monitor. I also needed to boost the resolution from 900p to 1080p.

I temporarily plugged into the second monitor port, then used CRU. Then I realized how bad SplashTop's dual monitor support is, and wanted to go back to one.

So unplug the second monitor connection, right? Nope. The second virtual monitor persisted anyway. So I deleted it in CRU, which Windows respected. CRU had it wrapped around its finger.

The remote host chugs along at a decent little 900p, which looks tiny and/or fuzzy on my bigger screen.

Thanks to CRU, I'm logged in at 1080p on my local end. Which means no sitting next to the noisy graphics card and air cooling.

Still no dual monitor capability for my GPU-accelerated remote desktop, so I'll probably need a second piece of software (remote desktop/logmein) just to transmit the second virtual monitor CRU gives me. Haven't figured out that part yet.

Privacy concerns aside, Windows 10 Enterprise with its Remote Desktop FX seems to have that figured out. Performance looks pretty darn good, too.

You could call that elegant if you want.


It is not a fake display, it is called virtual desktop. In Win 10, there is not only a second screen, but also third, fourth, fifth... Desktops inbuilt.

Press Win+Tab. You will see all of your active programs adjusted. In the same screen, bottom right corner, you will see Add Desktop functionality. Click it!

The new generating desktop is not a fake. It is for multi-tasking, so that you would not be afraid of so many opened programs. It shares desktop icons, but not the programs of them.

Virtual Desktops

There are also some keyboard shortcuts for quickly managing virtual desktops:

Windows Key + Ctrl + D – Create a new virtual desktop and switch to it
Windows Key + Ctrl + F4 – Close the current virtual desktop.
Windows Key + Ctrl + Left / Right – Switch to the virtual desktop on the left or right.

Sadly, there’s not yet a key combination that will move the current window between virtual desktops.

  • 2
    Can you, for example, set a resolution on the virtual desktop, that your monitor doesn't support? I don't think so. – Markus von Broady Apr 7 '17 at 13:07
  • When I connect my laptop to my main PC via HDMI, my laptop doesnt see the HDMI, thus hdmi isnt spoofed and I was not able to use my laptop as a monitor – Kirill2485 Jun 23 '17 at 8:11
  • 2
    This does not answer the question – juniorRubyist Jan 28 at 5:44

On Windows 10 second display can be added by pressing Win+P and selecting needed option in the appeared panel at the right side of the desktop.

See screenshot

I have only one real display, but I can add another one using Win+P.

  • This is for a real screen, the question is to fake one – Ohad Cohen Dec 31 '17 at 15:05
  • @OhadCohen It doesn't matter. I have only one real display, but I can add another one using Win+P – John Govage Jan 3 at 11:51

protected by Community Jul 4 at 5:27

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