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Most laptops come with a video port that allows you to easily connect an external monitor. A few settings may be required.

Can I use my 25-inch desktop monitor on my laptop?

In this excerpt from Answercast #8, I discuss how to plug a monitor into a laptop and use the Windows 7 presentation mode to enable it as a display.

Can you plug in a monitor?

Sure! Why not?

I say that somewhat facetiously, but in reality, most laptops now have some kind of an external video port. It really depends on your laptop and what its capabilities are; but by and large, almost all of them (that I can think of) have either VGA or DVI or in some cases, an HDMI port, that you can connect an external monitor to.

Presentation mode

If you're running Windows 7, it actually gets kind of fun because the Windows key+P allows you to select what they call presentation mode.

Think about it; you're using a laptop and you're about to make a presentation, and they've hooked up this external monitor as a projector.

The presentation mode lets you select between showing the same thing on both the laptop's screen and the external monitor; having them be two different things; or having one of them turned off or turned on.

Just plug it in

So, absolutely "Yes!"

It happens all the time and once you do it, have a look at presentation mode to decide how you want to use it.

Next - How do I run Windows Update on my Ubuntu computer?

Article C5198 - April 12, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
Howard Kaplan
April 13, 2012 8:24 AM

I agree that a laptop can generally drive an external monitor, but the laptop's video system might not be able to drive the monitor at its native resolution. That is, the image might not be as sharp as the monitor could otherwise provide. Also, if the laptop's video system speed is barely adequate for displaying the number of pixels on the built-in screen, then it might not be able to drive the external monitor without visible slowdowns, such as dropping video frames.

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