Your laptop isn’t merely just a handy PC that you use for work or entertainment purposes. There is so much more to do with a laptop than you think. And one of the most features of a laptop is by following the right techniques, and you can turn your laptop into a second screen for your pc.
It might sound tough, but if you have the right equipment and techniques, you can easily turn your laptop into a second monitor. People use HDMI cables to connect their laptop to a desktop and call it a day. But if it were that simple, we wouldn’t be giving this how-to guide. And if you are looking for ways to make the best use of your laptop by turning it into a second monitor, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use your laptop as a second monitor for your PC as well as many other devices.
How to Use Laptop As a Second Monitor
Some would say using an HDMI cable will seal the deal. However, you should know that HDMI cables are merely for output display. And it won’t work as a video input for any other device.
So, you can use the cable if you want to display your laptop’s content on a larger display. However, if you want your laptop to act as a monitor for your desktop, there are a few different ways.
Using Miracast on Windows.
If you use a Windows device, you can find Miracast, a built-in feature that will help transform your laptop into a monitor.
Here’s how to use a laptop as a 2nd monitor using Miracast.
- Click on the start menu and go to Settings.
2. Inside Settings, you’ll find the “System” icon, click on it.
3. Inside the System, you’ll see “Projecting to this PC” option in the menu to the left, click on that.
4. Make sure to change the first drop-down menu to Available so other devices can project onto it.
5. Configure other settings as desired.
6. Go back to the main PC that you want to use your laptop as a secondary display.
Now that you have set up your laptop, its time to work on the main computer.
Here’s how to set up your main PC so your laptop can work as a secondary monitor for it.
- Open the Task Bar and click on the Notifications/Action center icon that’s on the bottom right corner.
- Click on the “Connect” button that’s on the bottom of the Notification menu.
4. When the laptop you want to connect becomes visible, select the device.
5. Go back to your laptop and accept the connection.
6. On your main PC, right-click on the desktop and select the “Display Settings” icon.
7. On the Display menu, make sure to choose “Extend desktop to this display” under the “Multiple Displays” section.
8. Now, you have successfully set up your laptop as a monitor for your desktop. So, rearrange the displays by dragging and dropping the display icons at the top of the “Display Settings” screen.
Compatibility Issues with Miracast
Using Miracast to extend your desktop’s display might be easy. But you should know that not everyone can use the built-in feature with ease. Many users have complained about having compatibility issues.
It is because Miracast requires Intel HD graphics, and a lot of users have dedicated graphics cards instead. And if you use an ethernet connection on your PC, it is also a problem.
For your laptop to act as a secondary monitor, you need a wireless internet connection. So, since an ethernet connection won’t work, you need to connect your PC with a wireless adapter to make it work.
Using a Third-Party Program
If Miracast is not the option you want to choose, you still have an alternative, i.e., using a third-party program. It is a much better option as a third-party program isn’t as restrictive as Miracast.
There are plenty of virtual KVM programs available online that are free of cost. These programs allow you to use your laptops as a 2nd monitor for your desktop. Some of the free virtual KVM programs are Input Director, Space Desk, Sharemouse, Stardock Multiplicity, etc.
Here, we’ll show you how to use Input Director as it is absolutely free and unrestricted for any personal usage.
It might look a little difficult, but installing the software is really a piece of cake. And here’s how you do it.
- First, download and install the program from their website on both your desktop and laptop.
- Configure the program on the secondary computer first. The process gives you the option of being the “Master” or the “Slave.”
- As the interface opens, click on “Enable as Slave,” as you want to use your laptop as a secondary display.
- To make it easy, you have the option to enable the “Allow my computer to take control,” so you can do it on your own.
- Or, you can click on Add and enter the hostname of the primary computer manually. The hostname appears on the Main tab on the Primary computer.
- Now, go to your main desktop along with the keyboard and the most to be used.
- Click the “Enable as Master” option.
- Enter the Master Configuration tab and click on Add. And enter the hostname of the secondary computer on the Slave computer’s Main Tab.
- Now press, OK. You can use the monitor box to drag around the icons and also position the laptop in relation to the master system’s screen.
After the process, you should now be able to move the mouse between the screens. You won’t be able to drag and drop the files from one screen to the other. But you can copy and paste files and folders as it supports shared clipboard.
How to Use a Laptop as a Monitor for PS4
It’s fun to have a heated game of football with your friends sitting beside you. Or even play online games with complete strangers on your PlayStation. But you playing games on the television screen all day and night is not the sight your parents want to see. So maybe it’s a great idea that you play in your room instead. (Although we would recommend you to stop playing and go out to stretch every now and then.)
But not every one of us has multiple TVs in our homes. And this is where you have to adapt to the situation. So, the best option is to use your laptop as a monitor for your PS4.
Again, if you think it is as easy as using an HDMI cable and calling it a day, you might need to rethink what you’re doing. Because clearly, it’s not as simple as that. However, we have a solution for that. There are a few methods you can use to connect your laptop with your PS4 and use it as a monitor to play games.
The first and easy method you can use to turn your laptop screen to your PS4 monitor is using video capture cards. This method might not be tricky. However, there are a few important things you need while setting up. A PS4 and a laptop are definitely mandatory. But you’ll also require a video capture card, good internet connection (WiFi or Ethernet), file sharing compatibility, and an HDMI cable with dual-functioning.
Now that you have all that you need, here are the steps to follow:
- Check the connections. Go to Settings in the PS4 menu to enable file sharing. Now, open Internet Connection Settings and find the internet connection. If you don’t have a wireless connection, you need to configure the PS4 and the laptop to the same router. Connect them with ethernet cables.
- Install the software and connect the video capture card to the laptop using a USB port.
- Connect the HDMI cable and the PS4 console to the capture card. You need an S-video connection cable to attach the video capture card with the PS4. Now, attach the HDMI-IN cable on the capture card, whereas the HDMI-OUT cable on the PS4.
- Open the application software that comes with the capture card. It will search for the device and show it on the screen of the laptop. Use the full-screen display to show the full resolution. And after the entire process is successfully completed, run the software.
The second and an inexpensive method to use your laptop as your PS4 monitor is by using the recording function. PlayStation comes with its own built-in recording function. And as the gameplay is saved to the laptop’s system, you can capture the games you play.
Here’s how you do it:
- Start the game you want to record and enter the Share Page simply by pressing the share button on your controller.
- Now, go to the Share Setting. And then to Broadcast Setting on Advanced Setting option.
- Check off the “Include Microphone Audio in the Broadcast” to record your voice for recording gameplay.
- Now, start the game that you want to record.
Another inexpensive method you can use to turn your laptop into a PS4 monitor is by using OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Recording Software. It is one software that many professionals use, so it’s clear that it is a very convenient choice.
Here’s how to use this method so you can use your laptop as a monitor for your PS4.
- Install PS4 remote play and connect it to the device.
- Open OBS and click on Add a Menu.
- Choose Window Capture option and click OK to start capturing PS4 gameplay.
The fourth and final method you can use to turn your laptop into a PS4 gaming monitor is by using Remote Play. It lets you connect, stream, and play your PS4 games on any compatible device, in this case, your laptop.
It remotely connects your PS4 system to your secondary device, allowing you to deeply engage in the gaming.
For Remote Play to work, you’ll need a PS4 and a laptop along with a USB cable or a DUALSHOCK 4 USB wireless adaptor. Apart from that, you’ll also need a high-speed internet connection and an account on PlayStation Network.
Before setting up, you need a Screen or an LCD before you stream the game on your laptop. There need to be some adjustments in the settings inside the PS4 system, and then only you’re able to use your laptop.
Here’s how you set up the Remote Play on your laptop.
- Visit the Sony Remote Play App website and download the app for your laptop.
- Enable and update your PS4 for the connection.
- Enable the Remote Play option in PS4 settings. Go to Settings and then into the remote play connection settings. There, check for if the Remote Play is turned on.
- Turn on PS4 from the Network. Activate the rest mode by going to Settings. Now, go to Power Save settings and set features available in rest mode.
- Set all the necessary settings like resolution frames per second, etc. After adjusting things in the PS4 settings, you need to transfer from the remote play app on the laptop.
- Use either the USB cable or the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless USB adaptor to connect the controller to the laptop.
Here’s how you connect the wireless controller:
- Hold down the Share and the Circular PlayStation buttons on the controller. A light bar then starts flashing on the controller.
- Now, plug in the USB adapter into the laptop and hold it in a pushing position for 3-4 secs. Your controller will now get connected.
7. Finally, there appears a Start option in your Remote Play App on your laptop. And as you click on the Start button, you’re asked to log-in to your PlayStation Network.
How to Use Laptop As A Monitor for Nintendo Switch
While it’s fun to play Nintendo Switch games on its own screen. But you can take the gameplay further by connecting the Switch to your laptop and enjoying the game.
For this process to be possible, you can use any capture card available. But the thing to remember here is that you should have a USB-C connection and an HDMI In port.
Unlike many other current-gen consoles, Nintendo Switch doesn’t support internal streaming. Thus, an external capture card is a must for this process. Many gamers and users would suggest the Elgato HD60 for this purpose, and so do we.
The Elgato HD60 is an affordable choice that is also easy to use. You can easily download the Game Capture HD software from Elgato’s official website. And purchase the capture card from Amazon.
Here’s how you use Elgato HD60 to connect Nintendo Switch to your laptop.
- Plug the Switch’s HDMI cable into the HDMI In port on the capture card.
- Open Game Capture HD on your laptop.
- By pressing the Home button on any connected controller, turn on the Nintendo Switch.
- Connect the USB cable that came with the device to your capture card, as well as the laptop you’re using.
- Within a few seconds, you’ll be able to see your Switch Home Screen within the capture card.
- On the top-right corner of the Game Capture HD, you’ll see a Fullscreen icon. Click on it to enable the fullscreen mode.
- Now, you can play your Switch games on your laptop the way you would on a TV screen. Make sure that you don’t touch the keyboard or the mouse. And let the Switch footage have a full-screen display by itself.
How to Use Laptop as a Monitor for Xbox
There are two ways you can use your laptop as a monitor for Xbox. One is by utilizing the HDMI ports in like every other device. And if that’s not possible, you can also live-stream your games remotely from your Xbox console on your laptop.
The first method we’re going to talk about is using the HDMI cable.
- First, turn off your Xbox and close down any running applications or programs on your laptop.
- Plugin the HDMI cable into the HDMI port of your Xbox.
- Plugin the opposite end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI input port of your laptop. If you don’t have an input port, get a USB HDMI adapter.
- Turn on your Xbox. Now, your laptop will automatically sense the new input.
- If it doesn’t happen automatically, you need to access your laptop’s graphics settings.
- Finally, access the XBox’s “System Settings” menu from the dashboard. And you can configure the resolution and display as required. And play away.
If you’re not looking for being bound to one place connected with so many cables, there is another simple way. And it is using the game streaming option available on the Xbox Console Companion app.
This feature allows you to remotely play any Xbox One games from your Xbox One console on any Windows 10 PC. And in this case, we’ll be using a laptop.
To be able to use the game streaming, you’ll need an Xbox One console and a Windows 10 laptop. You need to sign in to the Xbox Console Companion app with the same Gamertag as on the Xbox One console. And finally, you’ll need strong network connectivity. And make sure both your devices are connected to the same home network.
Here’s how you start game streaming from your Xbox to your laptop.
- Enable game streaming from your Xbox One device. Press the X button to open the guide then select System. Now, go to Settings and click on Preferences. Then go to Xbox app connectivity.
- Under “This Xbox,” click on “Allow Game Streaming to Other Devices.”
- Under “Other Devices,” click on “Allow Connections From Any Device” or “Only From Profiles Signed In on This Xbox.”
- Now, connect your laptop to your Xbox. And to establish a connection from your laptop to your Xbox from the Xbox Console Companion app,
- Launch the app on your laptop.
- On the left side, select Connection from the panel.
- The app will now scan your home network for available consoles. Select the one you want to connect.
- Once the connection is made, the icons change to let you know. There appear new options for streaming, power, and media remotes.
5. Click on Stream to begin streaming.
How to Use TV as a Monitor for Your Laptop
It’s not just laptops you can use as a secondary monitor. You can also use your TV as a secondary monitor for your laptop. By following proper steps along with appropriate cables, you’ll be able to easily utilize your TV screen as a display for your laptop.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Connect your laptop to your TV. Find your laptop’s video output port and your TV’s video input option. If both the devices have the same port, use an external adapter.
- Plug one end of the cable into your laptop and the other end to your TV. Connect an additional audio cable if necessary.
- Turn on your TV and switch it to the correct input.
- Now, wait till your laptop’s screen appears on your TV screen. Once you see it, you can proceed to change the display as per your choice.
So, as you can see, laptops aren’t used for just one purpose. They can do so much more than what they’re just intended to do. There is so much more than what meets the eyes. So, if you feel like you can do a lot more with your laptop, follow the steps given above and enjoy what your laptop screens have to offer.