Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.

Trouble connecting Surface to a second screen?

If you’re having trouble getting things working when you try to connect Surface to a TV, monitor or projector, try these solutions to help pinpoint and fix the problem.

Things to check first

Make sure the TV, monitor or projector you’re connecting to is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and that it's turned on. If you're using an extension block, make sure it's plugged in and turned on too.

To find out how to connect Surface to a second screen, see:

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for Surface and Windows may help fix some problems with connecting to a second screen. To install updates:

Step 1:  From the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 3:  Under Windows Update, tap or click Check now.
Step 4:  If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5:  Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

If installing updates didn't help, go to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Check your video input settings

If you’re trying to connect to a second screen and you don’t see Surface video output on it, the problem may be with the video input settings on the second screen. For example, if you’re using a VGA connection to a second screen, that screen must be set to recognise VGA as the video input signal.

To check and, if necessary, change the video input setting on your second screen, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for the screen or check the manufacturer’s website.

Common video input settings include VGA, DVI, AUX, HDMI, Line in, Input and Source.
If you’ve checked the input settings on the second screen and you can’t get things to work, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Check the adapter connection

If you’re using a Surface video adapter (sold separately), make sure it’s connected securely to Surface. Remove and then firmly reinsert it into the HD Video Out or Mini DisplayPort on Surface.

Surface RT micro HDMI port
Surface RT and Surface 2 HD Video Out
Surface Pro Mini DisplayPort
Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 Mini DisplayPort

Surface Pro: A signal can only be transmitted when the connector is plugged into the Mini DisplayPort with the flat side of the connector aligned to the flat side of the port. Unplug the adapter and check the orientation to make sure it's plugged in the right way. If it’s not, turn the connector over and plug it in again.

If you still don't see what you expect to see on your second screen, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Check your video cables

Make sure your video cable is connected firmly and correctly either to Surface or to the video adapter (if you’re using one) and to the TV, monitor or projector.

  • To pinpoint whether the cable might be causing the problem, use a different video cable to connect your Surface.
  • If you're using a video extension cable or video converter, try removing it from your set up to see if it’s causing the problem.
  • If you're using a video adapter from another company and you're having trouble, contact the video adapter's manufacturer for help.
  • HDMI and DisplayPort connections can transmit both audio and video signals. If you use HDMI or a DisplayPort to connect Surface to a TV or second screen, you can play Surface audio over the TV or second screen’s speakers.
  • VGA connections can only transmit video. If you’re using a VGA adapter to connect Surface to a second screen, the audio plays on the speakers of your Surface unless you connect Surface to USB or Bluetooth® speakers or you listen through a headset. For more info about Surface audio features, see Surface sound, volume and audio accessories.
  • If you have the latest Surface and Windows updates installed, you can daisy-chain multiple monitors from your Surface Pro 2.
  • Surface Pro 2: On waking from sleep, Surface Pro 2 sometimes has an issue reconnecting to an external display. To fix it, unplug and re-plug the monitor connector back into the MiniDisplay port. This issue can also affect multiple daisy-chained monitors.

If you've ruled out cables as the problem, go to Solution 5.

Solution 5: Check your second screen setup options

To control what will display on the second screen:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap or click Devices.
Step 2:  Tap or click Project, then do one of the following:
If you want to
PC screen only
See things only on your Surface touchscreen.
See the same things on both your Surface touchscreen and on the TV, monitor or projector. When you duplicate your display, both of your screens will use the default Surface touchscreen resolution. For more info about screen resolutions, see Check your second screen’s resolution settings below.
Move what's on the screen across your Surface touchscreen and onto the TV or monitor screen. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two screens. With extended displays, you can select a different resolution for your second screen. For more info about screen resolutions, see Check your second screen’s resolution settings below.
Second screen only
See everything on the second screen. The touchscreen on Surface will be blank.

If you still don’t see what you expect to see on your second screen, move to Solution 6.

Solution 6: Check your second screen’s resolution settings

When you connect Surface to a TV or monitor, Surface tries to set the best resolution based on your TV or monitor and connector. Sometimes you can change those settings to improve video quality.

Set your second screen to its native resolution

It's a good idea to set your second screen to the resolution it was designed for—called its native resolution. To find a screen’s native resolution:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC Settings, and tap or click PC and Devices, then tap or click Display.
Step 3:  On the Customise your display screen, tap or click the second screen and slide the resolution to the recommended setting.

Change the size of things on the desktop

If you’ve selected the best resolution but your desktop app still looks too small or too big, you might be able to solve the problem by making text and other items on the desktop smaller or larger.

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Search.
Step 2:  In the search box, type make text, and in the search results, tap or click Make text and other items larger or smaller.
Step 3:  Under Change the size of all items, use the slider to make items used from the desktop larger or smaller.
Step 4:  Tap or click Apply.
Some changes may not be applied until the next time you sign in to Surface.

If changing the resolution of your display and adjusting desktop sizes didn't help, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: Try the adapter on a different external display

To see if the Surface video adapter is working, connect Surface to a different TV, monitor or projector. If you can’t get an image from your Surface to display on a different second screen, you may need to replace the adapter. For more information contact us.

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