Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Trouble connecting Surface to a second screen?

Before you begin

Make sure your TV, monitor, or projector is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and turned on. If you're using a power strip, make sure it's plugged in and turned on, too.

To find out how to connect your Surface to a second screen, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

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. When updates are available, they will install automatically. You can also check for updates manually. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.
Step 2: Select Check for updates. If updates are available, select Details.
Step 3: Choose the updates you want to install and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.

If installing updates doesn’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 video output from your Surface, 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 recognize 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.

Tip
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 it’s still not working, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Remove and reinsert the video adapter

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

Avoid using a “Y” or “dual-link” adapter that splits the signal between two or more monitors.

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface 3

Surface 3 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro docking stations

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro docking stations

Surface 3 docking station Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface 3 docking station

A signal can be transmitted only when the connector is plugged in to the Mini DisplayPort with the flat side of the connector aligned with the flat side of the port. Unplug the adapter and 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: Make sure your video cables are plugged in correctly

Use a video cable that’s no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Make sure all the video connections are secure. Check the connection from the Mini DisplayPort on your Surface or docking station, any video adapter you are using, and the connection on the video port on your 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 setup 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.
Notes
  • HDMI and DisplayPort connections can transmit both audio and video signals. If you use HDMI or DisplayPort to connect to a TV or second screen, you can play audio from your Surface over the TV's or second screen’s speakers.
  • VGA connections transmit only video. If you use a VGA adapter to connect to a second screen, audio plays on the speakers of your Surface unless you connect your Surface to external speakers or a headset. For more info about Surface audio features, see Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories.
  • Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, and their compatible docking stations support daisy chaining multiple monitors, but only if you have the latest Surface and Windows updates installed.
  • To use more than one monitor with your Surface 3, you’ll need a port replicator (sold separately). Surface 3 and the Surface 3 Docking Station don’t support daisy chaining. For more info, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.
  • On waking from sleep, Surface sometimes has trouble reconnecting to an external display. To fix this, unplug the video cable from the Mini DisplayPort and plug it back in again. This can also affect daisy-chained monitors.

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

Solution 5: Duplicate or extend your display onto your second screen

To control what will display on the second screen:

Step 1: Select the search box in the taskbar.
Step 2: In the search box, enter project, and in the search results, select Project to a second screen.
Step 3: Choose one of the following:
Choose
If you want to
PC screen
See things only on your Surface display.
Duplicate
See the same things on both your Surface display and on the TV, monitor, or projector. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Extend
Move what's on the screen across your Surface display and onto the TV or monitor screen. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two screens and select a different resolution for your second screen. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Second screen only
See everything on the second screen. The display on your Surface will be blank.

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

Solution 6: Change your second screen’s resolution settings

When you connect your Surface to a TV or monitor, your 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.

Note
The number of external screens your Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, or Surface 3 will support depends on the refresh rate and resolution settings, among other things. To learn more, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

Set your second screen to its native resolution

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

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 2: On the Customize your display screen, select Advanced display settings.
Step 3: Select the second screen, and under Resolution, choose 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 change the size of the text and other items on the desktop.

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 2: Under Change the size of text, apps, and other items, use the slider to make items on the desktop larger or smaller.
Step 3: Select Apply.
Note
Some changes may not be applied until the next time you sign in to your Surface.

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

Solution 7: Try the adapter on a different external display

To see if your video adapter is working, connect your Surface to a different TV, monitor, or projector. If you can’t get what’s on your Surface display to show on a different second screen, you may need to replace the adapter.


Before you begin

Make sure your TV, monitor, or projector is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and turned on. If you're using a power strip, make sure it's plugged in and turned on, too.

To find out how to connect your Surface to a second screen, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

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. Here’s how to install updates:

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

If installing updates doesn’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 video output from your Surface, 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 recognize 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.

Tip
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 it’s still not working, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Remove and reinsert the video adapter

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

Avoid using a “Y” or “dual-link” adapter that splits the signal between two or more monitors.

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface 3

Surface 3 Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro docking stations

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro docking stations

Surface 3 docking station Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort on Surface 3 docking station

Surface Pro, Surface 3, or docking station: A signal can be transmitted only when the connector is plugged into the Mini DisplayPort with the flat side of the connector aligned with the flat side of the port. Unplug the adapter and 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: Make sure your video cables are plugged in correctly

Use a video cable that’s no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Make sure all the video connections are secure. Check the connection from the Mini DisplayPort on your Surface or docking station, any video adapter you are using, and the connection on the video port on your 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.
Notes
  • HDMI and DisplayPort connections can transmit both audio and video signals. If you use HDMI or DisplayPort to connect to a TV or second screen, you can play audio from your Surface over the TV’s or second screen’s speakers.
  • VGA connections transmit only video. If you use a VGA adapter to connect to a second screen, audio plays on the speakers of your Surface unless you connect your Surface to external speakers or a headset. For more info about Surface audio features, see Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories.
  • Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, and their compatible docking stations support daisy chaining multiple monitors, but only if you have the latest Surface and Windows updates installed.
  • To use more than one monitor with Surface 3, you’ll need to use a port replicator (sold separately). Surface 3 and the Surface 3 Docking Station don’t support daisy chaining. For more info, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.
  • On waking from sleep, Surface sometimes has trouble reconnecting to an external display. To fix this, unplug the video cable from the Mini DisplayPort and plug it back in again. This issue can also affect daisy-chained monitors.

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

Solution 5: Duplicate or extend your display onto your second screen

To control what will display on the second screen:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Devices.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Devices.)
Step 2: Tap or click Project and choose one of the following:
Choose
If you want to
PC screen only
See things only on your Surface display.
Duplicate
See the same things on both your Surface display and on the TV, monitor, or projector. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Extend
Move what's on the screen across your Surface display and onto the TV or monitor screen. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two screens and select a different resolution for your second screen. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Second screen only
See everything on the second screen. The display on your Surface will be blank.

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

Solution 6: Change your second screen’s resolution settings

When you connect your Surface to a TV or monitor, your 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.

Note
The number of external screens your Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, or Surface 3 will support depends on the refresh rate and resolution settings, among other things. See Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector for more info.

Set your second screen to its native resolution

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

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC Settings > PC and Devices > Display.
Step 3: On the Customize 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 change the size of the text and other items on the desktop.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter 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 on the desktop larger or smaller.
Step 4: Tap or click Apply.
Note
Some changes may not be applied until the next time you sign in to your Surface.

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

Solution 7: Try the adapter on a different external display

To see if your video adapter is working, connect your Surface to a different TV, monitor, or projector. If you can’t get what’s on your Surface display to show on a different second screen, you may need to replace the adapter.


Before you begin

Make sure your TV, monitor, or projector is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and turned on. If you're using a power strip, make sure it's plugged in and turned on too.

To find out how to connect your Surface to a second screen, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

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. Here’s how to install updates:

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

If installing updates doesn'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 video output from your Surface, 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 recognize 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.

Tip
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 it’s still not working, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Remove and reinsert the video adapter

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

Avoid using a “Y” or “dual-link” adapter that splits the signal between two or more monitors.

Surface RT and Surface 2 HD Video Out

Surface RT and Surface 2 HD Video Out

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

Solution 4: Make sure your video cables are plugged in correctly

Use a video cable that’s no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Make sure all the video connections are secure. Check the connection from the HD Video Out on your Surface, any video adapter you are using, and the connection on the video port on your 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 setup 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.
Notes
  • HDMI and DisplayPort connections can transmit both audio and video signals. If you use HDMI or DisplayPort to connect to a TV or second screen, you can play audio from you Surface over the TV’s or second screen’s speakers.
  • VGA connections transmit only video. If you use a VGA adapter to connect to a second screen, audio plays on the speakers of your Surface unless you connect your Surface to external speakers or a headset. For more info about Surface audio features, see Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories.

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 and tap or click Devices.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Devices.)
Step 2: Tap or click Project and choose one of the following:
Choose
If you want to
PC screen only
See things only on your Surface display.
Duplicate
See the same things on both your Surface display and on the TV, monitor, or projector. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Extend
Move what's on the screen across your Surface display and onto the TV or monitor screen. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two screens and select a different resolution for your second screen. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6.
Second screen only
See everything on the second screen. The display on your Surface will be blank.

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

Solution 6: Change your second screen’s resolution settings

When you connect your Surface to a TV or monitor, your 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 its native resolution—the resolution it was designed for. To find a screen’s native resolution:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC Settings > PC and Devices > Display.
Step 3: On the Customize 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 change the size of the text and other items on the desktop.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter 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 on the desktop larger or smaller.
Step 4: Tap or click Apply.
Note
Some changes may not be applied until the next time you sign in to your Surface.

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

Solution 7: Try the adapter on a different external display

To see if your video adapter is working, connect your Surface to a different TV, monitor, or projector. If you can’t get what’s on your Surface display to show on a different second screen, you may need to replace the adapter.